Michael A. Stecker


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(outside link)

University of Oxford
The town of Oxford, England was already an important center of learning by the end of the 12th century. Teachers from mainland Europe and other scholars settled there, and lectures are known to have been delivered by as early as 1117. Sometime in the late 12th century the expulsion of foreigners from the University of Paris caused many English scholars to return from France and settle in Oxford. Members of many religious orders, including Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustinians, settled in Oxford in the mid-13th century, gained influence, and maintained houses for students. At about the same time, private benefactors established colleges to serve as self-contained scholarly communities. Among the earliest were the parents of John Balliol, King of Scotland; their establishment, Balliol College, bears their name. Another founder, Walter de Merton, a chancellor of England and afterwards bishop of Rochester, devised a series of regulations for college life; Merton College thereby became the model for such establishments at Oxford as well as at the University of Cambridge. There are 39 colleges within the university, each with its own internal structure and activities. Although Oxford's emphasis traditionally had been on classical knowledge, its curriculum expanded in the course of the 19th century and now attaches equal importance to scientific and medical studies. Students from certain overseas countries, like the USA, have been able to study at Oxford under Rhodes Scholarships, established by the British colonial statesman Cecil John Rhodes.


Notable amid the predominantly Gothic architecture of the university is Christ Church's Tom Quad, the largest quadrangle at the university. It houses above its gateway Great Tom, a 7-ton bell.



Flowered pathway to gothic building at Oxford



The Bridge of Sighs links the North and South buildings of Hertford College



University of Oxford