College History

St Catherine’s is Oxford’s youngest, and largest, undergraduate and graduate college. Founded in 1962, it celebrated its 50th anniversary as a College in 2012, although its roots actually date back to the nineteenth century.

Following the 1852 Royal Commission, which recommended that access to Oxford and Cambridge Universities needed to be widened, a Delegacy for Unattached Students was formed in Oxford in 1868. This allowed students to be members of the University without being a member of a college, thus avoiding (what were considered for many) the prohibitive costs of an Oxford college.

Initially occupying just one room, with students living in affordable lodgings around Oxford, the Delegacy quickly banded together in quasi-collegiate fashion. In 1884 the Delegacy for Unattached Students was renamed as the Delegacy for Non-Collegiate Students, but lack of an identifying name for social and sporting purposes continued to frustrate students. 

In response to this problem, the Boat Club and other groups began using the name St Catharine’s (sic) Club, taken from a hall used for club meetings. The spelling later changed to St Catherine’s (probably to differentiate itself from its Cambridge namesake), and in 1931 the Delegacy was officially renamed the St Catherine’s Society – the origins of St Catherine’s College were well under way.

Following the Second World War, grants to fund university education become widely available, in line with the post-war attitude of ‘education for all’. St Catherine’s Society had become more like a college, and in turn colleges had become more like the Society as they increasingly admitted students from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds. In this new post-war era, the original purpose of the Delegacy (to allow wider access to Oxford) became less relevant. It was time for a new focus.

The 1950s saw the biggest change in the history of St Catherine’s. In 1952 the historian Alan Bullock became Censor (Head) of St Catherine’s Society. Bullock brought with him strong leadership and a vision to further develop the Society. In 1956, with University considering plans for expansion, Bullock obtained approval to transform St Catherine’s Society into a fully residential college – the search for a site and funding began.

An ambitious fundraising campaign began, focusing on the national shortage of scientists and on Bullock’s proposal of an increased number of science students at St Catherine’s than was usual for an Oxford college. St Catherine’s was to be an agent for change. In 1960 almost eight acres of Holywell Great Meadow was acquired from Merton College and the College’s chosen architect, Arne Jacobsen of Denmark, began to implement his design. His modernist masterpiece was to become the most important 20th-century collegiate building in Oxford, and is now Grade I listed.

In 1962 St Catherine’s College opened its doors (while still under construction) with Alan Bullock as its Master. The first undergraduates were admitted, and were quickly dubbed the ‘Dirty Thirty’ owing to the lack of running hot water. 1964 saw the ceremonial opening of the College by the then Chancellor of the University, Harold Macmillan, and ten years later in 1974, staying true to its forward-looking ethos, it became one of the first colleges to admit women.

Today, St Catherine’s remains as vibrant and dynamic as it has ever been. Its connection with the saint that shares its name is highly appropriate for a college founded on an ethos of high academic standards combined with a doggedly independent streak. The College celebrates its patron saint each year with a special Catz Night dinner.

For those wanting to find out more about the history of St Catherine’s College there is a dynamic and lively compilation available called St Catherine's, Oxford: A Pen Portrait: a memorable tribute to St Catherine’s past and present.


This page lists our Lectors, native-speakers of foreign languages who assist with language tuition at St Catherine's.

Responsible for Tuition

These pages list those who have responsibility for tuition is certain areas at St Catherine's. Links in the right hand column will connect you to more detailed personal entries.


These pages list College Lecturers at St Catherine's, responsible for some areas of teaching and research.

Research Associates

These pages list Research Associates of St Catherine's. Links in the right hand column will connect you to more detailed personal entries.

Visiting Fellows

St Catherine's College has an annual programme under which scholars, either from the UK or from overseas, who wish to spend a term in Oxford are welcomed as either Christensen or Visiting Fellows with temporary membership of the Senior Common Room. These Fellowships are non-stipendiary and ideally suited to faculty members on sabbatical leave from their permanent University positions. For more information on applications, see the link on the left.

Visiting Fellows 2017-2018

*     Professor Lydèric Bocquet (Hinshelwood Lecturer), ENS Paris, T18
Marco Golla, Uppsala University, M17
Hedwig Gwosdek, LMU Munich, T18
Ian Peak, Griffith University, T18
Professor Lisa Randall, Harvard University, T18
Professor Susan Rutherford, University of Manchester, H18

* Christensen Fellow

Information regarding College accommodation for Visiting Fellows is available here.

Domus Fellows

These pages list Domus Fellows of the College. More detailed information may be found by clicking on the links in the right-hand column.

Emeritus Fellows

These pages list Emeritus fellows of St Catherine's. Links in blue or below in the right hand column will connect you to more detailed personal entries.


Ernest L French, FHCIMA

Professor Donald H Perkins, CBE, MA Oxf, PhD Lond, FRS

John W Martin, MA, PhD, ScD Camb, MA, DPhil Oxf

Professor Peter G M Dickson, MA, DPhil, DLitt, FBA

Bruce R Tolley, MA DPhil Oxf, MA Victoria New Zealand

Barrie E Juniper, MA, DPhil Oxf, Secretary for Alumni

Henry C Bennet-Clark, BA Lond, MA Oxf, PhD Camb

Professor Daniel W Howe, MA Oxf, PhD California

Stephen J Sondheim, BA Williams,

Sir Ian McKellen, Kt, CH, BA Camb

Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Kt, CBE

Sir Michael V Codron, Kt, CBE, MA

Sir Richard C H Eyre, Kt, CH, CBE, BA Camb

Thelma M B Holt, CBE

Dame Diana Rigg, DBE

Sir Nicholas R Hytner, Kt, MA Camb

Stephen D Daldry, BA Sheff

Professor Malcolm L H Green, MA Oxf, PhD Imp, FRS

Sir Timothy M B Rice, Kt

Professor Gilliane C Sills, MA Oxf, PhD KCL

Patrick Marber, BA Oxf

Phyllida Lloyd, BA Birm

Professor G Ceri K Peach, MA, DPhil, DLitt Oxf

G Bruce Henning, BA Toronto, MA Oxf, PhD Pennsylvania

Professor Jose F Harris, MA, PhD Camb, MA Oxf, FBA, FRHistS

Sir Patrick H Stewart, Kt, OBE

Michael Frayn, CLit, BA Camb

Professor John R Ockendon, MA, DPhil Oxf, FRS

Revd Colin P Thompson, MA, DPhil Oxf

Sir Trevor R Nunn, Kt, CBE, BA Camb

Meera Syal, MBE, BA Manc

Professor Sudhir Anand, BPhil, MA, DPhil Oxf

Sir J Michael Boyd, Kt, MA Edin

Professor Peter R Franklin, BA, DPhil York, MA Oxf

Gordon Gancz, BM BCh, MA Oxf

Professor Richard J Parish, BA Newc, MA, DPhil Oxf, Dean of Degrees

Professor Susan C Cooper, BA Collby Maine, MA Oxf PhD California

Simon Russell Beale, CBE, BA Camb

John Charles Smith, MA Oxf

Claude-Michel Schönberg


Honorary Fellows

This page lists those who have been elected to an Honorary Fellowship of St Catherine's.

Professor Sir Brian E F Fender, Kt, CMG, BSc, PhD Imp, MA Oxf

Ruth Wolfson, Lady Wolfson

Professor Sir James L Gowans, Kt, CBE, MB BS Lond, MA, DPhil Oxf, FRCP, FRS

Sir Cameron A Mackintosh, Kt

Sir Michael F Atiyah, Kt, OM, MA Oxf, PhD Camb, FRS, FRSE

John Birt, the Rt Hon Lord Birt of Liverpool, MA Oxf, FRTS

Tom Phillips, CBE, MA Oxf, RA, RE

Professor Sir Geoffrey Allen, Kt, BSc, PhD Leeds, CEng, FInstP, FRS

Professor Sir (Eric) Brian Smith, Kt, BSc, PhD Liv, MA, DSc Oxf, CChem, FRSC

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri A P Arumugam, AP, CEng, FIEE, FRAeS, FIMarEST, FinstD, PSM, SSAP, SIMP, DSAP, DIMP

Peter Mandelson, the Rt Hon Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool, MA Oxf

Sir John E Walker, Kt, MA, DPhil Oxf, FRS

Professor Noam Chomsky, PhD Pennsylvania, FBA

Nicholas H Stern, the Rt Hon Lord Stern of Brentford, CH, BA Camb, DPhil Oxf, FRS, FBA

Raymond Plant, the Rt Hon Lord Plant of Highfield, BA, DLitt KCL, MA Oxf, PhD, DLitt Hull

Professor David J Daniell, BA, MA Tübingen, MA Oxf, PhD Lond

Masaki Orita, LLB Tokyo

Professor Joseph E Stiglitz, PhD MIT, FBA

Sir Peter M Williams, Kt, CBE, MA Oxf, PhD Camb, FREng, FRS

Sir (Maurice) Victor Blank, Kt, MA Oxf

Professor (Anthony) David Yates, MA Oxf

Michael Billington, OBE, BA

Professor C N Ramachandra Rao, MSc Banaras, PhD Purdue,DSc Mysore, FRS

Professor Richard J Carwardine, MA, DPhil Oxf, FBA, FLSW, FRHistS

Mark H Getty, BA Oxf

Simon B A Winchester, OBE, MA Oxf, FRGS, FGS

Professor Christopher P H Brown, MA Oxf, PhD Lond

Professor John B Goodenough, MA Oxf, PhD Chicago

Giles B Keating, MA Oxf

Peter W Galbraith, AB Harvard, MA Oxf, JD Georgetown

Professor Nigel J Hitchin, MA, DPhil Oxf, FRS

Professor Graham B Segal, BSc Sydney, MA, DPhil Oxf, FRS

Vee Meng Shaw, BA Oxf, Hon DLitt Singapore

Anthony W Henfrey, MA, DPhil Oxf

Sir Ian W Dove, Kt, MA Oxf


These pages list Fellows of St Catherine's, who work in areas including teaching, research, and administration. Links in the right hand column will connect you to more detailed personal entries.


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