Famous Univites

Over its long history Univ has produced many former students, Fellows, and Masters, who have excelled in a great variety of fields. Detailed below are a number of our better-known ‘Univites’, broadly categorised by the area in which they excelled or for which they are best known.

The Arts

Edward Herbert, Baron Herbert of Cherbury (1582?–1648), diplomat and philosopher (matr. 1596)
John Wood (1728–81), architect of the Royal Crescent and New Assembly Rooms, Bath (matr. 1747)
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), poet (matr. 1810)
C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), theologian and writer of the Narnia books (matr. 1917) (pictured)
Sir Stephen Spender (1909–95), poet (matr. 1927)
Sir Philip Dowson (1924–2014), architect, and President of Royal Academy of Arts, 1993–9 (matr. 1943)
Warren Mitchell (1926–2015), actor, best known for the role of Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part (matr.1944 )
Ronald Eyre (1929–92), theatre and television director (matr. 1949)
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad, (Sir Vidia), Naipaul (1932–), winner of Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 (matr. 1950)
Patrick Dromgoole (1930–), theatre, film and television director (matr. 1951)
Shivadhar Srinivasa [Shiva] Naipaul (1945–85), writer (matr. 1964)
Sir Andrew Motion (1952–), Poet Laureate, 1999–2009 (matr. 1971)
Sandy Nairne (1953–), Director of the National Portrait Gallery 2002–15 (matr. 1971)
Amanda Brookfield (1960–), novelist (matr. 1979)


‘The more we study the more we discover our ignorance.’ – Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Humanities

Sir William Jones (1746–94), orientalist and judge (matr. 1764; Fellow 1766-83)
Francis Herbert Bradley (1846–1924), philosopher and holder of Order of Merit (matr. 1865)
Robin Collingwood (1889–1943), philosopher and historian (matr. 1908)
Sir Peter Strawson (1919–2006), philosopher (Fellow 1948-68)
Ernst Badian (1925–2011) ancient historian (matr. 1948)
Herbert Hart (1907–92), legal philosopher (Fellow 1952-73)
Martin West (1937–2015),classicist (Fellow 1963-74)
John Finnis (1940–), legal philosopher (matr. 1962; Fellow 1966-2010)
Ronald Dworkin (1931–2013), legal philosopher (Fellow 1969-98)
Helen Cooper (1947–), Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English, University of Cambridge 2004–14 (Fellow 1978-2004 – Univ’s first woman Fellow) (pictured)  
Nicola Lacey (1958–), Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College 2010-13; Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, LSE (matr. 1979)
Katherine Ellis (1963–), 1684 Professor of Music, University of Cambridge 2016– (matr. 1982)


‘A man ceases to be a beginner in any given science and becomes a master in that science when he has learned that he is going to be a beginner all his life.’ – Robin Collingwood

The Media

Richard Ingrams (1937–), Editor of Private Eye and The Oldie (matr. 1958)
Paul Foot (1937–2004), journalist and political campaigner (matr. 1958)
Michael York (1942–), actor, whose films include Cabaret and Logan’s Run (matr. 1961)
Sir Max Hastings (1945–), editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard (matr. 1964)
Charles Sturridge (1951–), director of 1981 TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited] (matr. 1969)
Paul Gambaccini (1949–), broadcaster and author (matr. 1970)
Armando Iannucci (1963–), creator of Alan Partridge and The Thick of It (matr. 1982)
Nick Robinson (1963–), Political Editor of the BBC 2005–15; Presenter on the Today programme 2015– (matr. 1983) (pictured)
Christina Lamb (1966–), Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times, author, and winner of several awards for her journalism (matr. 1983)
Tom Hooper (1972–), director of The King’s Speech and winner of the Oscar for Best Director, 2011 (matr. 1991)


‘No one loves a country as much as someone who has chosen to live in it.’ – Paul Gambaccini

The Law

William Scott, Baron Stowell (1745–1836), judge and politician (Fellow 1765-82)
John Scott, first Earl of Eldon (1751–1838), Lord Chancellor 1801–6 and 1807–28 (matr. 1766; Fellow 1767-73)
Gordon Hewart (1870–1943), Lord Chief Justice of England 1922–40 (matr. 1887)
Kenneth Diplock (1907–85) judge (matr. 1925)
Sir David Edward (1934–), Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, 1992–2004 (matr. 1953)
Johan Steyn, Lord Steyn (1932–), Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, 1995–2005 (matr. 1955)
Leonard Hoffmann, Lord Hoffmann (1934–), Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 1995–2009 (Fellow 1961-73)
Jonathan Mance, Lord Mance (1943–), Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, 2005–9, and Justice of the Supreme Court of the UK (matr. 1961)
Sir Alan Moses (1945–), a Lord Justice of Appeal, 2005–14; Chairman, Independent Press Standards Organisation, 2014– (matr. 1964) (pictured)
Geoffrey Robertson (1946–), barrister, author and human rights campaigner. (matr. 1970)


‘You must never assume you are going to get away by concealing the really difficult point; you must be prepared to face it and sometimes it’s best to face it by coming out with it straight away.’ – Jonathan Mance


Charles Jenkinson, first Earl of Liverpool (1729–1808), politician (matr. 1746)
William Windham (1750–1810), politician (matr. 1767)
Lord Robert Cecil (1864–1958), Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1937 (matr. 1882)
Clement Attlee (1883–1967), Prime Minister of Great Britain 1945–51 (matr. 1901)
Sir Edgar Whitehead (1905–71), Prime Minister of Rhodesia 1958–62 (matr. 1923)
Kofi Busia (1913–78), Prime Minister of Ghana 1966–72 (matr. 1939)
Harold Wilson (1916–95), Prime Minister of Great Britain 1964–70 and 1974–6 (Fellow 1938-45)
Bob Hawke (1929–), Prime Minister of Australia, 1983–91 (matr. 1953)
Festus Mogae (1939–), President of Botswana 1998–2008 (matr. 1965) (pictured)
Sir Jeremy Beecham (1944–), Leader of Newcastle upon Tyne City Council 1977–94, Chairman of Labour’s NEC 2005/6 (matr. 1962)
Bill Clinton (1946–), President of the USA 1993–2001 (matr. 1968)
Philip Hammond (1955–), UK Transport Secretary 2010–11; Defence Secretary 2011–14; Foreign Secretary 2014–16; Chancellor of the Exchequer 2016– (matr. 1974)
Jonathan Powell (1956–), Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, 1997–2007 (matr. 1974)
Julia Drown (1962–), Univ’s first woman MP (matr. 1981)
Stewart Wood, Lord Wood of Anfield (1968–), Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, 2007–10; Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, 2010–15 (matr. 1986)


‘Character is a journey, not a destination.’ – Bill Clinton

Public Service

John Maud, Lord Redcliffe-Maud (1906–82), civil servant and redrawer of British county boundaries (Fellow 1929-39; Master 1963-76)
Bernard Rogers (1921–2008), General, US Army; Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, 1979–87 (matr. 1947)
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell (1938–), Cabinet Secretary 1988–98 (matr. 1957; Master 1998-2008)


Edmund Lacy (c.1370–1455), Bishop of Exeter (Fellow c. 1391-7; Master c. 1398-1401)
Blessed Richard Fetherston (d. 1540), Roman Catholic ecclesiastic and martyr (Fellow c. 1513-15)
William James (1542–1617), Bishop of Durham (Master 1572-84)
George Abbot, (1562–1633), Archbishop of Canterbury 1611–33 and one of the translators of the King James Bible (Master 1597-1610) (pictured)
Obadiah Walker (1616–99), college head and author, and Catholic convert (matr. 1633; Fellow 1635-48 & 1660-76; Master 1676-89)
Israel Tonge (1621–80), informer and Church of England clergyman (matr. 1638; Fellow 1648-c. 1652)
John Potter (1673/4–1747), Archbishop of Canterbury 1737–47 (matr. 1688)
Frederick Faber (1814–63), Church of England clergyman and Roman Catholic priest (elected Scholar at Univ 1834; Fellow 1837-44)
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815–81), Dean of Westminster 1864–81 (Fellow 1838-51)
Chauncy Maples (1852–95), Bishop of Likoma in Nyasaland (matr. 1871)


‘The buried talent is the sunken rock on which most lives strike and founder.’ – Frederick Faber

The Sciences

John Radcliffe, (1650–1714), physician and philanthropist (matr. 1666)
Rudolph Marcus (1923–), winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1992 (Visiting Fellow 1975/6)
Sir David King (1939–), Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government, 2000–7, and Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, 2008–12 (Fellow 2008-12)
Stephen Hawking (1942–), Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University, 1979–2009 (matr. 1959) (pictured)
Patricia Greenhalgh (1959–), Professor of Primary Health Care Sciences, University of Oxford, 2015– (matr. 1980)


‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’ – Stephen Hawking

The Social Sciences

William Beveridge, Lord Beveridge (1879–1963), social reformer and economist (Fellow 1902-9; Master 1937-45)
G. D. H. Cole (1889–1959), university teacher and political theorist (Fellow 1925-44)
Hugh Seton-Watson (1916–84), historian and political scientist (Fellow 1946-51)
Thomas Wilson (1916–2001), former Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy, University of Glasgow (Fellow 1946-58)
Mancur Olson (1932–98), former Professor of Economics, University of Maryland (matr.1954)
Sir Laurence Hunter (1934–), former Professor of Applied Economics, University of Glasgow (matr.1956)


'Scratch a pessimist and you find often a defender of privilege.’ – William Beveridge


Prince Felix Yusupov (1887–1967), assassin of Grigori Rasputin (matr. 1909)
Cyril Tolley (1895–1978), golfer (matr. 1920)
Roz Savage (1967–), the first woman to row across all three oceans solo (matr. 1986)

‘If I ever stop challenging myself, then I am getting lazy and comfortable and I am no longer growing.’ – Roz Savage

Univ Winners of the Nobel Prize

Lord Robert Cecil of Chelwood, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1937. (matr. 1882)
Rudolph Marcus, winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1992 “for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems”. (Visiting Fellow 1975/6)
Sir V. S. Naipaul, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”. (matr. 1950) (pictured)

The above citations are taken from nobelprize.org, the official website of the Nobel Prizes.

‘My life is short. I can't listen to banality.’ – V.S. Naipaul

Univ Knights of the Garter

John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester; appointed c.1461. (studied at Univ c. 1440-4)
Francis Rawdon, first Marquess of Hastings: appointed 1812. (matr. 1771)
William, second Earl of Selborne: appointed 1909. (matr. 1878)
James, fourth Marquess of Salisbury: appointed 1917. (matr. 1880)
Clement Attlee: appointed 1956. (matr. 1901)
Harold Wilson: appointed 1976. (Fellow 1938-45)
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell: appointed 2003. (matr. 1957; Master 1998-2008)


‘He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.’ – Harold Wilson

Univ Olympic Medallists

Colin Moynihan: silver medal (UK; coxed eights), Moscow 1980. (matr. 1974)
Mark Evans and his twin brother Michael: gold medals (Canada; coxed eights), Los Angeles 1984. (both matr. 1982)
Mark Precious: bronze medal (UK; hockey), Los Angeles 1984. (matr. 1974)
Emily de Riel: silver medal (USA; modern pentathlon), Sydney 2000. (matr. 1996)
Acer Nethercott: silver medal (UK; coxed eights), Beijing 2008. (matr. 1996) (pictured)

‘The first thing my gran said to me when I got in to Oxford was: “so am I going to see you in the Boat Race?”’ - Acer Nethercott

Univ holders of the Order of Merit

Francis Herbert Bradley, appointed 1924. (matr. 1865)
Clement Attlee, appointed 1951. (matr. 1901)
Martin West, appointed 2014. (Fellow 1963-74)

‘I believe that the foundation of democratic liberty is a willingness to believe that other people may perhaps be wiser than oneself.’ – Clement Attlee

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Some – though far from all – of the above Univites are commemorated with portraits in our Hall, find out more here.