The city is renowned throughout the world for its university. Leading figures in every area of public life have walked through the college halls as students. Here are just some of the many luminaries and distinguished names who share Oxford as their Alma Mater.
Aung San Suu Kyi
The celebrated humanitarian and Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi is finally able to enjoy freedom, having spent more than fifteen of the past twenty one years under house arrest for opposing military rule in her homeland.
A tireless advocate for civil liberties and the need for a democratic system of government in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi graduated from St Hugh’s College in 1969 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. It was whilst living in England as a student that Aung San Suu Kyi met her future husband, the late Michael Aris.
Saint Thomas More
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford has been the seat of education for numerous statesmen, politicians and world leaders throughout the ages. Thanks in part to its long and illustrious history, Oxford is alone amongst British universities in being able to name a Roman Catholic saint amongst its past alumni.
Saint Thomas More was a sixteenth century writer, lawyer and the Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII. One of the most intriguing of all former Oxonians, his writings provide us with the origins of the word “utopia”, and his struggle against the king’s reformation of the church resulted in his martyrdom, and his eventual canonisation in 1935.
Not every famous Old Oxonian has made a name for themselves in the world of politics. Oxford graduates number amongst the most prominent names in English literature. The poet T.S. Eliot was an Old Oxonian, as was Lewis Carroll and the thriller writer Graham Greene. Amongst the many literary names, JRR Tolkien is perhaps the best known Oxford graduate, thanks to the timeless popularity of his epic fantasy tales The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
An expert in ancient European languages and dialects, Tolkien returned to Oxford after graduating, and it was whilst working as a professor at Pembroke College that he penned his most famous novels.
Terry Jones and Michael Palin
Together, they formed one third of the Monty Python team. This pair of comedy writers and performers met as university undergraduates when they both took part in the Oxford Review.
Between them, the two comedians share an impressive list of past achievements, having worked on The Frost Report, Ripping Yarns, and The Complete and Utter History of Britain as well as every Monty Python television series and film.
Individually, Michael Palin forged a second career for himself as a latter-day explorer in his numerous television travel documentaries, whilst Terry Jones returned to academia and his lifelong passion for historical literature, writing two books on Geoffrey Chaucer.
The celebrated director and producer of radio, television and cinema graduated from University College, Oxford with a master’s degree in English literature. He quickly established a name for himself within the BBC for his acerbic satires On The Hour, The Day Today and The Friday Night Armistice.
Over the years, Iannucci has worked with some of the biggest names in British comedy including Al Murray, Chris Morris, Steve Coogan and Stewart Lee. His critically-acclaimed political satire The Thick of It spawned the foul-mouthed anti-hero Malcolm Tucker and was successfully transferred to the big screen as the film In The Loop. His successes have taken him to America, where he now directs the television comedy Veep.
Oxford is one of Britain’s choice destinations for both visitors and holiday makers. The city boasts a rich historical heritage as well as numerous world famous sites. Any visitor to the city will discover that Oxford Hotels, restaurants and shops are of the highest standard, and that the beautiful architecture of its libraries and cathedrals will captivate the imagination.