Queen Laying Foundation Stone 2 May 1968. Copyright: Oxford Mail & Times Ltd.

History & Heritage

Wolfson has grown and evolved over the past 50 years, retaining its founding President Sir Isaiah Berlin’s egalitarian ethos of being 'new, untrammelled and unpyramided’. The College officially became Wolfson College in 1966, when it was renamed in honour of Sir Isaac Wolfson, who contributed toward the College’s foundation.

In 1965, the University of Oxford founded Iffley College. Later the same year Sir Isaiah Berlin 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 to include graduate students. 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 and the College received its Royal Charter in 1981.

Learn more
Wolfson College Oxford – The First Fifty Years by John Penney and Roger Tomlin, gives a detailed account of the College's history and is available from the Lodge.

Landmarks in Wolfson’s History


The latest from Wolfson College

IIsaiah Berlin bust by Anthony Stones photo by John Cairns
26 February 2018
The Isaiah Berlin Legacy Weekend Update

We would like to extend our thanks to our 57 donors and 27 ambassadors who helped make the Isaiah Berlin Legacy Giving Weekend a success. So far,...

12 February 2018
Anna Caballe Cooks up a Storm in the Lab

For almost two years Dr. Anna Caballe has used molecular biology...

5 February 2018
Martin Goodman Publishes A New History of Judaism

Martin Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies and a Fellow of Wolfson since 1991, crafts a worthy addition to the wide-ranging genre of Jewish...

Our upcoming events

24 - 24
Apr Apr
Tri-Innovate Pitch Event
Tuesday 24 April -
5:30pm to 8:30pm

Tri-Innovate 2018 finalists will pitch their ideas at The Foundry for £8,000 first prize and title of Innovation of the Year. Come support Wolfson finalists as they compete against finalists from Hertford, Jesus, New, and Pembroke Colleges.

Courses and Workshops
28 - 28
Apr Apr
Indo-Iranian Philology Study Day
Saturday 28 April -
9:00am to 5:00pm

A study day in Indo-Iranian philology, with opportunities to take lessons in subjects such as Avestan, Vedic Sanskrit, reading Old Persian cuneiform, and Indo-Iranian and Indo-European comparative philology. There will be taster sessions for beginners and brush-up sessions for those who once studied the subject. For further information or to book a place, please email Philomen Probert (philomen.probert@wolfson.ox.ac.uk).

Concert and Plays
01 - 01
May May
Inauguration of Tim Hitchens
Tuesday 1 May -
8:00am to 11:00am

All members and friends of Wolfson College are invited to a May morning welcome event for Tim Hitchens, CMG LVO as the new President of Wolfson.


8.00–8.40 am Musical entertainment by members of the College 
All are welcome to drop in

8.40–9.00 am Break
Morning pastries will be available

9.00–9.30 am Formal inauguration of the new President
Please take your places by 9 am