Exeter celebrates 700 years!
The Exeter College community came together on Friday 4th April, and over the weekend, to celebrate the College’s 700th anniversary of its foundation.
A splendid array of events was enjoyed by students, alumni, fellows, staff, children and friends.
Guests included the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten of Barnes, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, Exeter’s Rector-elect, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, the Dean of Exeter Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper, author Philip Pullman, the former Prime Minister of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, and the former President of Ghana, John Kufuor.
Events were held across Oxford, including the Sheldonian, the Taylor Institution, the University Church of St Mary, the University’s Examination Schools, and in College. The events reflected on Exeter’s 700-year history, on life in College today, and on what may lie ahead for the College, its students and the wider community.
The official birthday, on Friday, marked 700 years since Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter and later to be Treasurer of England, sealed a charter making over the tithes of the Cornish church of Gwinear to support his projected college. The celebrations were wonderful, with Fellows processing to the Sheldonian in the morning to meet over 650 alumni, students, and guests.
In celebrating Exeter’s septcentenary, the Rector said in an oration: “We have been a continuous going concern longer than almost any institution in the world – longer, indeed, than almost any country: longer than Australia, or Italy, or the United States of America.”
Dr John Maddicott, Emeritus Fellow in History, reminded the congregation that the College had originally been founded by Bishop Walter de Stapeldon to teach bright, poor clergy from Devon. Stapeldon’s statutes were intended to encourage students to live humbly and to return to the west country to enlighten and educate their parishioners.
You can read the Rector’s oration in full here; Dr Maddicott’s history of the foundation of the College here; and the Rector-elect’s reflection here.
On Friday afternoon guests had the opportunity to hear one of three lectures about the future:
- the future social and economic climate, Rector Frances Cairncross
- the future of sharing ideas, Nigel Portwood, Professorial Fellow and Chief Executive of Oxford University Press (click here to see the slides)
- the future of medical science, Professor Dame Carol Robinson, Professorial Fellow and Dr Lee’s Professor in Chemistry
The birthday tea was the highlight of the whole occasion with an enormous cake built in the shape of the College. It was cut by the Rector and Rector-elect before being enjoyed by all.
On Saturday and Sunday there followed a wonderful combination of reminiscing, learning, and celebrating as we heard from alumni and Fellows on a range of topics including Nietzsche, Cartography, Tolkien, Academic Admissions in the 21st Century, and Warrior Women! The presentations from a selection of these seminars are available here (please note these presentations are for personal use only):
- Producing English sparkling wine by Charles and Wendy Outhwaite (6Mb in size)
- Nietzsche in 45 minutes by Dr Andrew Huddleston (0.1Mb)
- The anti-social network by Emily Rhodes (2Mb)
- Warrior women by Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly (3Mb)
- Putting Exeter College on the map by John Leighfield (83Mb)
- The history of the University of Oxford by Chris Day (4Mb)
- The Infinity Puzzle by Frank Close (6Mb)
- 21st century Exeter College admissions by Chris Ballinger (0.1Mb)
We would be delighted to receive any comments about the weekend and hope to share them on the website and the College’s news channels in the coming weeks. Please email them – with photos if you have them – to email@example.com