Wolfson College Timeline


The foundation of University College, admitting from the outset both women and men as students and Fellows.

John Morrison appointed President and the first list of 28 Fellows published in the Reporter on 13 October.


Bredon House adapted for College use; appeal started for new buildings.

Suzanne Cory from Melbourne becomes first student

Dr Ernest Nicholson (Trinity College Dublin) becomes first Visiting Fellow

Dr Roberto Gerhard (composer 1896-1970) elected (first?) Honorary Fellow in October.

28 Fellows and 6 students! 


Dr Peter Lowings appointed as the first Tutor.

First YMCA Industrial Course held at University College in Michaelmas Term.


First extension to Bredon House to provide a Dining Room and Council Room.

First College Magazine published, edited by Jack King.

The College’s first ‘mixed’ boat competes in the May Bumps.


About 150 students.

By now the College owns four buildings, including 26 Selwyn Gardens (Selwyn Gardens House) and 3 Barton Close (Norton House).


First PhD student, now Professor Suzanne Cory AC PhD FAA FRS, graduates

A termly ecumenical service started, in St Mark’s Church.


First Junior Research Fellow elected

Speelman Research Fellowship in Netherlandish Art founded.


Fundraising campaign for new buildings for graduate students:

£100,000 from Fairleigh S Dickinson Foundation; £50,000 from the Gulbenkian Foundation; £2m from the Wolfson Foundation.

First permanent residential building started 1 August.


University College officially renamed Wolfson College on 1 January.

'Ring True' coined as College motto.

First students move into new buildings in Michaelmas Term, including Fiona Lee, brought by her parents Mr and Mrs Lee Seng Tee – the start of a long family association with the College.


5 Barton Close bought – eventually becomes the President’s Lodge.

Two buildings at the front of the College completed: residential block A&B, and what is now called the Jack King Building, with the then Library upstairs.

Building work starts on the new main building in August. 


Formal Grant of Arms received.

Financial support by the University ends 1 July after the planned initial ten years because Wolfson College has secured its own financial position.

College Music Society founded.

1976   Main building and Eastern block (M, N, O, P) completed.

Royal Charter and new Statutes come into effect 1 January.

HM Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by HRH Duke of Edinburgh (Chancellor and Visitor of the College), formally opens Wolfson College on 9 November.

220 students, 72 Fellows, 58 Senior Members.

1978   College takes full responsibility for YMCA course and it becomes the Wolfson Course and Programme.
1979   Founding Bursar Jack King retires and becomes the first Director of the Wolfson Course in October.
1980   Professor Sir David Williams installed as the second President 1 October.
1981   Mural installed over the main staircase.
1982   Wolfson Press Fellowships programme begins: three Press Fellows in Michaelmas Term with Bill Kirkman its Director (conceived by Bill and David Williams).
1983   28 Selwyn Gardens purchased and named Plommer House.
1985   20th Anniversary of the College.
1988   House at 78 Barton Road purchased (Sir Vivian Fuchs House).
1989   Sir David Williams elected Vice-Chancellor of the University.

College’s Silver Jubilee year.

Lee Seng Tee Hall and Betty Wu Lee Garden open.


Sir David Williams begins 7-year term as first full-time Vice-Chancellor.

Toda House opens.


John Tusa elected third President in January; resigns in October.

New boathouse (shared with Corpus Christi, Sydney Sussex and Girton) opens.

Dr Gordon Johnson elected fourth President 1 December.

1994   Lee Seng Tee Library opens.

30th anniversary of the founding of the College.

First Western Field building ready for occupation.

500 students, 106 Fellows, 24 Emeritus Fellows, 70 Senior Members, 24 Honorary Fellows.

1997   Chancellor unveils a plaque to mark the opening of the first phase of the Western Field in February.
1998   In October the second phase of the Western Field Building opens.
2000   John Morrison, the first President, dies in October.
2002   In February the Chancellor lays the foundation stone of the Chancellor’s Centre.
2003   The 1000th PhD student graduates in July

The building of the five Family Flats is started.

The newly renovated statue of Prince Albert is installed in the foyer of the Chancellor’s Centre in time for the official opening in December by the Chancellor.


The first of the Family Flats is completed and occupied in April, the other four are occupied by August.

40th Anniversary of the founding of the College.

Anniversary mural by Peter Mennim (son of the College’s architect Michael Mennim) unveiled.

2008   Leasehold of 2 Barton Close (Barton House) purchased.
2009   Gym expanded.

Dr Gordon Johnson retires as President and Professor Richard Evans appointed as fifth President.

42 Barton Road renamed Chadwick House.

Commencement of the 50th Anniversary Campaign, setting a fundraising target of £5 million.


Gardens opened under the National Gardens Scheme.

Old Library Building renamed the Jack King Building.


Barton House (2 Barton Close) refurbished thanks to a grant of £100k from the Wolfson Foundation, and opens for student accommodation.

President Professor Richard Evans receives Knighthood.

2013   HE Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, Lord and Baron of Abernethy, GCMLJ, FRSA elected  as the College’s first Bredon Fellow
2015   50th Anniversary of the founding of Wolfson College.

End of the tenure of President Sir Richard Evans FBA, and commencement of the tenure of President Professor Jane Clarke FMedSci FRS.

End of the 50th Anniversary Campaign, raising £7.1 million in donations and pledges.

40th anniversary of the Royal Charter and new Statutes coming into effect, and the opening of the College by HM Queen Elizabeth II.