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Launching 700 Years of People and Place 

The 700th anniversary of Oriel’s foundation is now just three years away, and we have ambitious plans to ensure that the College continues to thrive for another seven centuries.

At the launch, the Provost, Lord Mendoza CBE, spoke of the vital importance of preserving Oriel’s special community – from supporting the College’s world-leading researchers to protecting the tutorial system and the historic buildings our students are taught and live in – for generations to come. His vision is to ensure that Oriel is set on a financially sustainable footing, putting us in the best possible position to face the challenges of the future. To achieve this, the Provost emphasised the crucial role played by Oriel’s alumni and supporters, whose generosity helps ensure that the College can continue to subsidise the world-class educational experience previous generations have always enjoyed, giving future students the best chance to thrive and achieve their full potential.

Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Oriel’s Jackson Senior Research Fellow in Biodiversity, gave a riveting lecture on nature-system sustainability, working with world leaders at COP15 and leading the world-wide 30 by 30 programme, which aims to protect 30 per cent of the world’s land and oceans by 2030. Professor Malhi has recently set up the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery at Oxford, where he leads a large team tackling global loss of biodiversity by addressing ecological, social, cultural and economic challenges in a single framework.

Professor Malhi was followed by Jim Mellon (1975, PPE), Chair of Oriel’s Campaign Board, who spoke about the importance of supporting Oriel. He explained that Oriel provided a launchpad for him, as it has for so many alumni, equipping him for much of his later success. By continuing to support Oriel, Jim wants to help provide the same opportunity to the thousands of students that will come in the future. To make this happen, he stressed the vital importance of securing Oriel’s endowment to sustain our academic mission for the centuries to come.

Since 2003, alumni and friends have generously donated over £50 million towards growing Oriel’s endowment, hardship support for our students, advancing research, and enhancing our buildings. By 2026, our goal is to reach a target of £65 million, putting Oriel in a strong position to face whatever challenges the next 700 years may bring.

To achieve our vision, our strategy will focus on key elements of our people and our place, including:

  • Increasing the support available to students, from scholarships for postgraduates to financial support and bursaries for those who need it, enabling all of our students to reach their full potential.  
  • Endowing our Tutorial Fellowships to protect the Oxford tutorial system for future generations. Student fees cover less than 50 per cent of the cost involved in maintaining our exceptional tutorial teaching and action is needed to ensure the College can continue to subsidise this.  
  • Realising the First Quad project to rejuvenate the spaces at the heart of College life, including Hall, the kitchen and Bar.  
  • Cataloguing and restoring the books in the Senior Library, and renovating the space by installing climate control and enhanced security measures to preserve its contents for generations to come. 
  • Improving the sustainability of our heritage buildings, adapting them to modern life and future challenges while preserving their historic integrity for the next seven centuries. 

With the help of alumni and friends, we can put Oriel in a position to thrive well into its next 700 years. 

Watch the Video – 700 Years of Oriel: People and Place