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In 1965, the University founded Iffley College in order to provide for members of its academic staff who held no college fellowship.
In 1965, Sir Isaiah Berlin, then Fellow of All Souls and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, was invited to be the College's first President. Through his efforts, generous benefactions were received from the Wolfson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, which enabled the College, now renamed as Wolfson, to make provision for graduate students also. The first of these were admitted in October 1968. The College's buildings, designed by architects Powell and Moya, were ready for occupation in 1974. The College received its Royal Charter in 1981.
The College's democratic structure, egalitarian ethos and general friendliness owe much to the inspiration and leadership of Sir Isaiah Berlin. The College houses the office of the Isaiah Berlin Literary Trust, which is responsible for all aspects of Berlin's literary estate, especially the publication of his academic writings and letters. The office is managed by the Isaiah Berlin Legacy Fellow, Dr Mark Pottle, and his Research Associate Nicholas Hall. The College also hosts Isaiah Berlin’s offical website, The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library (created by Dr Henry Hardy, one of the Trustees, and curated by Nicholas Hall),
A Short History by Frank Jessup, revised by Stuart McKerrow and Jane Potter, gives a detailed account of the College's foundation and its early years and is available from the College Secretary.