University College, Oxford

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University College

University College (in full, The Master and Fellows of the College of the Great Hall of the University of Oxford,[1][2] colloquially referred to as "Univ"[3]), is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is the oldest of the colleges of the university, and is amongst the largest in terms of population. With a central location, its main entrance is on High Street and it is bounded by Merton Street and Magpie Lane. Logic Lane runs through the college.

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[4]). As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m.

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.[1] Radcliffe Quad followed more rapidly by 1719, and the Library was built in 1861. Univ began to accept female undergraduate students in 1979.

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 Memorial, 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.


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