Oriel celebrates 30 years of admitting women

This year Oriel celebrates the 30th anniversary of its first female undergraduates being accepted into the college. 

In celebration of this, Oriel set up their ‘Oriel women at 30’ Facebook page. Within 24 hours, it had nearly 300 likes from Oriel students and alumni. 

Oriel’s flag was flown over the provost’s lodgings last Friday to commemorate the Governing Body’s vote with more celebrations planned this year. 

Ianthe Greenwood, Oriel JCR president, said: “I am delighted to be celebrating 30 years since the College voted to admit women, especially as Oriel’s third female JCR President in four years.

“It also seems especially fitting during the tenure of Oriel’s first female Provost, who started this academic year.”

“The atmosphere in College has been really festive, with the College flag flying on Friday to commemorate Governing Body’s vote and we are looking forward to further celebrations for 2014-2015 to celebrate 30 years of women at Oriel.”

The inauguration of a female head of house this year marked a significant change for the close-to 700-year-old college. Although it was the last college to admit female students, today it is fully integrated, with women comprising half of the student body.

Moira Wallace, provost of Oriel, is looking forward to the major celebrations being planned. She says of the decision to admit female students: “This was a forward-looking decision which opened up educational opportunities and strengthened the College.

“We are planning our major celebrations for 2015 and are going to enjoy looking back on the first 30 years with those who were here to experience it.”

On the 23rd May 1984, Oriel’s Governing Body passed a vote admitting women. The first female undergraduates were matriculated in the academic year of 1985. 

The Facebook page, “Oriel Women at 30”, has proved popular among students and alumni. Alumnus Andi Briit posted on the page, saying: “I was away in Germany for my third year when Oriel first admitted women. By the time I came back the College was gloriously transformed and fully integrated.”

Greenwood and Sophie Ross, a second-year undergraduate, set up the Facebook page. Sophie said: “I am incredibly proud to be a female student at Oriel in 2014. But we shouldn’t shy away from our College’s history; just 30 years ago, Oriel became the last Oxford College to vote to admit female students.”

“Since then, thousands of women have passed through the College’s doors and gone on to make their mark on the world. We’ve already had a fantastic response from students and alumni on our Facebook page which we set up to commemorate this historic anniversary and celebrate the contribution women have made to Oriel and beyond over the last 30 years”.