Fifty Years on the Cherwell

2024 marks fifty years since Wolfson College moved to its current site on the Cherwell River.

Wolfson College aerial

Many thousands of you have spent late nights in the library finishing your DPhils and dissertations; perhaps more have enjoyed the friendships fueled at the College bar; research collaborations have been sparked by conversations over lunch and dinner in the Hall; many of you will remember summers punctuated by punt trips up to the Victoria Arms.

Over the course of those fifty years much has changed: new accommodation built, a new Auditorium and Academic Wing, the arrival of research clusters, and at the end of last year the College became the first higher education institution in the UK to achieve zero carbon. The numbers of students, fellows and staff enjoying this place have grown.

But the values and qualities of Wolfson remain unchanged: be friendly and relaxed; focus on the graduate and postdoc experience; be egalitarian; challenge convention.

Throughout this year we will be celebrating the people who have populated those fifty years and the future of the College. Oxford colleges have great confidence in the decades ahead; we know that understanding our world, and generating new ideas, will never go out of fashion.

Celebrations

To mark this occasion the College will be hosting a number of events with the highlight being a garden party on 29 June featuring lectures, tours, and high tea.

WOLFSON COLLEGE: THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PLACE

Architect and Honorary Fellow Alan Berman and writer and former Visiting Scholar Ian Hembrow talk about the architectural partnership of Powell and Moya, who built Wolfson, and what kind of men they were. The families of both Powell and Moya plan to attend.

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WHERE THE HEART IS: HOMES, HOUSES AND THE WRITING OF LIVES

Former Wolfson President and founder of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing Hermione Lee takes us on a journey through the lives of houses and the idea of home.

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Academic Fireworks: A PechaKucha of Emerging Scholars

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, young Wolfson researchers present their work in a relaxed setting – but using Pecha Kucha technology, with 20 slides which change automatically every twenty seconds. Enjoy the latest insights in a fast-paced setting.

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ISAIAH AND INSTITUTIONS: WHAT HE GAVE WOLFSON, WHAT WOLFSON GAVE HIM

In this keynote lecture to celebrate 50 years of Wolfson on the Cherwell, Berlin’s official biographer Michael Ignatieff speaks about Berlin’s relationship with Wolfson. The lecture will be livestreamed to seats in the Buttery and on the College’s YouTube channel.

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GARDEN AND DECARBONISATION TOURS

Former Head Gardener Walter Sawyer will take guests on a tour of the Wolfson Gardens. Alternatively, guests may take a tour of the Wolfson decarbonisation project led by Home Bursar Chris Licence. Each tour will last about 45 minutes and start in the Buttery. In the event of wet weather the decarbonisation tour will continue and the Gardens talk will be indoors.

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WOLFSON 50TH ANNIVERSARY BOP: RIVERS & FAIRIES

Celebrate Wolfson’s 50th anniversary of moving to its home on the Cherwell with the biggest BOP the College has ever seen!

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