A warm welcome to everyone here at Wolfson. Some of you will know Wolfson well, and are returning to familiar pastures. For others, this will be your first time at this great college, and you will be learning Wolfson’s Harbour, meadows, and library for the first time. You’ve chosen one of Oxford’s gems as your home. With COVID-19 measures in place to protect the community, protect the vulnerable and protect you it’ll be a little different from usual, but the essence will be the same.
When I arrived here as President I was struck by three things.
First, the family atmosphere – and by that I don’t just mean that there are a lot of families, but also that we have the kind of warm welcome you’d expect entering the family home. We have conversations going on all the time between the generations, between fellows, researchers, and more recent graduates. There really is very little stratification here.
Second, the sheer scale of events and collaborations happening in the college, be it the clusters of interdisciplinary work, the music and art we host, the buzz of the place especially during term time. There will be more virtual buzz this term, and our social interaction will be a bit more physically distanced. But it is a place which will stimulate and surprise you.
And third, the modernity of Wolfson. That is partly of course the original Grade II listed Powell and Moya buildings from the seventies, complemented by the new Academic Wing opened a few years ago, which you now come through to enter the College – you come in with a fresh frame of mind. But it’s also a commitment to being ahead of the curve in our thinking and working, looking to take the best of Oxford without some of its historical accretions.
You will all be struck by different things as you come through our doors, and you will all write your own Wolfson stories. Some may eventually feature in our Oxford Centre for Life Writing! Wherever you come from, and whatever your destination, I hope the college can provide a home for you, stimulate your thinking, and even if you are studying the most ancient of civilisations, keep you (when you are not at your studies) firmly in the twenty-first century.
Tim Hitchens, President