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20th June 2008

Exeter to Create “Third Quad”

Written by Frances Cairncross, Rector

Exeter College is delighted to announce that the Governing Executive of Ruskin College has agreed to sell us itsĀ Walton Street site. This is terrific news and an outstanding opportunity. It effectively creates a Third Quad, expanding our space in central Oxford for teaching, research and student accommodation by roughly half. It will bring much of our student body closer to our main site. Together with our plans to build new accommodation for our graduates at Exeter House on the Iffley Road, it will give us some of the finest student facilities in Oxford.

As part of this historic arrangement, Exeter and Ruskin will develop a programme of joint academic, cultural and social activities. We hope that this new relationship will, in time, expand the range of academic interests of our College, create opportunities for our graduates to undertake teaching, including teaching students from non-typical backgrounds, and widen the social and ethnic diversity of our student body.

There is still a long road between here and a move into the Ruskin site. Ruskin will relocate most of its activities to a large site in Headington, for which it does not yet have full planning permission. We may not be able to get on to the Walton Street site till 2011, or to inhabit it fully till 2014. But we can begin at once to discuss how we use this fantastic opportunity for the benefit of future generations of scholars.

There is a nice historical twist to this arrangement. William Morris was an undergraduate at Exeter College, and had close links with John Ruskin. Ruskin College in turn was founded to educate those who were otherwise excluded from education – on principles established through the collaboration of these two social and educational pioneers.

We will be coming to the whole Exeter College community for advice and support in order realise the full potential of this exceptional opportunity; please be part of that discussion. This acquisition will form a central part of the major fund-raising campaign that the College will launch next year to celebrate our 700th anniversary in 2014. We will enter our eighth century with a truly exceptional range of possibilities – academic, cultural and social – to reinvigorate and develop the collegiate ideal.

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