Principal's Blog: Summer Vacation

2015 10 22 13.03.56Excellent Results:

We have had an excellent end of term.

First and foremost we were delighted with the Finals results. Of the 96 students set to graduate in July, 18 women and 20 men achieved first-class degrees, while a further 56 obtained a 2:1. A large number of final year students were also awarded University prizes, topped their class lists, or received special commendation from the Chair of Examiners in recognition of their performances.

Students reading Biology, Fine Art, and Mathematics secured a ‘clean-sweep’ of first-class degrees. Overall subject honours, however, can justifiably be claimed by Brasenose’s Law students. They garnered an impressive haul of seven firsts, four upper seconds, the Wronker Prize (for the best overall performance across Oxford), the Proxime (awarded for the second-best performance) and seven other prizes.

I congratulate all the students and their Tutors.

Final concert:
On the last Friday of term we held in the Chapel a concert of Baroque music for strings, oboe, soprano and organ, based around the new Hodkinson chamber organ, led by Jennifer Bennett (one of the world's finest Baroque violinists) with our very own graduate Tom Barber performing Marcello's Oboe Concerto. The programme included short concerti by Vivaldi and Handel, and Henry Purcell's Dido's Lament, Fairest Isle and Evening Hymn featuring guest soprano Esther Brasil. This was a night on which I made several speeches as there were three retirements of Fellows which we recognised on High Table, Prof Ron Daniel, Dr Dave Popplewell and Revd Prof Judith Brown. We also noted the demitting from office of the Tutor for Graduates, Prof Elspeth Garman. They have all done terrific service for the College and we wish them well for the future.

Conferences galore:
Over the summer we are delighted to be hosting the University’s UNIQ summer school. This completely free summer school brings together hundreds of sixth formers from state schools, who stay in colleges and take part in a full programme of academic and social events. Approximately 70% of those attending the summer schools later apply to Oxford and on average 40% of the applicants have been offered places in previous years. Over 200 UNIQ participants have stayed in Brasenose accommodation over five weeks, and have had tours of College and meals in Hall. A good number of Brasenose students (more than any other college I’d be willing to wager) have been employed to help across the whole programme, including Chloe Wall, who has the important role of a site manager for the full five weeks. Several Brasenose tutors have also lent a hand, and it is fantastic that the College has been so involved in this excellent programme. We must pay tribute to Neil Tindall, our conference manager, who works to ensure that the UNIQ team have everything they need to ensure the sixth formers have an enjoyable stay. We have also hosted an IntoUniversity Year 10 residential and many other school visits during this early summer period.

College seems very full as we also are hosting some regular visitors from Oklahoma University – Law (Oklahoma Law) and Woodberry Forest School (Virginia).

We were delighted to read of the Honours for CBEs for Lucinda Riches and Alexandra Marks and OBEs for Polly Arnold and Emily Jackson. This was a clean sweep for Brasenose Women; we did not notice a single Brasenose Man in the list. We send congratulations to an alumnus Peter Jackson who has been promoted to the Court of Appeal and Prof Charles Hulme, one of our Golding Senior Fellows, who has become a Fellow of the British Academy.

I tuned into Pitch Battle on BBC1 on 15 July to see our two students Hiba Abuelgasim and Daniele Zurbruegg who are part of Oxford Alternotives, an a capella group. They performed brilliantly and the intro featured shots of the College, including their performance in our Arts Week. They are soon off to Edinburgh where they are certainly worth watching.

We also held a stunning party for the 1509 Society at Norton Rose Fulbright on their balcony at More London on a fabulous summer day. We were grateful to Richard Hughes, a Partner of the firm for offering the facilities (and making sure the sun shone on the occasion).

A potentially awkward situation arose at the sportsground on Friday afternoon in July, when travellers arrived and encamped in 25 caravans. Thanks to the measured response of Danny English, our groundsman, and with the support of local police, the travellers agreed to move on 24 hours later.

I wish everyone an excellent vacation.

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