Somerville College, Oxford

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Somerville College

Somerville College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, and was one of the first women's colleges to be founded there. As of 2006, Somerville had an estimated financial endowment of £44.5 million.[1] The college is located at the southern end of Woodstock Road, with Little Clarendon Street to the south and Walton Street to the west.



In June 1878, the Association for the Higher Education of Women was formed, aiming for the eventual creation of a college for women in Oxford. Some of the more prominent members of the association were Dr. G. G. Bradley, Master of University College, T. H. Green, a prominent liberal philosopher and Fellow of Balliol College, and Edward Stuart Talbot, Warden of Keble College. Talbot insisted on a specifically Anglican institution, which was unacceptable to most of the other members. The two parties eventually split, and Talbot's group founded Lady Margaret Hall.

Thus, in 1879, a second committee was formed to create a college "in which no distinction will be made between students on the ground of their belonging to different religious denominations." This second committee included Dr. John Percival, Dr. G. W. Kitchin, A. H. D. Ackland, T. H. Green, Mary Ward, William Sidgwick, Henry Nettleship, and A. G. Vernon Harcourt. This new effort resulted in the founding of Somerville Hall, named for the then recently deceased Scottish mathematician Mary Somerville. The hall was renamed Somerville College in 1894.

Somerville College was converted into a hospital during World War IRobert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon were patients there. Sassoon opens Siegfried's Progress with a reference to the college.

Somerville remained a women's college until 1992, when its statutes were amended to permit male students and fellows; the first male fellows were appointed in 1993, and the first male students admitted in 1994.[2] Today around 50% of students are men.

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