St Cross College, Oxford

St Cross College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is an all-graduate college, sharing attractive, traditional-style buildings on a central site in St Giles', just south of Pusey Street. It aims to match the structure, life and support of undergraduate colleges, with the relaxed atmosphere of an all-graduate college.

On 18 November 2010, it was announced that Sir Mark Ellis Powell Jones, at present Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum has been elected as the next Master of the College and will take up the post in September 2011.


St Cross was formally set up by the University in 1965; It was to admit its first graduate students (five in number) in the following year. The establishment of the college, together with that of Iffley (now Wolfson) College, arose out of pressure on the University, during the early 1960s, to solve the related problems of senior members of the University and of the increasing numbers of graduate students, who needed a college affiliation.

The early location of St Cross was on a site in St Cross Road, immediately south of St Cross Church. The college was able to move from St Cross Road into a site owned by Pusey House in St Giles' Street in 1981.

The Pusey House buildings are mainly the work of the architects Temple and Leslie Moore. Thus, although the appearance is very much Gothic in style, the buildings actually date from the period 1911 to 1926. Discreet internal additions and alterations were made when St Cross moved in, by Geoffrey Beard and the Oxford Architects Partnership. Among these was the conversion of a cloister and store rooms into the Saugman Hall, now the Saugman Common Room, named after Per Saugman, a former Director of Blackwell Scientific Publications and a former Fellow of the College. The first quadrangle was named the Richard Blackwell Quadrangle in honour of Richard Blackwell (another former Fellow); both Saugman and Blackwell played a crucial part in securing for St Cross the large Blackwell benefaction for the College.

Behind the main buildings to the west, and through the so-called 'Four Colleges Arch' (named after the four colleges, Christ Church, All Souls, Merton and St. John's, which had contributed especially generous capital and recurrent funding to St. Cross), lay a large open garden. This has offered the College the possibility of expanding its buildings and erecting a second quadrangle. Work has, so far, been completed on one new wing, to the south, containing a hall and kitchen, with bar, function room and weights room below, and study bedrooms above. The new wing was opened in 1993.

Student life

St Cross has approximately 400 graduate students at any one time, studying for degrees in all subjects. There is a strong emphasis on international diversity, with 67 % of the students from outside the UK. This is reflected in the college motto Ad quattuor cardines mundi ‘to the four corners of the earth’. The Fellowship is similarly diverse and represents a broad range of academic disciplines in the sciences and the arts.

Unusually for an Oxford College there is a founding tradition of sharing social facilities between Fellows, members of Common Room and students, with no separate high table or Senior Common Room. This gives the college a much more informal atmosphere and makes it an important community of scholars who forge links across a range of subjects.


The college grace is:

Although a secular foundation, and having completed the full purchase of the St Giles’ site from Pusey House in 2007, St Cross nevertheless enjoys warm relations with Pusey House, and the Pusey House Chapel is available for the use of all College members.

The college holds a Ball every year. Its themes have included Casablanca and the Oscars.

Notable alumni
  • Christian M. M. Brady, scholar and academic
  • Alan Carter (philosopher), professor and philosopher
  • Tim Foster, Olympic rowing gold medalist (1997)
  • Toshiharu Furukawa, Japanese politician, professor, and CEO
  • R. Joseph Hoffmann, historian (1980)
  • Hermione Lee, critic, writer, biographer, and lecturer (1970)
  • David Digby Rendel, British politician
  • Richard Rudgley, anthropologist, author, and television presenter
  • Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu, Foreign Minister of Romania, diplomat, and politician (1993)
  • Kenneth R. Valpey, professor and Gaudiya Vaishnava theologian
Fellows of St Cross

(not an exhaustive list)

  • Nick Bostrom
  • George Malcolm Brown
  • Luciano Floridi
  • Andrew Goudie
  • Dan Hicks
  • Robert MacCarthy
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch
  • Farhan Nizami
  • E. Peter Raynes
  • Per Saugman
  • Julian Savulescu
  • Godfrey Stafford
  • Kenneth Hylson-Smith, A History of Holywell and St Cross College/Brasenose College Residential Site (Oxford, 1996).
  • Kenneth Hylson-Smith, David Sturdy & Brian Atkins, A History of St Giles and the St Cross College/Pusey House Site (Oxford, 1993).
  • 'St Cross College', in The Encyclopaedia of Oxford, ed. Christopher Hibbert (London, 1988), 385-6.
  • St Cross College Record, 1– (1980–).
  • W. E. van Heyningen, The Founding of St Cross College, Oxford: An Interested Account (Oxford, 1988).


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