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Univ is also a commonly used abbreviation for University

University College (in full, the The Master and Fellows of the College of the Great Hall of the University of Oxford, colloquially referred to as Univ), is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxfordmarker in Englandmarker. It is a contender for being the oldest of the colleges of the university, and is amongst the largest in terms of population.

Univ has the highest proportion of old members offering financial support to the college out of any in either Oxford or Cambridge (28% in 2007, the highest rate in the UK). As of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £90.5m, which is slightly above average by comparison to other Oxbridge colleges.

Univ was founded by William of Durham in 1249 (although there exist unproven claims it was founded by King Alfred in 872), and until the 16th century was only open to Fellows studying theology. As Univ grew in size and wealth, its medieval buildings were replaced with the current Main Quadrangle in the 17th Century. Although the foundation stone was placed on 17 April 1634 the disruption of the English Civil War meant it was not completed until sometime in 1676. Radcliffe Quadmarker followed more rapidly by 1719, and the Library was built in 1861. Univ only began to accept female undergraduate students in 1979. It is on the south side of the High Streetmarker, between the university's examination schools and Magpie Lanemarker. The Queen's College, Oxfordmarker is directly opposite on the north side of the High Street.

Former Master Lord Butler of Brockwell was appointed head of an inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War in February 2004. Previous Masters include John Albery, Kingman Brewster, Lord Goodman, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, Arthur Lehman Goodhart, and William Beveridge. In August 2008 Lord Butler was succeeded by Sir Ivor Crewe.

A specially constructed building in the College, the Shelley Memorialmarker, houses a statue by Edward Onslow Ford of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley — a former member of the college, who was expelled for writing The Necessity of Atheism — depicted lying dead on the Italian seashore. Rumour has it that the sunken area around the statue was once filled with water and live goldfish as a student prank. Another apparently common student prank involving the statue has been to paint his genitalia bright colours; for this reason, the statue's appendage is somewhat smaller than it used to be.

Notable former students and fellows

Two twentieth-century Prime Ministers have been associated with Univ.: Clement Attlee was an undergraduate here, and Harold Wilson a Fellow. Other political leaders include US President Bill Clinton, and Bob Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia. Outside politics, recent Old Members of Univ include William Beveridge, the social reformer and author of the Beveridge Report, Professor Stephen Hawking, C. S. Lewis, author of the Narnia books, the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, the novelist and Nobel Prize winner Sir V. S. Naipaul, the actors Michael York and Warren Mitchell, the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, and – perhaps the most exotic of them all – Prince Felix Yusupov, the assassin of Rasputin.

Other notable connections

Although not member of University College the scientists Robert Boyle (sometime described as the "first modern chemist") and his assistant (Robert Hooke, architect, biologist, discoverer of cells) lived in Deep Hall (then owned by Christ Church and now the site of the Shelley Memorial). The former made a contribution to the completion of University College's current Hall in the mid-17th Century.

Samuel Johnson (author of the A Dictionary of the English Language and a member of Pembroke) was a frequent visitor to the Senior Common Room at University College during the 18th Century).


Univ. has the longest grace of any Oxford (and perhaps Cambridge) College. It is read before every Formal Hall, which takes place every night except Saturday at Univ. The reading is performed by a Scholar of the College, the same person doing it for a whole week, and whoever is sitting at the head of High Table (typically the Master or the most senior Fellow at the table if the Master is not dining). The Scholar does not need to know it by heart, although it is not unusual for people to do so.

Original version

Gratiarium actio in collegio magnae aulae universitatis quotidie ante mensam dicenda.

SCHOLARBenedictus sit Deus in donis suis.

RESPONSEEt sanctus in omnibus operibus suis.

SCHOLARAdiutorium nostrum in Nomine Domini.

RESPONSEQui fecit coelum et terras.

SCHOLARSit Nomen Domini benedictum.

RESPONSEAb hoc tempore usque in saecula.

SCHOLARDomine Deus, Resurrectio et Vita credentium, Qui semper es laudandus tam in viventibus quam in defunctis, gratias Tibi agimus pro omnibus Fundatoribus caeterisque Benefactoribus nostris, quorum beneficiis hic ad pietatem et ad studia literarum alimur: Te rogantes ut nos, hisce Tuis donis ad Tuam gloriam recte utentes, una cum iis ad vitam immortalem perducamur. Per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

SCHOLARDeus det vivis gratiam, defunctis requiem: Ecclesiae, Reginae, Regnoque nostro, pacem et concordiam: et nobis peccatoribus vitam aeternam. Amen.

English translation

That must be said every day before dinner in University College.

SCHOLARBlessed be God in his gifts.

RESPONSEAnd holy in all his works.

SCHOLAROur help is in the name of the Lord.

RESPONSEWho has made heaven and earth.

SCHOLARMay the name of the Lord be blessed.

RESPONSEFrom this time and for evermore.

SCHOLARLord God, the Resurrection and Life of those who believe, You are always to be praised as much among the living as among the departed. We give You thanks for all our founders and our other benefactors, by whose benefactions we are nourished here for piety and for the study of letters. And we ask you that we, rightly using these Your gifts to Your glory, may be brought with them to immortal life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

SCHOLARMay God give grace to the living, rest to the departed; peace and concord to the Church, the Queen and our Kingdom; and to us sinners, eternal life. Amen.


University College Record

The University College Record is the annual magazine sent to alumni of University College each autumn. The magazine provides College news, including clubs and societies such as the University College Players and the Devas Club. News about and obituaries of former students are included at the end of each issue.

Previous editors include Peter Bayley, A. D. M. Cox and Leslie Mitchell. The current editor is Dr Robin Darwall-Smith.

Paired Cambridge College

Many Oxford and Cambridge Colleges are informally 'paired' with one another. University College is paired with Trinity Hall, Cambridge.


  1. Darwall-Smith, Robin, A History of University College, Oxford. Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-928429-0.
  2. Carr, William, University College, Routledge, 1998. ISBN 9780415186322.
  3. Lord Adonis, Education Minister, 2008
  4. Oxford College Endowment Incomes, 1973-2006 (updated July 2007)
  • University College Record, the official annual magazine of University College, Oxford. Issues 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004.

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