Famous Univites

Univ has produced many former students, Fellows, and Masters, who have excelled in a great variety of fields. This list is just a sample of the better-known ones.
Former students of Univ have a (U) by their name
Former Fellows of Univ have an (F) by their name
Former Masters of Univ have an (M) by their name


The Arts

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

The Humanities

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

The Media

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

The Law

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


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

Public Service

John Maud, Lord Redcliffe-Maud (1906–82), civil servant and redrawer of British county boundaries (F) (M)
Bernard Rogers (1921–2008), General, US Army; Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, 1979–87 (U)
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell (1938–), Cabinet Secretary 1988–98 (U) (M)


Edmund Lacy (c.1370–1455), Bishop of Exeter (F) (M)
Blessed Richard Fetherston (d. 1540), Roman Catholic ecclesiastic and martyr (F)
William James (1542–1617), Bishop of Durham (M)
George Abbot, (1562–1633), Archbishop of Canterbury 1611–33 and one of the translators of the King James Bible (M)
Obadiah Walker (1616–99), college head and author, and Catholic convert (U) (F) (M)
Israel Tonge (1621–80), informer and Church of England clergyman (U) (F)
John Potter (1673/4–1747), Archbishop of Canterbury 1737–47 (U)
Frederick Faber (1814–63), Church of England clergyman and Roman Catholic priest (U) (F)
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815–81), Dean of Westminster 1864–81 (F)
Chauncy Maples (1852–95), Bishop of Likoma in Nyasaland (U)

The Sciences

John Radcliffe, (1650–1714), physician and philanthropist (U)
Rudolph Marcus (1923–), winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1992 (Visiting Fellow and Honorary Fellow)
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 (F)
Stephen Hawking (1942–), Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University, 1979–2009 (U)
Patricia Greenhalgh (1959–), Professor of Primary Health Care Sciences, University of Oxford, 2015– (U)

The Social Sciences

William Beveridge, Lord Beveridge (1879–1963), social reformer and economist (F) (M)
G. D. H. Cole (1889–1959), university teacher and political theorist (F)
Hugh Seton-Watson (1916–84), historian and political scientist (F)
Thomas Wilson (1916–2001), former Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy, University of Glasgow (F)
Mancur Olson (1932–98), former Professor of Economics, University of Maryland (U)
Sir Laurence Hunter (1934–), former Professor of Applied Economics, University of Glasgow (U)


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

Univ Winners of the Nobel Prize

Lord Robert Cecil of Chelwood, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1937. (U)
Rudolph Marcus, winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1992 “for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems”. (Visiting Fellow and Honorary Fellow)
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”. (U)

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

Univ Knights of the Garter

John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester; appointed c.1461. (U)
Francis Rawdon, first Marquess of Hastings: appointed 1812. (U)
William, second Earl of Selborne: appointed 1909. (U)
James, fourth Marquess of Salisbury: appointed 1917. (U)
Clement Attlee: appointed 1956. (U)
Harold Wilson: appointed 1976. (F)
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell: appointed 2003. (U) (M)

Univ Olympic Medallists

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

Univ holders of the Order of Merit

Francis Herbert Bradley, appointed 1924. (U)
Clement Attlee, appointed 1951. (U)
Martin West, appointed 2014. (F)

If you want to find some more names, you can see a list of all members of Univ who are included in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography here (opens in new window.) You can also follow our Univites Pinterest board here.