This year, Somerville will celebrate the 140th anniversary of our foundation.

A birthday party in October will mark the start of a year of celebration, drawing on an inspiring past and looking forward to an equally groundbreaking future.

We intend to celebrate the best of our teaching and research, noting the extraordinary achievements of our alumni, the passion and creativity of our students and the rich storehouse of treasures in our Library and other College buildings.

The Principal and Fellows of Somerville invite you to mark this milestone, in the presence of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, and special guests including Shirley Williams (PPE, 1948), Dame Esther Rantzen, (English, 1959).

The event takes place on October 20 from 2pm. Coffee will be served in the Maths Institute (next door to Somerville) from 2pm. The panel discussion at the Maths Institute will begin promptly at 2:30pm and we will afterwards return to Hall for afternoon tea.

Somerville is famous for vigorous intellectual exchanges – and this occasion will be no different, as Baroness Williams, Dame Esther and the Principal, Jan Royall, discuss the personalities and ideas that make College unique.

A limited-edition book, Somerville 140: 1879-2019, featuring exquisite photography of the College and telling our story through 140 objects, will be launched at this panel discussion. The book’s author Lizzy Emerson and Jane Robinson (English, 1978), will join us in this exploration of our history.

There will be an opportunity to immerse ourselves in Somerville’s past. A number of alumni will be speaking about their favourite objects from the College’s collection, and we will hear from students about Somerville’s impact on their lives.There will be music made by Somervillians, and more surprises on the day.

Tickets for the event will be £25, including afternoon tea and a glass of fizz. Every guest will receive a commemorative copy of our coffee-table book Somerville 140: 1879-2019.

Jan Royall, Principal of Somerville College, said:

“Our 140th anniversary marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the College, coming at a time when we open our new Catherine Hughes building, which will allow us to bring all our undergraduates together in one place.

“The themes of this anniversary year will be diversity, community and intellectual achievement.

“We are grateful to our founders for their initiative and vision. The world has been utterly transformed in 140 years. But some things remain the same. Among those constant values are our commitment to inclusivity and academic excellence.”

Further reading?

Somerville Welcomes Yemeni Neuroscientist Dr Anwar Masoud

Learn More
18 June 2021
Somerville Welcomes Yemeni Neuroscientist Dr Anwar Masoud

Somerville Gives Royal Welcome to HRH Prince Charles

Learn More
08 June 2021
Somerville Gives Royal Welcome to HRH Prince Charles

Somerville JRF recognised for his work on water justice

Learn More
04 June 2021
Somerville JRF recognised for his work on water justice