Principal's Blog: Mid December 2018

blogBowerscrop1Thanks to many:
May I wish Season’s Greetings to all the College.

I also thank everyone involved in the College at every level over the last year. I in particular mention Tutorial Fellows and lecturers who are (as I write this) working very hard on Admissions to ensure the College continues to admit the most excellent students. Often the decisions are difficult and knife edge. Those who criticise from the outside (and there are many of them) have no or little idea of the care that goes on into making the choices.

I also want to offer my gratitude to the undergraduate student JCR Committee who are stepping down at the end of the year. We may not always agree with the JCR but our disagreements are conducted in a very dignified, civilised and respectful manner.

I am grateful to the eight alumni who attended a JCR Careers Fair on Sunday 25 November in Hall at 4pm. Around 50 members of the JCR came to speak to them. None of the Alumni was alone for more than a couple of seconds before someone else went to speak to them. 

On 23 November we held the Music at Brasenose concert in the Antechapel. It was as usual an eclectic mix of talent throughout the College from two sopranos and two baritones singing opera, through instrumentals (classical guitar, piano, cello) to the effervescent Brasenose Jazz Band. It was a great evening with a very big audience.

The UNIQ summer school programme is expanding. Brasenose has been proud to support UNIQ, both in terms of academic support and the physical facilities for the UNIQ summer school. As a state school educated person myself, and one from a “left behind” region of the UK (or at least one which feels very left behind), I would have loved to go on the course myself, but nothing of the sort then existed. We just applied and then turned up for interviews if invited.

Now dozens of Year 12 state school students from all over the country move in with us each week, joining us for breakfast every morning and dinner twice a week, attending lectures and seminars in their chosen subject area, and taking part in various social activities. The events are organised by the central university UNIQ team, but it is our pleasure to host the students and their undergraduate mentors, and provide them with everything they need to enjoy their stay.

In 2018, we welcomed 172 Students from UNIQ, between 40-45 over a 4 week period. Over those 4 weeks we had 6 Ambassadors supporting the students to whom we served 998 breakfasts and 344 Dinners. We also hosted 30 students for two nights during the spring break. In 2019, we are expecting 44 students and 6 ambassadors for the first 3 weeks of July and 26 students and 4 ambassadors for the 4th week of July.

Joe Organ our superb School Liasion Officer also regularly runs interview talks for large groups of UNIQ participants.

Visit to New College:
On 30 November, we (Suzanne, the Bursar, Senior Tutor and Fellow Librarian) had a wonderful visit to New College to see the material they have about our common benefactress Betty Morley. Their Archivist Jennifer Thorpe laid on a terrific display in their enormous Muniments Room. We saw the Elizabeth Morley benefaction to Brasenose in 1515 which is the New College section of the tripartite deed described in Madan’s Brasenose Quatercentenary Monographs 4 (1909). It records the gift of the manor of Pynchpoles in Faringdon top Brasenose to fund a fellow “who shall also be a priest” to pray annually for her soul; in Brasenose Chapel and St Margaret’s Westminster. The College was also to hold an annual commemoration of her on 26 January and to invite the Warden of New College to visit Brasenose and to satisfy himself that the conditions of the endowment were being met. For this he still receives today the sum of 8d (two groats) as presented to him at the aforesaid dinner.

It was good to have an opportunity to say goodbye to Lynda Barratt who has been with College since May 1989 and has always worked in the SCR. She at one stage gained a reputation for setting off the fire alarm when cooking toast for High Table! She has been a great employee of College and most of her family work or have worked in Oxford Colleges. We wish her a long and happy retirement.

On Tuesday 27th November we hosted Oxmas drinks for Young Alumni at the White Horse pub near Liverpool Street in London. Around 30 alumni came, and it was a wonderful evening and opportunity for those that graduated 15 years ago or less to catch up with their friends and the goings on of the College. It was the second event we’ve hosted for Young Alumni and we’ll be doing another early next year – keep an eye on our alumni events page for dates. There is even a Facebook group for our Young Alumni at this link: It is great to see so many young alumni taking party in College events.

When I arrived here I started a tradition of a Chanuca party in the Lodgings where we light the Chanuca lights. This year’s proved extremely popular with sixty signed up. I am delighted to say that following Brasenose’s lead both Oriel and Pembroke have had one this year, so lots of doughnuts and latkes.

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter for news from students and tutors, Schools Liaison and other interesting things