The academic wing at Wolfson College. Photo by John Cairns

  The academic wing at Wolfson College. Photo by John Cairns

Setting a new standard for graduate education

Wolfson College is one of the University’s largest graduate colleges, unique in its academic scope and international reach. In 2011, more than 40 years after it was founded, the college embarked on an ambitious plan to set a new standard for graduate education in Oxford.


At the heart of this plan was a brand-new academic wing. Built in two phases and completed in spring 2016, the wing has dramatically enhanced the resources and space available to Wolfson’s graduate students, fellows and research clusters. Alongside a state-of-the-art auditorium sit new seminar rooms, academic offices and study spaces. A café and landscaped quad complete the redevelopment.

Etienne Hanelt at Wolfson College. Photo by John Cairns
   Etienne Hanelt at Wolfson College. Photo by John Cairns

‘It’s hugely important to have this space where people can meet and chat to one another,’ says Etienne Hanelt, DPhil candidate in Socio-Legal Studies and Wolfson’s Chair of the General Meeting. ‘Part of the Wolfson ethos is to be egalitarian; it’s all about fellows mixing with students and these new spaces just provide further opportunities for that to happen.’

The wing sits seamlessly alongside Wolfson’s original 1970s architecture, a now Grade II listed piece of work designed by leading post-war architects Powell and Moya. ‘It’s in keeping with the principles of the original architecture, but it’s much more modern,’ says Etienne. ‘The café is a great social space, while the auditorium opens up so many new opportunities for academic events. The new wing really is a crucial and much-used addition.’

The academic wing was supported by gifts from more than 100 donors, including principal gifts from the Wolfson Foundation, John and Liz Adams, and the estate of Dr Francis Marriott.

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