Sunday, May 20, 2018

HERALDRY | Wolfson (May 21, 2018)

Wolfson College Arms.
Blazon Per pale Gules and Or on a chevron between three roses two pears all counterchanged the roses barbed and seeded proper. 

[From college website: ARMS: Per pale Gules and Or on a chevron between three roses two pears all counterchanged the roses barbed and seeded proper. CREST (in full achievement, not shown): On a wreath of the colours in front of a representation of an arch in Iffley Church two rods of Aesculapius in saltire proper surmounted by a torch or inflamed proper. MOTTO: Humani nil alienum.] [Aesculapius has one snake; Mercury has two.]

Authority College granted? Wolfson personal arms granted?

Nominee The college is named after Sir Isaac Wolfson and the college arms are similar to those of his personal arms, which he adopted upon being named a Baronet in 1962. In his obituary in the Daily Telegraph, he is cited as the first man since Jesus to have colleges named after him at both Oxford and Cambridge.

Meaning Sir Isaac was the son of an immigrant to Glasgow from Bialystock, the town made famous by Fiddler on the Roof. He built up Great Universal Stores to be the largest mail order company in Europe. He was made Baronet in 1962 and founded the graduate college in 1965. The pears are also in his personal arms, blazoned: Per pale dovetailed Vert and Or on a Chevron counterchanged between two Roses also Or and Gules respectively and in base an Ancient Hand Bell proper two Pears Sable and Or. Pears in heraldry commonly indicate the fruits of labor and peace; one source suggests it is for gratitude for the ending of World War II. (There are pears also in the Nuffield arms, but they are both black and are for the City of Worcester, birthplace of Lord Nuffield.) In the full achievement of arms, above the shield is a knightly helmet, and the crest above its red and yellow banded wreath symbolises the College’s origins and aspirations. The Norman arch of the west door of Iffley Church stands for Iffley College which Wolfson College took over. The crossed staffs with serpent represent the Greco-Roman god of healing for Sir Isaac’s gifts to medical research, and a yellow torch with natural-coloured flame represents the pursuit of knowledge. The Latin motto expresses the College’s ideal of intellectual curiosity, from the Roman playwright Terence: Homo sum; humani nil alienum a me puto.

Founded 1965 as Iffley College, Oxford. Sir Isaiah Berlin was invited to be the College's first President. Graduate students were first admitted in 1968. The buildings were opened in 1974. The College received its Royal Charter in 1981.

President Tim Hitchens, former Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Summit Unit. Previously Director-General, Economic and Consular at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is a Cambridge graduate.

First President Sir Isaiah Berlin OM (1909–1997) was a learned man who tried never to used his wit as a hostile weapon. (When I was up, he told me once that he was “not a replier” meaning that he did not rise to the bait of a hostile published note.) He raised the large sums needed to build the College and to provide its endowment. He knew what kind of institution he wanted: Open and democratic; multicultural and multidisciplinary; and free of unnecessary hierarchy.  Born in Riga, he lived for part of his childhood in Russia, where he witnessed the 1917 Revolutions in Petrograd. He came to England in 1921 and referred to himself as a "Russian Jew". Famed as thinker, essayist and lecturer, he is also remembered as an inspiring tutor. He made significant contributions to the history of ideas, including nineteenth-century Russian thinkers to whom one of his books is devoted. His biography of Karl Marx is still read, and his 1958 lecture on “Two Concepts of Liberty” is required reading for many courses.

History In 1965, the University of Oxford founded Iffley College. Later the same year Sir Isaiah Berlin was invited to be the College's first President. Through his efforts, generous benefactions were received from the Wolfson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, which enabled the College to include graduate students. The first of these were admitted in October 1968. The College's buildings, designed by architects Powell and Moya, were ready for occupation in 1974 and the College received its Royal Charter in 1981.

Special Features Wolfson is the largest graduate college in the University of Oxford, with over 600 students and thriving research clusters. It is a diverse and engaged scholarly community. The College provides academic and pastoral support for 650 graduate students, recognised internationally as being of the highest standard. Students develop academically, advance their leadership qualities and communication skills and prepare to play full and effective roles in society. Early career support for developing academics is also provided.

Wolfson College has a dedicated archive with a variety of photographs, documents and other materials relating to the history of the College.

John Penney and Roger Tomlin, Wolfson College Oxford – The First Fifty Years

Other references (online)
Isaiah Berlin Bio . Robbins Report
Iffley College founded . Creation of College: Ford £4.5m, Berlin President
First Junior Research Fellow elected . Laying of the Foundation Stone
First Summer VIIIs . First Wolfson lecture series . Royal Charter
First women's Summer VIIIs . Sir Henry Fisher becomes second President
Sir Raymond Hoffenberg becomes third President . Annual Berlin lecture created
Twenty-fifth anniversary of College . Sir David Smith becomes fourth President
Wolfson men win Christ Church Novice regatta . Sir Gareth Roberts fifth President

Professor Hermione Lee sixth President . Centenary of Sir Isaiah Berlin's birth

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