Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4665
Friday, 27 June 2003
- Convocation 25 June: Admission and Installation of the Chancellor of the University
- Public Orator's speech in commemoration of the previous Chancellor
- Public Orator's speech in felicitation of the new Chancellor
(Latin followed by English)
- The Chancellor's speech in reply
- Congregation 25 June: Public Orator's speeches introducing the honorands (Latin followed by English)
- Doctor of Civil Law
- Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve
- Doctor of Letters
- Doctor of Science
- Professor Dame Julia Higgins
- Sir Paul Nurse
- Professor Jean-Pierre Serre
- Doctor of Music
- Public Orator's introduction to the Creweian Oration
- The Creweian Oration by the Professor of Poetry: Oxford blues
CONVOCATION 25 June
Admission and Installation of the Chancellor of the University
THE PUBLIC ORATOR made the following speech in commemoration of the previous Chancellor and in felicitation of the new Chancellor on the occasion of the Admission and Installation of the Chancellor held in the Sheldonian Theatre on Wednesday, 25 June.
Illustrissime atque Honoratissime Domine Cancellarie, licetne anglice loqui? It is often assumed with a smile, sometimes affectionate, sometimes more hostile, that existence in this University is far removed from the kind of life which is singled out, rather invidiously, as `real' (although, as a wise man has said, different careers and ways of life do not differ in the sense that some are real, others not): academic life is imagined as serene, unchanging, and—above all—remote. In fact, of course, we could not live such a life, even if we wanted to. At every point we are attached by unbreakable bonds to our community, to our times, and not least to the fundamental rhythms of life and death. The longevity of an institution like this of ours reminds us of the brevity of our own stay. The University of Oxford was venerable before the oldest of us was born; it will still be here long after the youngest of us has vanished. By how many Orators have how many Chancellors been installed, honoured, and finally mourned? And those oratorical voices are themselves long silent. We welcome the new with congratulation and rejoicing; but we must also remember with sadness what has passed away. As we do so we reflect anew on the greatness and the fragility of all that is human.
The death of Roy Jenkins—none of us really thought of him as `Baron Jenkins of Hillhead'; he was invariably referred to in a way which reflected the affection we felt for him—deprives the University of a great leader and, for many of us, of a valued friend. He was our Chancellor for some sixteen years, and he was highly and consistently conscientious in the duties of that office. He did what we asked of him, and he came whenever we needed him. Our invitations were very numerous: he is on record as turning out for us no less than 73 times, one way and another, in a single year.
He made speeches which were both wise and witty; he was ready with advice, but he never pressed it on us unasked, tempting as that must sometimes have been; and he was tireless and effective in defending our interests, and those of higher education in general, in this glacial age in which we live, on the political scene which he knew so well. Himself admirably energetic in fund raising for us, he rightly insisted that `unless Oxford raises substantial funds, it will not, for all the splendour of its buildings and the glory of its history, be able to maintain its position as one of the handful of universities of pre-eminent world class'.
I have said that he was conscientious. That is true, but it is a skimmed milk description of the man. He had in addition a gusto for enjoyment which, in the phrase of Aristotle, added a shine, a glitter, to his virtues. He enjoyed good talk, he caused laughter in others and laughed freely and infectiously himself, he relished a good bottle of claret—though he could accept without perceptible demur the undistinguished vintages which he sometimes met with in the more unworldly colleges. The round of our High Tables is notoriously a bumpy and a chancy ride.
He was a figure of the first importance in the national life, and history will continue to be keenly interested in his achievements: perhaps above all as Home Secretary, an office which he held twice, from 1965 to 1967, and from 1974 to 1976. That position has been the graveyard of so many promising careers; so many men who had been thought liberal until they got the job have left on the rocky coast of that dour Department the bleaching bones of their civilised aspirations; we can hardly think of a holder who achieved so much that is still current and still valued. It is salutary to remember just how illiberal were many of the laws under which we lived thirty-five years ago. Sexual relations, censorship, freedom of speech: in many vital areas of all our lives he took and carried through a role which was liberating. He has a worthy monument in a more open and more tolerant society.
He was of course also a convinced European. The occasion on which he presented the candidates of his choice for honorary degrees was a glittering parade of the new Almanach de Gotha: Kings, Presidents, Commissioners. Oxford looked for a day or two as it had hardly looked since the allied sovereigns assembled here to mark the defeat of Bonaparte and to receive their honorary degrees from the Chancellor of that day, the first Duke of Wellington. He was, in addition, a considerable writer, whose biographies of political personalities form a sizeable mass of highly enjoyable and highly instructive material. He did not, perhaps, spend quite so many hours in archival research as some more academic authors insist on proving to us that they have done; but his style is never dead, his grasp was profound, and his real insight into the atmosphere and workings of the political world makes its own invaluable contribution.
But little can be said here of Roy Jenkins as author or as President of the European Commission. He has not lacked able obituarists, and he will surely continue to find biographers. We think of him, above all, as our Chancellor. He served us nobly, and we responded with warm affection. None of us, perhaps, would wish, when his own time comes, for a different or a better memorial than that.
Ad successorem transeo, et consuetudini vetustissimae obsecutus ad linguam Latinam, cum res ipsa nos a maerore ad laetitiam avocet. cum persaepe fiat ut Dominus Cancellarius noster ceteris gradum honoris causa conferat, tum non nisi perraro contingit ut ipse ab alio gradum accipiat; hodie autem cum gaudium inusitatum sentiamus tum res ordine insolito tractandas esse percipimus, qui Cancellarium nuper creatum omni quanta possumus gratulatione excipere ac salutare cupiamus. quid enim? nonne honore amplissimo dignus est? nonne ceteros eodem honore adficiet? nonne quotannis Doctores creabit et quidem, ut speramus, permultos? sed ut obiter citem Naevium poetam, qui Hectorem inducit Priamo praefantem
Laetus sum laudari me abs te, pater, a laudato viro,
laudem enim quodam modo acceptiorem esse cum laudator ipse laudem meruerit amplissimam, sic nos homines academici sentimus fere universi virum clarissimum qui ceteros honore adfecturus sit ipsum honore haud inferiori esse celebrandum. itaque etiam si vereor ne rem actam agere videar qui Cancellarium tum demum laudare incipiam cum iam sit electus, viri autem vitam depingere nemini nostrum iamdiu ignoti, tamen ab animo impetrare non possum ut omnino huius virtutes silentio praeteream. inter Balliolenses nutritus Clius adseclam se praestabat aptissimum; sed academico vitae genere mox relicto in forum descendit, in re publica partes vel maximas agere coepit, et munerum et onerum cursu functus honorifico extremam quamque orbis terrarum regionem ita peragravit ut et in Hibernia Boreali et iuxta Serum fines imperi nostri iam magis magisque evanescentis decus famam amplitudinem augeret atque defenderet. proconsul paene postremus creatus provinciam gubernavit quam Latino sermone nominare vix p ossem, quem magistratum ita gessit ut difficultates minime spernendas felicissime tractaret; haud mirum igitur si idoneus videbatur qui ad intima Europae consilia mitteretur, civitatum confoederatarum rebus externis praesideret, ita nationum ceterarum commoda tueretur ut civium suorum immemor esse numquam videretur. quod munus tam luculenter obit ut ne illi quidem quibus ipsum Europae nomen terrori est huius aequitatem incusent. Te, illustrissime, Domini Cancellari munus accepisse gaudemus; Te Cancellario spem concepimus splendidissimam; Tibi magistratum amplissimum ineunti omnia bona fausta felicia precamur.
I pass to his successor, and in accordance with tradition pass from English to Latin. At the same time, events invite us to turn from sadness to rejoicing. It is a regular event for our Chancellor to confer honorary degrees, but it is rather rare for him to receive one at the hands of someone else. Today, however, our unusual enjoyment of the occasion goes with a sense that some departure from the usual is in order, as we take pleasure in doing all we can to greet and welcome our newly-elected Chancellor. He is, of course, worthy of the honour; he will himself in turn confer such degrees on others; he will be creating Doctors every year, we hope, for a great while yet. As the archaic Latin poet Naevius presents Hector saying to his father Priam, `It gives me special joy, father, to be lauded by one so laudable', so we academics feel that the distinguished figure who confers honorary degrees should himself be honoured by them no less highly. While, therefore, it might seem rather belated to start an encomium of the Chancellor after his election, and to describe the career of a man whom we all know so well, still I cannot bring myself to say nothing about the achievements of Mr Patten. He read History at Balliol with distinction, but he soon left the shades of academe for public life and a political career. He played an important part in national politics, and after holding various honorific and exacting offices he went off in succession to two posts, in their different ways quite distant: first to Northern Ireland, then to the very borders of China, to Hong Kong, to maintain and defend the prestige and influence of the Empire in its phase of territorial decline. As Governor of the latter place, which has a name which simply will not go into Latin, in spite of very grave obstacles he succeeded triumphantly. It was therefore natural that he should be sent to the innermost counsels of Europe, to be Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. In that post he has succeeded in serving the Community as a whole, while remaining mindful of his own country and its citizens; and so brilliantly that not even those who dread the very name of Europe have ever regarded him as other than absolutely impartial. That You, Sir, have accepted the Chancellorship of the University fills us all with pleasure. We have formed the very highest hopes of Your tenure of the office. We wish You, in the traditional phrase, all that is good, fortunate, and auspicious.
THE CHANCELLOR made the following speech in reply.
Oratori Publico gratias ago maximas, qui me in hunc magistratum ineuntem blande et docte salutarit, res gestas meas laudando auxerit, menda proprudentia sua silentio praeterierit. me audientibus approbare laborabat tam augustum tamque celebre fastigium adeptum, cuius fasti tot tamque splendidis nominibus illuminati indicio sunt quantas in rebus Britannicis partes egerit his mille annis Academia Oxoniensis. ego si non aliquantulum superbirem modestiae humanae fines paene superarem, cum vos me tanto honore adfeceritis, ipse autem tot tamque excellentibus accedam viris qui hanc perantiquam sed hodie imminutam potestatem exercuerunt. spero me hoc magistratu ita functurum esse ut ille qui aliquando successurus est, sed hunc diem Creatorem oro ut serum lentumque inducat, haud minore reverentia affectus hoc officium populare iam redditum plebique acceptum suscipiat.
Expedit nunc, ut opinor, me libertatem lingua vernacula utendi mihi adrogare.
My predecessor noted, when admitted to this office, that he had enjoyed better fortune at the hands of Oxford University's sweetly disposed and wisely guided electorate than he had from the rougher elements—to be fair he did not express it in quite this way—who choose our parliamentary representatives. My own much briefer career at Westminster encourages similar sentiments. Like his predecessor, Harold Macmillan, Roy Jenkins was installed a commoner and departed, weighed down with honours, collared in ermine, but more important held in deep affection by the University he had served so well. So well—and for so long. Oh to discover, as the years pad past, that longevity is genetically imprinted on the Chancellorship
There is a political sport that lists those well-equipped for the office of Prime Minister who have somehow failed at the last stride to cross the threshold of No. 10. Roy Jenkins, I would judge, heads the field for the last half-century, alongside a man we both admired (albeit a son of Cambridge)—Rab Butler. Lord Jenkins was intrigued by, though he did not share, Butler's enigmatic ambivalence. His own career was characterised by a brave, some critics would say, reckless refusal to subordinate intellectual principle to party expedience. And it is for that reason that those like me, who hold fast to the romantic belief that politics is an honourable adventure, revere his memory.
As a politician, Lord Jenkins had the ability, recently equalled only by (again) Butler, to translate a philosophy or an idea into practical legislation. He was a liberal internationalist, who saw no contradiction between European horizons and trans-Atlantic friendships. His sense of irony did not degenerate into cynicism about the human condition. He knew that there were uplands to explore above and beyond the partisan drudgery of day-to-day politics, and he became a biographer of distinction whose sentences unfolded majestically across pages that did great justice to their subjects, the titans of modern political history. He enjoyed life, which is one reason why he loved Oxford and why Oxford loved him. He lit up these `umbrageous groves' (as he would not quite have called them) with his wit, his learning and his enthusiasm. Apprehensive the man who must take up his baton.
I come as the last of a number of colonial oppressors who have donned these robes, most controversial among them perhaps Oliver Cromwell, most magnificent George Nathaniel Curzon. I assume that I am truly the `last' and not just the latest unless recent controversial events in the `thankless deserts of Mesopotamia' have opened a new era of empire. I understand that it is to Curzon that one should give thanks for the magnificence of this occasion. After the `Curzonisation' at the Delhi Durbar, a second followed in Oxford in 1907 though elephants and sepoys were sadly absent from the procession to this great Wren building. At this point I should still any anxieties that may have been aroused by reference to my vice-regal predecessor. I do not intend to follow his example of well- intentioned interference in the running of the University. But the question does arise—what should a Chancellor actually do in 2003? How can the Chancellor be usefully impotent? Is he or she (I presume on the future) merely required to demonstrate the robustness of the Chancellor's liver, an ability to turn a pretty phrase, and a certain amiable dignity?
Lord Jenkins concluded his oration at Encaenia one day short of sixteen years ago with these words: `Nothing in my life has given me greater pleasure than my election as Chancellor'. (That is common to us both). He went on, `That pleasure will only continue if I can increasingly feel that the University over which my successor will preside is as secure in the intellectual firmament as it has ever been. So my interest and my duties are clear. I believe that they coincide with yours.'
The challenges that crowd in on us today are even greater than those of 1987, and we are perhaps even more aware than we were then that the triumphs and perils of natural selection apply to universities as much as to crustaceans.
The political culture of our country, regardless of the philosophical lineage of its government, still finds it difficult to distinguish between value and price. This university—much the best-known in the world—has no god- given right, immune to accountability or criticism, to be revered as a national treasure and an international asset beyond quantification. But we have surely done enough through our own efforts to enjoy respect and to attract that national support and esteem which are essential if we are to remain an institution of world-standing.
All of our universities have suffered from two decades of public parsimony. Oddly, it has been accompanied by growing interference: less money, more strings. This aggressive tendency to centralise all decision-making lacks the humility that should have been bred by past failure. Also absent is any comprehension that pluralism requires strong and independent countervailing institutions. Britain has become institutionally illiberal. We are much worse governed as a result.
At the same time we have put at risk academic standards by falsely perceiving and asserting a tension between them and equality of opportunity. The result has often been, perversely, to curtail the chances of advancement by talented young men and women from poorer backgrounds. Like many in my generation, and many more in subsequent age cohorts, I was the first in my family to attend university. I feel strongly about access to higher education and intend in the future to devote time and energy to this issue. But it is insulting to the able, and damaging to the universities that seek to educate them, to make the issue of access a crowbar for social engineers rather than a challenge for educationalists, and it is downright vulgar to allow it to become a populist political slogan.
We also have to beware the tendency to define the role of universities solely in terms of the contribution higher education makes to economic growth. It is true that the quality of life of people today owes much to what emerged from our universities in the last century. Moreover, while much pretentious claptrap is talked about the modern knowledge-based economy (it is difficult after all to recall any successful ignorance-based economies), it is probably the case that our lives in the future will be even more dependent on what emerges—taught and researched—from our universities. Yet this does not excuse ignoring the value of the university as the guardian, champion and disseminator of Enlightenment values. Oxford has to be run in a business-like way, but it is not merely a business producing ivy- wrapped job-seekers. Cardinal Newman's idea of a university is out-dated but it does contain some truths for today. A university should be, as he argued, `an alma mater, knowing her children one by one', and teaching them is clearly, as he also asserted, a moral vocation.
At the very least, we should take the fight on these questions to the enemy. Drowned in an alphabet soup of acronymed initiatives, regularly torpedoed by philistinism and envy, there is a tendency to seek survival by stealth, moving under cover of dark from one safe house to another. Yet each fresh assault pushes back the front-line. Universities should lead arguments, not just respond to them, especially when the arguments are about their own future.
The paradox for any university—more perhaps for us than for others—is how to balance our role as custodians of tradition with our task as the drivers of change. We need to know what to hold on to and what to alter, because if we don't lead change ourselves, events or outsiders will forcefully impose their own changes upon us. So how will this great collegiate University retain the sense of community implicit in the college system while arming itself to compete with the finest campuses of the United States? How can we raise the money? How do we balance teaching and research? How de we remain a magnet for the best of the nation's and the world's young? How do we match America's educational weapons of mass attraction?
There are many reasons for my delight today, not least returning to what Gerard Manley Hopkins called this `towery city ... Cuckoo-echoing, bell- swarmed, lark-charmed, rook-racked, river-rounded'. My greatest pleasure and pride comes with the knowledge that the next years, Deo volente, give me the chance of working with you in trying to answer the questions and rise to the challenges to which I have referred.
Light, liberty and learning have for centuries illuminated these grand and graceful architectural wonders. How could I not feel honoured on such an occasion which cements me to Oxford, to its past and to its future?
And what of the days and years ahead? What should Oxford University aim to be and to do? As yesterday so tomorrow, our task is to shape and create the future. It is as simple and audacious as that. Confident of our values, of our traditions and of our vocation, I am sure we will succeed.
CONGREGATION 25 JUNE
1 Conferment of Honorary Degrees
THE PUBLIC ORATOR made the following speeches in presenting the recipients of Honorary Degrees at the Encaenia held in the Sheldonian Theatre on Wednesday, 25 June.
Doctor of Civil Law
BARONESS O'NEILL OF BENGARVE, CBE, FBA
Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge
Haec quam primam produco nostra est, sed nescio utrum idcirco magis se [oikothen oikade] de de regressam sentiat an, qua est sapientia, se totius magis litterarum reipublicae civem esse fateatur, quae saepissime verbis gravissimis de hac quaestione disseruerit, utrum iustitiae, quod summum fere bonum esse confitemur universi, definitio ac vires singularum civitatum finibus terminentur, an contra aeternae sint, nulla temporum locorumve varietate mutentur. philosophiae studiosa est et quidem acutissime argumentatur; sed vehementer errat, si quis hanc sibi fingit in turri quadam eburnea habitantem, fallacias meditantem captiosas quibus inretentur incauti. immo duas res tractat utramque controversam, coniunctas autem spinosissimas, quae vel maximi momenti sunt omnibus qui aut privatim bene volunt vivere aut civitatem incolere bene constitutam. in illo philosophiae genere parum nos confecisse censet si sub platano sedentes verba facimus vel ornatissima, nisi hominibus rem agentibus bene vivendi rationem praecipimus. cui consentaneum est quod haec aliquoties homines nimis multa de iure suo fabulari queritur deque eis quae patiantur, contra desiderari officiorum mentionem quae quisque ceteris debeat: quippe iura atque officia coniungi inter se vinculo mutuo. credunt quidam generalia tantum praecepta satis per se valere ut secundum rationem vivant homines; haec diversarum regionum mores sacra linguas haud minus observandas esse proclamat, sed ita ut generalia ista et intellegantur et suspiciantur. cum autem fiat ut duo praecepta inter se confligant, meliorem ducem haud inveneritis qui enodet. de arbitrio libero deque vi adhibita et plurima et saluberrima praecepit. quantum medicis contulerit in arte sua meditantibus ius et iniuriam, vix verbo indicare possum. quid si hoc addam, hanc abstrusam fidei naturam praelectionibus exposuisse luculentissimis?
Praesento boni malique disceptatricem acutissimam, bene vivendi praeceptricem eloquentissimam, philosophiae magistram sapientissimam, feminam praehonorabilem Onoram Baronissam de Bengarve, Excellentissimi Ordinis Imperi Britannici Commendatricem, Academiae Britannicae Sodalem, Academiae Scientarium Medicarum Sociam, Collegiorum de Somerville et de Nuffield Sociam honoris causa creatam, Collegi de Newnham apud Cantabrigienses Principalem, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Iure Civili.
Admission by the Chancellor
Femina ornatissima, quae ita de officiis deque bene vivendi ratione philosopharis ut suspiciant philosophi, oboediant tirones, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Iure Civili honoris causa.
We in Oxford can claim our first honorand as one of us; but she may perhaps feel more completely at home, in that she wisely regards herself as a citizen of the international community of letters. She has in fact argued most cogently on the great question of justice in international affairs. Is justice, universally acknowledged to be the supreme good, to be defined in terms of the legal systems of the different nation states, stopping short at their frontiers, or is it on the contrary cosmopolitan rather than civic, regardless of changes of time and place? Baroness O'Neill is a philosopher and powerful in argument, but it would be quite wrong to think of her as living in an academic ivory tower and occupied in excogitating logical puzzles to trap the unwary. She has been concerned with two questions, each separately controversial and in combination presenting great complexities, which are of central importance for everyone who wants either to live a good life on the individual level or to be a citizen of a well constituted society: rights and duties, and the relativity of justice. In that context it is in her view not enough to formulate theoretical models, however admirable, without showing people how to live well in a real society. Consistently with this approach she complains that people tend to talk too much about their rights and grievances, not enough about their duties and mutual responsibilities. In fact, rights and duties go inseparably together. There are those who maintain that general rules can suffice by themselves to ensure rational behaviour; Baroness O'Neill insists that the diversity of local institutions and practices is also to be respected, on condition that it does not conflict with the comprehension and observance of universal principles. When two principles come into conflict, she is an excellent guide to disentangling the problems. She has written powerfully and to most beneficent effect on questions of free will and coercion; she has made a weighty contribution to the discussions of medical responsibility and compensation. In addition, she has given lectures on Trust which were models of cogency.
I present Onora, Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, CBE, FBA, F.Med.Sci., Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, and Honorary Fellow of Somerville and of Nuffield, outstanding in ethical argument, an eloquent exponent of practical morality, and a powerful teacher of philosophy, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law.
Admission by the Chancellor
You are a rare phenomenon, an example of a moral philosopher whose teaching is respected by professionals and also effective among lay hearers. Acting on my own authority and on that of the University as a whole, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law.
Doctor of Letters
PROFESSOR MARY DOUGLAS, CBE, FBA
Emeritus Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Northwestern University
Hoc vel praecipue hominibus studendum meditandum intelligendum esse, ipsorum hominum naturam, declaravit olim poeta eximius Alexander Pontifex; quem multis iam saeculis praeiverat Apollo ille Delphicus, cum ex adyto notissimum istud Nosce teipsum nuntiavisset. sed huiusmodi quaestionem proponere alterum est, longe alterum ita singulatim elaborare ut in exquirendo rationem sequi certam definitamque videamur. cum autem nemo certe humanus tam aversus sit ab omni scientiae desiderio ut hoc quaestionum genere non vehementer delectetur, tum hanc quam produco, quae indolem nostram tam egregie inlustrarit, in hoc hominum humanissimorum coetu acceptissimam fore certo scio. quid si hoc addam, hanc diu inter nos studiis incubuisse, baccalauream magistram doctorem evasisse? quibus gradibus hodie Doctoratu honoris causa accepto fastigium dignissimum imponet. si ex tot tamque luculentis scriptis quae haec et conscripsit et conscribit unum eligere cogar, tum, credo, de aureo illo volumine verba faciam quod de munditia deque periculo aliquot iam annos abhinc conscripsit, acumine enim summo, doctrina maxima diversos complurium gentium mores anxietates superstitiones ita depingit ut lectores non tantum externas mentes verum etiam suas melius intelligant. neque a voluptatibus explicandis abhorret, quae eas res vestigarit quas aut colligimus avari aut consumimus edaces; quin etiam libellum conscripsit et quidem periucundum de vino certa ratione, iusto ordine bibendo. nec cibum neglexit: verum enim est tritissimum illud adagium quo pueri dicunt, Es quod es; haec autem sensum invenit altiorem. naturam scrutata humanam, divinam non neglexit, quae Scripturas sacrosanctas manu perspicacissima tractarit quaeque interdicta illa a Moyse propheta Hebraeis suis magis edicta quam explicata mirum in modum compararit enodarit. Praesento veritatis adseclam indefessam Mariam Douglas, Excellentissimi Ordinis Imperi Britannici Commendatricem, Academiae Britannicae Sodalem, Collegi Beatae Annae Sociam honoris causa creatam, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris.
Admission by the Chancellor
Pectorum scrutatrix oculatissima, morum observatrix acutissima, ipsius indolis humanae explicatrix eloquentissima, quae mores alienos ita explicuisti ut nostros inluminaveris, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris honoris causa.
The poet Alexander Pope declared long ago that `The proper study of mankind is Man'. The Delphic oracle of Apollo had made a similar announcement many centuries before, enunciating from his shrine the famous command to Know Yourself. That is, of course, much easier said than done. It is one thing to make the demand, a very different one to attempt to meet it in detail and in a scientific and systematic way. The desire for insight into such questions is surely universal: there can be no human being so averse from the desire for knowledge as to take no interest in such problems. Professor Mary Douglas, our next honorand, has done so much to cast light on human nature that in an educated gathering like this she is sure of a warm welcome; all the more, when it is remembered that for years she worked here among us, earning in turn the Oxford degrees of BA, MA, and D.Phil. Today she will add the crowning touch by receiving an honorary Doctorate. She has written many distinguished books, an d she continues to write them. If I were obliged to select one, I fancy I should choose to talk about that golden volume Purity and Danger (1966), in which she discusses with great learning and keen understanding the customs, superstitions, and anxieties of many peoples, not excluding our own: it gives the reader some sharp insights into minds both alien and close to home. She is no stranger to pleasure, witness her illuminating discussions of the anthropology of consumption. Indeed, she has recently written an attractive book on the rituals involved in the consumption of wine, entitled Constructive Drinking. Nor has she disregarded food, respecting the ancient adage that `You are what you eat'; she finds a more profound sense to that old jingle. Her studies of human nature have not neglected the divine. She has achieved remarkably illuminating results in the comparative study and elucidation of the system of rules which Moses laid down but did not do much to explain.
I present an indefatigable searcher for truth, Professor Mary Douglas, CBE, FBA, Honorary Fellow of St Anne's, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
Admission by the Chancellor
You are a keen eyed student of the heart, an acute observer of custom, and most eloquent in explaining human nature. Acting on my own authority and on that of the University as a whole, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
Doctor of Science
PROFESSOR DAME JULIA HIGGINS, DBE, FRS, F.R.ENG.
Professor of Polymer Science and Director of the Graduate School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Haec quam produco cum ipsa scientiae nostrae plurimum contulerit, nam vel in praestantissimis horum temporum investigatoribus hanc iure numeramus, tum ceteris mulieribus exemplo est luculento, Societas enim illa Regia, quam honoris causa nomino, hanc magistratu ornavit sexus sui post tot saecula secundam, tum denique inter illos locum obtinet eminentem qui scientiarum progressum provehunt, pecunias dispertiunt, ceterorum studia scrutantur atque aestimant. Oxoniae amicissima est, quae huic academiae in qua ipsa adulescens nutrita est saepenumero consilio et auctoritate subvenerit, quaeque totiens adfuerit cum conlegae essent promovendi adsciscendi amovendi. minime enim umbratili vitae otioque desidioso adscripta gravissimum quodque munerum publicorum onus non invita suscepit. complures alias academias gustavit, Londini autem consedit, hominibus physicis praesidet qui id genus quaestiones tractant quod in polymeris quae dicuntur constat; quae, si quis in tam docto consessu forte ignorat, cum in rerum natura obviae fiant, capillis enim istam structuram inesse cognoverunt homines curiosi, tum maximi momenti est quod res plurimae artificio tandem atque ope humana creatae ductilitate ac varietate insignes oriuntur, sine quibus hae hodiernae hominum societates stare non possent. quid enim? sunt qui insitivo auxilio [eidoloplotoi] freti caecitate ac tenebris liberantur; non desunt quae tibialia induunt pedibus habilia, Sericis pretiosiora; ita universi cotidie ea materiarum genera requirimus quae propter ductilitatem Proteo mutabiliora se praestant. quorum ad minimas moleculas penetrant ii quorum haec dux est et signifera, qui quidem non solum rerum arcanarum cognitionem adsequuntur verum etiam ita usui vitaeque nostrae plurimum conferunt ut etiam homines a cogitationibus abstrusioribus alieni, qui in foro et in officinis versantur, huius opem cotidie invocent.
Feminam produco quae ipsa tritam istam [proxeos] et [theorias] repugnantiam refellit, in exquirendo insignem, in negotiis efficacem, Iuliam Higgins, Excellentissimi Ordinis Imperi Britannici Dominam Commendatricem, Societatis Regiae Sodalem, Collegi de Somerville Sociam honoris causa creatam, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia.
Admission by the Chancellor
Musarum severiorum adsecla insignissima, Minervae administra praeclarissima, quae cum scientiae fines ipsa latissime promoveris, tum ceteris viam munivisti, opes distribuisti, rationes aestimavisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia honoris causa.
Our next honorand has herself made important contributions to our knowledge—she is indeed rightly reckoned among our most eminent contemporary scientists—and in addition she is something of a model for women working in the sciences. The Royal Society, a body to be mentioned with respect, has elected her as an Officer, only the second woman since its foundation in the seventeenth century; and she occupies a significant position among those who advance the progress of research, advise on financial support, and inspect and review the work done by others in the field. She is a good friend of Oxford, the University in which she studied in youth, and she has often given us valuable advice and support, in such matters as the recruitment, the promotion, and the replacement of staff. Hers has not been a sheltered and unworldly existence: she has been prepared to shoulder the burdens of academic administration. She had experience of a number of other Universities before settling in London, where s he heads a team of researchers working on the properties of polymer materials. If there is anyone in this learned company who is ignorant of them, they do occur in nature, and scientists have discovered that hair, for instance, exhibits structures of that kind; but of higher importance is the fact that they characterise a wide range of man-made substances which are notable for their malleability and adaptability, substances which have become essential to the working of modern society. They are vital to the lenses which are implanted to avert blindness; they are present in nylon stockings, those leg-coverings more precious than silk. Such adaptable substances, of which those are two examples, capable of more transformations than the Proteus of mythology, are needed by every one of us. The team led and inspired by Dame Julia penetrates to the molecular structure of such materials, and in doing so both sheds light on the hidden nature of things and also brings such great benefits for our daily life that business men, busy in trade and commerce and on the whole strangers to such abstruse researches, regularly call on her for practical help.
I present a scientist whose career is a refutation of the trite distinction between pure research and practical use, who is no less effective in action than she is outstanding in research: Dame Julia Higgins, DBE, FRS, Honorary Fellow of Somerville, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
Admission by the Chancellor
You are a most distinguished follower of the austere Muses who preside over research, an outstanding agent of the goddess of learning: you have yourself advanced the frontiers of our knowledge, and you have helped others by showing the way, distributing resources, and assessing their work. Acting on my own authority and on that of the University as a whole, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
SIR PAUL NURSE, FRS
Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK, and President-elect of Rockefeller University, New York
Cum nonnulla sint hominum genera quae cum veneratione aliqua observamus, tum nescio an illos praecipuo honore suspiciamus qui et morbis medentur et valetudinem protegunt: qui, si non omnino mortem ipsam arcere a mortalibus possunt, tamen homines miseros quibus mors ut videbatur certa impendebat vivos sanatosque dimittunt. littera est inominata, quae apud Romanos verbum horridum Condemno significabat, apud recentiores morbum omnium fortasse formidulosissimum, cuius nomen proprium religione quadam consaeptum eloqui nolumus, quem plurimi ubique homines doctrina insignes curare avertere intellegere conantur, hoc autem quem produco insigniorem neminem nominaritis, qui cellulas illas vitales quibus constat corpus humanum multos iam annos patientia indefessa, acumine ingeniosissimo scrutatus, paulatim perspicit qua ratione quibusque causis impulsae in deterius mutentur, a directa via sinistrorsum aberrare videantur, virus absorbeant quo infecti homines morbo miseria morte mactentur. in re im plicatissima, nam cancer iste Proteus alter est, mobilis varius multiformis, hic ipse tantum profecit, cum primum in fermentis, tum postea in compage humana, ut dies me deficiat si coner enumerare quot praemiis, quot melioris notae honoribus sit oneratus; discipulos autem et conlegas vir tam alios instituendo quam ipse studendo praeclarus educat plurimos, conlegio nobilissimo quod nuper fere duplicatum est summa cum laude praesidet. medicorum igitur hic plurimorum labores dirigit, neque alia munera neglegit omnium Musarum homo, qui civibus suis ita medicinae arcana exponit ut ipse fere universis innotuerit, auribus enim intentis hunc auscultantur etiam homines indocti. auctoritatem magnam iure obtinet quoties de ratione disseritur qua scientiarum progressum ad rei publicae civiumque utilitatem accommodare possimus, sive in Societatis Regiae subselliis [esoterikoteron] loquuntur peritiores sive in foro magis et comitiis homines indocti sed non incuriosi.
Praesento virum de totius orbis valetudine optime meritum, Cancri oppugnatorem praeclarissimum, Paulum Nurse, Equitem Auratum, Societatis Regiae Sodalem, Praemio Nobeliano nobilitatum, Collegi de Linacre Socium honoris causa creatum, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia.
Admission by the Chancellor
Morborum explorator ingeniosissime, Aesculapi minister insignissime, qui tuis egregiis laboribus tam bonam spem aegrotantibus obtulisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia honoris causa.
Of all the professions which we regard with a certain veneration, there is perhaps none for which we feel more respect than that which protects health and combats disease. While doctors cannot completely deliver us mortals from death, yet they often do rescue those who seem marked to die and restore them to life and health. The letter c had as dark a colour among the Romans, for whom it was an abbreviation for Condemno (`guilty'), as it does among us, for whom it stands for the most dreaded of all diseases, the very name of which people often, by a sort of superstition, try to avoid uttering. Everywhere highly qualified medical staff are at work in the search for cures for cancer; not one could be mentioned who has made a more important contribution than Sir Paul Nurse. For many years he has been observing, with inexhaustible patience and the most penetrating attention, the cells of which our bodies are composed, and he has gained an insight into the causes and the course of their divagation into the disease and their absorption of the virus which dooms people to suffering and death. The subject matter is extremely complex; cancers are Protean in their transformations, constantly taking on new forms; but Sir Paul, by a close study, first in yeasts, then in the substance of the human body, has made such fine progress that it would be a very long task to recite the many prizes and honours which he has been awarded. He is no less eminent as a teacher than as a pure researcher, and he has trained a great number of pupils and colleagues. He is Chief Executive of the institution which has recently doubled in size, Cancer Research UK, where he presides over a great body of researchers; but he is highly versatile, and he does not disregard other aspects of the matter. He has become famous as a successful and popular lecturer on the secrets of medical science, his lectures being followed no less keenly by the interested layman than by the professional. He speaks with high authority on the progress of science and the problems of making it work for the good of the community, whether it is a matter of specialised lectures for the elite of the Royal Society or of addressing the wider public which takes an intelligent interest in such questions.
I present Sir Paul Nurse, FRS, Nobel Prizeman, Honorary Fellow of Linacre, a doughty champion in the fight against cancer, a man who has done great service for the health of the whole world, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
Admission by the Chancellor
You are a most inventive researcher into the nature of disease, an outstanding agent of Aesculapius, the god of health; your distinguished work has offered fresh hope to the sick. Acting on my own authority and on that of the University as a whole, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
PROFESSOR JEAN-PIERRE SERRE
Honorary Professor at the Collège de France
Deum ipsum semper in re geometrica versari a Platone philosophorum omnium praeclarissimo discimus, qui super Academiae suae fores inscribendum curavit [Medeis ageometretos eisito], Nemo intrare audeat nisi qui geometriae vacavit: quo interdicto cum nonnulli nostrum ne excludantur iure vereantur, tum optimo iure, Platone autem ipso plaudente, hunc quem produco fas est introduci, qui tam diu ex cathedra celeberrima geometriae studiosos erudit. quinquaginta iam fere anni sunt ex quo hic vixdum e pueris egressus praemio est ornatus amplissimo, cum et formarum indolem qualem tractant geometrae et numerorum ipsorum indolem, quos aliquo modo abstrusa totius mundi natura subesse sentimus, tamquam digitos suos cognorit amplectatur ceteris explicet. arti mathematicae plurimi post Pythagoram se dediderunt; plurimi pertransierunt et scientia multiplicata est; quorum argutissimus quisque cum multa observarit plura tamen posterioribus reliquit excogitanda. fingite, quaeso, animis superficiem anularem quandam nesciocuius materiae ita detorqueri ut nunc calicis, nunc placentae formam cepisse videatur: quid demum erit quod post metamorphoses illis Ovidianis magis admirandas immutatum maneat atque integrum? huius labores istas quaestiones multo tractabiliores reddiderunt; sed vir acutissimus in eo quoque excellit quo homines mathematici figurarum proprietates ea subtilitate definiunt quam flagitant homines algebraistae, et quidem in re algebraica quae vocatur se omnium principem praestitit. huius praecipue operae acceptum referimus quod his temporibus geometriae aurea quaedam aetas illuxit; numerorum autem rationes sic fere describit ut nemo alius, et quidem olim, nomine suo dissimulato, simul cum conlegis, Nicolae Bourbaki, si dis placet, persona adsumpta, de ipsis rei mathematicae fundamentis verba fecerit luculenta quae obscuritatem dissiparunt, intromiserunt Lucretiana ista lucida tela diei. in re algebraica, provincia scilicet mathematicae artis abstrusissima, praecipue insignis est. auctoritatem iure consecutus amplissimam, civilitatem egregiam praestat, qui ceteris auxilium opem consilium largiatur.
Praesento mathematicorum principem ingeniosissimum, figurarum aestimatorem perspicacissimum, numerorum ipsorum examinatorem subtilissimum, Iohannem Petrum Serre, praemiis plurimis insignitum, Abeliano omnium primum ornatum, Societatis Regiae Sodalem honoris causa adscitum, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia.
Admission by the Chancellor
Geometrarum insignissime, mathematicorum eminentissime, qui tuis egregiis laboribus ceteris mortalibus tantum luminis attulisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia honoris causa.
Plato, greatest of philosophers, assures us that God is always doing geometry; he actually had inscribed over the entrance to his Academy the words: No entry for the ungeometrised. Many of us, I fear, might be excluded by such a prohibition, but Professor Serre would be admitted with flying colours and with Plato's enthusiastic support. It is some fifty years since he won the Fields Medal, a most prestigious award, at a very tender age. He is a master both of the science of geometrical forms and also of numbers, which we realise in some obscure way underlie the structure of the universe; he knows them like the back of his hand, and he shares that knowledge with panache. Since the days of Pythagoras there have been many devoted mathematicians; in the words of Daniel, very many have passed through, and knowledge has been multiplied. Even the greatest of them has still left many problems to be tackled by his successors. Imagine the surface of an object in the shape of a ring; then imagine it distorted in such a way that it resembles a cup, or a doughnut. After such changes of form, more startling than the Metamorphoses of Ovid, what is there that remains the same? The work of Professor Serre has provided profound answers to such questions. His intellectual energy has been fruitfully turned to translating geometrical figures into algebraic rigour, and Professor Serre is an algebraist of exceptional power. This has also brought in a golden age of geometry. As for the properties of numbers, he has shown unique insight into them, ever since he was one of the group of researchers who concealed their identity under the collective name of Nicolas Bourbaki. He is the author of most illuminating accounts of the fundamental concepts of mathematics, which have done much to dispel the darkness of ignorance with what the poet Lucretius calls `the brilliant shafts of day'. Above all, perhaps, he excels in algebra, the most abstract areas of mathematics. He has rightly attained very great influence in the subject, but he remains eminently approachable, and he is generous in advice to younger colleagues.
I present Professor Jean-Pierre Serre, FRS, a brilliant leader among mathematicians, an eagle-eyed investigator of geometrical figures, a most penetrating critic of numbers; the recipient of many honours and first winner of the Abel Prize, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
Admission by the Chancellor
Outstanding among algebraists, most eminent of mathematicians, your distinguished work has brought to the rest of us a flood of illumination. Acting on my own authority and on that of the University as a whole, I admit you to the degree of honorary Doctor of Science.
Doctor of Music
Sr. PLACIDO DOMINGO, KBE, FRCM
Opera singer, conductor, and administrator
Prodit vir qui inter saeculi nostri cantores tenorem tenerrimum sed eundem fortissimum praestat. quem dum produco subvereor equidem ne ineptus videar qui virum depingo nemini ignotum: quis enim fingi potest tam aversus a Musis, quis tam barbarus, quis denique tam ab omni societate humanitatis alienus, ut non huius exquisitissima voce saepe delectatus nunc ipsum praecipua quadam delectationis expectatione commotus contempletur? sed auditorum spem frustratur aliquando hic, quem tacitum astantem describit Orator. in Hispania natus, inter Mexicanos eruditus, ubique acceptus, nullam fere orbis terrarum regionem non peregravit, nullam non oblectavit. infelices illi quibus numquam contigit ut ipsum auscultentur nihilominus machinis freti discere possunt qualem artificem hodie salutemus. et quidem non solum illi qui musicam artem diligunt, verum etiam si quis vult diligere videri, trium cantatorum concentu celeberrimo cupidissime capiebatur. longum esset, si huius opera recensere temptarem; op erarius enim est valde operosus; nescio an nemo alius tot partes egerit, rem enim habemus cum cantore qui, cum primum tragicas illas aerumnas quibus cruciantur Cavarodossi Otello Calaf ita cantarit ut auditores lacrimas suas reprimere non possent, nam flebiles modos hic habet in potestate, eo haud contentus quod ipsum cum difficillimum sit adipisci tum vel maximas vires obtinere videatur, ad alios Pieridum lucos progressus provincias novas devicit. Italus germanus visus erat; ecce subito Germanus fit verus, dum Ricardi illius heroas ad vivum vel etiam supra repraesentat. quid si hoc addam, huic haud minus comicas quam tragicas partes convenire? quid, si voci tam admirabili accedere virgam imperatoriam qua hominum musicorum concentum sollertissime dirigat? quid, si enumerem quot discipulos formaverit in arte cantandi? nam quot homines ignaros hic primum ad musicam severiorem produxerit enumerare nullo modo possum. duas tantum res addo: hunc pecuniam ingentem collegisse qua subveniantur i nopum miseriae; Britannis autem civitatique nostrae semper se praestitisse amicissimum.
Praesento cantatorem incomparabilem, Musarum famulum varium subtilem facundum, qui aures mentesque nostras tam egregiis sonis ditavit, Placidum Domingo, Excellentissimi Ordinis Imperi Britannici Equitem Commendatorem, Collegi Regii Musicae deditae Sodalem, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Musica.
Admission by the Chancellor
Auditorum deliciae, musicorum columen, temporum nostrorum Orpheu, qui tua exquisitissima arte nobis tantum delectationis dedisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Musica honoris causa.
There now advances a man, the tenor of whose song is by turns most heroic and most tender. He is so very well known that I fear that it may look absurd for me to introduce him: can anyone be imagined so uncultured, so farouche, so utterly at the opposite pole from everything artistic, that he has not in his time been enraptured by Señor Domingo's voice, and that he is not now gazing at him in keen expectation of pleasure? But alas, for once the hopes of an audience will be disappointed, and the singer stands in silence, to be presented by an Orator. Born in Spain, educated in Mexico, he is welcomed everywhere. There are few parts of the world which he has not travelled, and which he has not delighted. Those unfortunates who have never had the experience of hearing him in person can still see from discs what a great artist it is whom we are honouring today. Indeed, not only those who love music, but even those who want to pass for music-lovers, revelled in the concerts of the Three Tenors. To list all his operatic roles would be a long job; his career has been an industrious one, and perhaps no singer has mastered more roles. At first he was chiefly famous for the leading parts in tragic operas like Tosca, Otello, and Turandot, in which his performances left audiences in tears: Señor Domingo is a master of such pathos; but that—difficult as it is, and great as its power is over an audience—was not enough for him, and he went on to conquer other musical areas. Perfect in Italian roles, he now appeared equally at home in German, presenting Wagner's heroes in their full superhuman stature. We can add that he is no less a master in comic roles. To that we can add his expertise with the conductor's baton, handling an orchestra with supreme success. Then there is his activity as a teacher, with many successful pupils. As for the number of people whom he has introduced to classical music, they are beyond calculation. I have only two things to add. One is that he has collected very great sums of money for charitable causes. The other is that he has always shown himself a friend of Great Britain.
I present Placido Domingo, KBE, FRCM, an incomparable singer, an artist versatile, subtle, and powerful, who has enriched our ears with glorious sounds, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Music.
Admission by the Chancellor
You are the darling of audiences, a champion of music, the Orpheus of the age. Acting on my own authority and on that of the University as a whole, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Music.
THE PUBLIC ORATOR delivered the following introduction to the Creweian Oration:
This has been a year of losses. First place must go to the death of the Chancellor, Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, known to us all as Roy. It would be out of place to speak again either about his career, which was one of very great distinction, or about his service to the University. We have all read the eloquent tributes to him from the pens of the Vice-Chancellor and of Sir Anthony Kenny. I add only that, from the special view point of the Orator, to work with him was a pleasure, and his death is a personal sadness, as well as a great loss to Oxford. We must also record our regret at the death of Lord Wilberforce, some time High Steward of the University, and a sage and genial presence in our counsels.
On a happier note, we come to the election of our new Chancellor. Balliol College found itself again in the classically awkward position of having among its members two leading candidates. The college felt as a loving mother feels when two daughters, both beautiful, are competing for the crown of Beauty Queen. After a keen and clean contest, marked by the production by all the candidates of interesting policy statements, we welcome your election, Sir, in the confident expectation that you will be as devoted to our interests, and as successful in furthering them, as your predecessors.
Now for the parish magazine side of things. In March a lively debate was held, once in a way, at Congregation, on the vexed question of top-up fees. The result was, I think, that we shall charge such fees, on a modest scale; but dissent is by no means over.
Our fine New University Statutes came into effect on 1 October. No mere patching job, like the Laudian Statutes of the 1630s or the Franks Report of the 1960s, the scheme has completely rewritten and reshaped the rules. It is a work which involved, in the words of the Vice- Chancellor, `enormous clarification and reorganisation'. In my own case, the depth, or the shallowness, of my grasp of these matters was shown when I read the magisterial sketch of the history of our constitution which opened the report in the Gazette, looked for the name of its learned author, and found only the initials DW, and the address `Oxford'. The simplicity of that was sublime. Was it arrogance? Was it humility? Was it, perhaps, both? Who could DW of Oxford be? Did everyone know but me? What are called informal soundings revealed that many Fellow readers (in every sense) of the Gazette were equally nonplussed; so I am happy to say that the man to whom we owe a great debt—for the new Decrees and Regulations will be more logical, better arranged, and more intelligible than the old—was Mr Derek Wood, the retiring Principal of St Hugh's. Obvious, really, when you come to think of it. His collaborators were the Master of St Cross and Professor Mark Freedland. Thanks to them all.
Equally unsurprising is it to the cognoscenti that their indefatigable right-hand man was Mr David Hall, of the University Offices. I welcome this opportunity to express, along with our general thanks, my own gratitude to Mr Hall for eleven years of unobtrusive but reliable and precious assistance in composing these Orations. He has the rare gift of being able to raise his eyebrows over the telephone; and I soon learned that when he did it, an Orator was well advised to stop and think again. He retires this summer, and we wish him well.
Another publication to curl up with was that of the General Regulations of Council for Committees, sixteen pages of the Gazette; but I shan't spoil it. Some things are too good to be hurried over. In the ever compulsively readable Gazette I note also reference, in some lapidary phrases, to `student members (then called Junior Members...)'. Yes, Sir, in those dear days not quite beyond recall they were indeed Junior Members, with capital J and capital M; but now they are student members, lower case. The change is not easy to interpret. Does it represent increasing democracy, one wonders, or (on the contrary) increasing hierarchy? Are they more equal with us, or less equal, than they used to be? I observe with interest, not wholly untinged with irony, that the Proctors, in the same sentences, keep a grip of steel on their own traditional capital P. Not that I grudge it to them; and my irony (I protest) is of the most respectful kind.
Weighty material has appeared in the Gazette among the Council Regulations. As the hero of The Importance of Being Earnest says of the Army List, `Those invaluable volumes should have been my constant study'. Thus, on the ever tantalising topic of Academic precedence and standing, we read: `If the degree of Master of Biochemistry or Chemistry or Earth Sciences or Mathematics or Physics is held together with a higher degree, the holder will, with effect from the twenty-first term from matriculation, rank in precedence equally with a person who holds the same higher degree together with the degree of Master of Arts'. I think you will agree, Sir, that it's good to have that cleared up.
There is pathos, surely, in the fact that the University is still trying to ease its financial problems by the simple device of getting more of us off the payroll. The Oxford Mobility Scheme, as it is rather euphemistically called—it mobilises people out but not in, rather like a hob-nailed boot—has been reintroduced; this time round, we can apply for Premature Retirement at the age, not of 55, but of 50. As the average age at appointment to Fellowships is now said to be 35, it will clearly not take many more rounds before Oxford academics can start to leave as soon as they are appointed; rather as, I suppose, regulation 5 is annulled immediately by regulation 6. And then, of course, many of our financial difficulties will be solved; though one can't entirely avoid a suspicion that difficulties of other kinds may pop up to replace them.
Special pleasure greeted the publication of the new Regulations made by Council on 5 December for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. Lovers of classic English prose will want to hear again at least one sentence from it; it should be rolled round the tongue like vintage port: `The Regulations for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, including the Museum of the History of Science, shall be constituted by the provisions of Section XLV of Chapter III of the University's Decrees as they stood at 30 September 2002, as amended by Decree (1) of 22 June 2001 and Decree (1) of 25 October 2001 (Gazette, Vol. 131, p. 1174; Vol. 132, p. 248)'. Oh Openness! Ah Transparency!
Nor can many eyes, surely, have glazed while reading the new Regulations, thirty-two large and close packed pages of them (Gazette, 24 July 2002), on Discipline, Complaints, Appeals, the Court of Summary Jurisdiction, the Disciplinary Court, Appeals to the Appeal Court, Proceedings referred to the Visitatorial Board, the Medical Board, and the Grievance Committee. It is part of these reforms that the Proctors' summary jurisdiction passes into history, replaced by the more bureaucratically elaborate and formal procedures which we all feel to be somehow appropriate to the self- consciously informal and unstuffy age in which, most of the time, we like to pretend that we live.
With that summary jurisdiction we have also lost the prompt succour of the Bulldogs, their active arm. It is sad to find that in consequence, for instance, colleges near the Examination Schools are complaining that as each cohort of examinees finishes Finals, litter and mayhem are now uncontrolled. The regular police, it appears, do not care to intervene, and our own discipline is inadequate to cope with the throwing of cheap fizz and the squirting of plastic foam, things which our young people imagine to have a long and glamorous history—surely Duns Scotus and Roger Bacon were squirted with goo when they left the Schools?—but which in reality made their ignoble appearance here only ten or fifteen years ago.
I turn to financial matters. We still shiver in the glacial atmosphere which afflicts all the nation's institutions of higher education. It was nice that the HEFCE funding settlement for next year showed an increase of 8.8 per cent in cash terms, but it was much less agreeable that the core funds allotted to teaching were reduced by 5.4 per cent. The Vice-Chancellor has eloquently expressed the concern which we must all feel about this unkind cut. We are passing through difficult financial times; and somehow the ever growing eagerness of the State to interfere in our activities, and to second guess our procedures, is not accompanied by an equal willingness to foot the bills.
We are sharply aware that in the UK academic incomes are, by international standards, falling, and staff–student ratios are worsening. In my own faculty, for instance, three holders of established posts are leaving this year for positions at universities abroad. Oxford has produced a cogent statement of that vital point in its response to the Government's so- called consultation document, `Widening participation in higher education'. It would be a comfort if we had some indication that those in power will take any notice. It is no use to be concerned exclusively with widening access to a university system which is itself in chronic decline and perishing of anaemia.
All the more important, then, is the continuing generosity of our benefactors. The Bodleian's capital campaign, aiming to raise £40,000,000, was launched in New York with a gala dinner. It is pleasant to record that more than a quarter of the sum named has already been raised; the Library expresses special thanks to Mr Doug Smith, Sir Howard Stringer, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has generously supported the Bodleian Offsite Library Scheme. The Library has been able to acquire important manuscripts and other materials, thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of the Bodleian, the National Art Collections Fund, Saudi Aramco, and a major gift from the University Press. Acquisitions include the papers of Baroness Castle of Blackburn (the late Barbara Castle); an illustrated manuscript from the twelfth century, suggestively called `The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes'; and no less than 550 letters from H.H. Asquith, as Prime Minister in the First World War, to the bewitching Venetia Stanley. There are apparently some curiosities, and even some marvels, in them, too.
The Tubney Charitable Trust has made a munificent benefaction to Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, for conservation research. Pleasingly related is the establishment of the Luc Hoffmann Chair of Field Ornithology, endowed by F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, by Mr Andre S. Hoffmann, Ms Maja Hoffmann, and Ms Vera Michalski. The holder will of course not be able to give the classic snub of the academic who is asked in what field he works: `I dinna work in a field'. The Dunhill Medical Trust has generously funded a Herbert Dunhill Chair of Neuro-Imaging, to be held by Dr Peter Jezzard. The future of the Chair of Comparative Philology has been secured, thanks to a generous gift from Professor A. Richard Diebold, Jr. The Wolfson Foundation has contributed handsomely to the Information Engineering Building.
The Saïd Business School has received important benefactions: from Messrs Clifford Chance, for the Clifford Chance Bursaries, for the Centre for Management Professional Service Firms, and for other purposes; while the Clore Duffield Foundation has generously financed the Sir Charles Clore Courtyard. A life-size ox in bronze has been placed outside the Business School. It is hoped, not very confidently, that it will symbolise many years of bull markets.
We record our gratitude also to the Ministry of Culture of the Hellenic Republic for generous support of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents; to the P.F. Charitable Trust, for support of the Oxford Centre for Gene Function and also of the Ashmolean; to the Garfield Weston Foundation, for the Cardiovascular Clinical Facility; and to the Sutton Trust, for benefactions to the University Summer School for Students and other purposes connected with access.
A research team led by Professor Andrew Briggs of Nanomaterials has received a substantial grant in the second round of the Basic Technology Programme. Queen Elizabeth House has won a grant of £2,500,000 from the Department for International Development, to establish a Development Research Centre on Inequality, Ethnicity, and Human Security.
In the Ashmolean Museum, the Acceptance in Lieu scheme has brought to the Department of Western Art the Capel Basket, an important piece of English silver made in 1686, a sketch by Van Dyck, and a collection of material by members of the Pissarro family. Benefactions to the Department of Eastern Art included $250,000 from an anonymous donor for the purchase of Japanese works of art. The Heberden Coin Room has received important benefactions from the Carl and Eileen Subak Family Foundation. The Department of Antiquities has received from Rachel and Sinclair Hood a collection of archive material, including cartoons of archaeologists who worked in Crete in the 1920s and 1930s. And the new Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology has been working, among other places, on that most evocative of sites, the palace of Cleopatra VII—the Cleopatra—now under water at Alexandria: the water which never entered the wine when she revelled there with Mark Antony.
We can boast that we are no less trendily modern than we are venerably classical. The Oxford Internet Institute has been launched; it will carry out research into the implications of the Internet for society. A project with the exciting title eDiamond has been set up, to use high-tech means to diagnose cancer of the breast. The University now has an Online Media Guide, to help journalists and others, when they write about us, to get things right. If, that is, they want to. The Alliance for Lifelong Learning (AllLearn) is active, in which Oxford is joined with Yale and Stanford. It is currently offering online a range of suggestive courses, all the way from `Brush up your Shakespeare' to `Islam and the West'.
We are highly interdisciplinary, too. We are to have a new interdisciplinary Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society, and also a new Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Bionanotechnology (nothing to do with bananas). At something of an opposite extreme, we are to have an Institute of Particle Astrophysics, named after its generous donor, Mr Adrian Beecroft, to enquire into the formation of galaxies and the origins of the universe. We are in fact making advances simultaneously in all directions.
These stern disciplines have not drowned our zest for beauty. The Saïd Business School has been named by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust as the best educational building erected in the UK in the last year. Readers of The Oxford Times have voted the garden quad of St John's to be `the best building of the last 75 years'. Keble has opened a new multipurpose Sloane Building, including a fine new theatre. To judge by the name, access is being extended to another hitherto under-represented group of the population. No doubt by pure coincidence, a new Honour School has been set up, to award a BA in the History of Art. There will be a wider range of material considered than in any comparable course in the country. We trust there will be an economics paper, so that the Sloanes can learn about Daddy's money, as well as his Monet (and his Manet).
Three Oxford museums are to benefit from modest injections of cash, under the new national scheme of aid: the Ashmolean, the Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers. The Museum of the History of Science has a new Director. He is Professor W.J. Kennedy, Curator of the Geological Collections, who moves from Wolfson to Kellogg College. The Museum mounted a tantalising exhibition: `a selection from the many discoveries made during the recent building and refurbishment work at the Museum, including ... human and animal bones, and everyday items from the first century of the Ashmolean Museum' (Gazette, 26 September). What exactly did go on, in the Museum's early years? It also has a new permanent display of Mesozoic Monsters, featuring `the Oxfordshire Dinosaurs'; one imagines them as a County family, like the Shropshire Bassington-Bassingtons, only (of course) of rather older date. The Pitt Rivers has held a children's event on the intriguing theme, `Quest for the Pitt Rivers dragons. Do we have dragons in the Museum?' My own childhood memories suggest that to find the answer to this question, all we need to do is to send in a schoolboy eating peanuts, and watch what happens.
An ambitious project to integrate the Oxford libraries has presented an important and generally welcomed report. The Martyrs' Memorial has had a sorely needed facelift, thanks to the Oxford Preservation Trust, and now stands proud and pristine in its place, between the ladies' and the gentlemen's conveniences.
The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments offered a special pre-Christmas session of Music while you Shop. It has fulfilled a long- held dream by acquiring the Beale Trumpet, an historic and much copied instrument by Simon Beale, trumpeter to a former Chancellor of the University, the Protector Oliver Cromwell. Do I see a gleam in your eye, Sir?
There have been comings and goings among University grandees. Mr Andrew Dilnot, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, has succeeded Mr Derek Wood as Principal of St Hugh's; Dr Frances Lannon, Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall, succeeds Sir Brian Fall as Principal; Dr Roger Ainsworth, Professor of Engineering Science and Fellow of St Catherine's, succeeds Sir Peter Williams as Master; Dr Roger Cashmore, Professor of Physics, succeeds Lord Windlesham as Principal of Brasenose; Dr Diana Walford, Director of the Public Health Laboratory Service, succeeds Mr David Marquand as Principal of Mansfield. This October Dr Ernest Nicholson retires as Provost of Oriel, to be succeeded by Sir Derek Morris, Chairman of the Competition Commission. Mr John Flemming retires as Warden of Wadham; his successor is Sir Neil Chalmers, Director of the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. Professor Bernard Silverman succeeds Dr John Barron as Master of St Peter's, and Professor Andrew Goudie becomes Master of St Cross, in succession to Dr Richard Repp. The University, as ever Janus-faced (the Development Office, I believe, prefers that term to `two-faced'), thanks these distinguished colleagues as they leave, and greets their successors as they in their turn sample the sweets, and the bitternesses, of great place: that great place to which, we are told by Francis Bacon, there is no ascent but by a winding stair.
We have welcomed this year the promotion of seventy-seven new titular Professors and forty-eight Readers: they include, rather picturesquely, a Professor of Ancient Biomolecules. At (again) something of an opposite term, we have the world's first Professor of e-democracy, at the Oxford Internet Institute.
In the New Year's Honours List we noted with pleasure the knighthood conferred, for services to industry, on Mr Derek Morris, Provost-elect of Oriel, and the DBE awarded to Professor Louise Johnson, of Corpus Christi and Somerville Colleges, for services to biophysical science. Dr Susan Burge, Fellow of Green College, received an OBE for services to dermatology. In the Birthday Honours List there was a knighthood for Professor Edwin Southern, Whitley Professor of Biochemistry, and CBEs for Professor Hermione Lee, Goldsmith's Professor of English Literature, and for Dr David Patterson, Founder and Emeritus President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and an OBE for Ms Nancy Dargel, for services to the University and to the British community in Switzerland.
Other honours have fallen on us, like the blessed rain from heaven upon the place beneath. I list them in no order of precedence: who could devise one? Sir Richard Peto, Co-Director of the Clinical Trials Service Unit, has been awarded the Charles S. Mott Prize and gold medal by the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation; he has also been awarded a medal by the Royal Society. Sir Walter Bodmer, Principal of Hertford, is to be the Chairman of the Medical and Scientific Panel of the Leukaemia Research Fund. Dr Martin West, Fellow of All Souls, has been awarded by the British Academy the Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies. Professor Andrew Goudie, Head of the School of Geography and Master-elect of St Cross, has been awarded the prize of the Royal Academy of Belgium. Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh, Fellow of Balliol, has been made Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes AcadÄmiques. Professor Colin Blakemore, Wayneflete Professor of Physiology, has been appointed Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, in succession to Sir George Radda.
Eight of us have been elected to the Royal Society: Professors John Brown, Professor of Chemistry; Kay Davies, Dr Lee's Professor of Anatomy; Jeffery Errington, Professor of Microbiology; Keith Gull, of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology; Peter Holland, Linacre Professor of Zoology; Terence Lyons, Professor of Mathematics; Peter Ratcliffe, Professor of Renal Medicine; and Adrian Sutton, Professor of Materials Science. Six of us (out of a total of thirty-five) have been elected to the British Academy: Professor Marilyn Butler, Rector of Exeter; Professor Mark Freedland, Professor of Employment Law; Dr Miles Hewstone, Fellow of New College; Professor Clive Holes, Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World; Professor David Miller, Professor of Political Theory; and Professor Megan Vaughan, Professor of Commonwealth Studies.
Junior Members, to use that rather old-world term, are not left out. This year 300 of our undergraduates benefited from the new University Bursary Scheme. The young have had their triumphs, too. Two young Oxford scientists, Dr Benjamin Davis of Chemistry and Professor Alan Cooper of Zoology, received Philip Leverhulme Prizes for 2002. Two undergraduate journalists received prizes at the twenty-fourth Guardian student media awards: Mr Oliver Mann, of St Catherine's, as student critic of the year, and Mr Nicholas Randall, of Merton, as sports writer of the year. For the second year (out of two) Oxford beat Cambridge in the Varsity Cross-Channel Swim. The wicket in the Parks was declared by the highest cricketing authority to be, after the Oval, the best in England. And an unusually close and exciting Boat Race was won by Oxford by a foot, a margin of something like one in 22,000.
In February a new radio station, run by Oxford students, took to the air: Altered Radio 87.7FM. The Science Writing Competition, held in co- operation with The Oxford Times, had another successful year in 2003, this time on the mouth-watering theme of `Science and Food'. The five-part TV series on St Hilda's, College Girls, gave new insights into that delicious place; let us hope that not too many viewers switched on in the hope that the demure title was a cover for one of those late-nite sex shows which are the glory of Channel Five.
The University has received a fourth Queen's Anniversary Prize: this time for the Refugee Studies Centre. We have been awarded a gold medal by the Charles University, Prague, in recognition of Oxford's support for Czech students in the dark days of 1939. For the fifth year running, the Oxford Department for Educational Studies has been officially placed top for PGCE training in the UK. Research in the Department of Zoology has shed light on the way butterflies fly (by no means simple). Dr Adrian Thomas is quoted as saying, `Three hundred million years of evolution have refined the insect flight system into something elegant and robust' [rather surprisingly, I interject, not vibrant]. `Aerodynamicists and engineers have a lot to learn from studying animal flight'. So when you next see a scientist watching flies, you know he is hard at work.
This year, as every year, there were some eminent lecturers and some exciting lectures. President Fernando Cardoso of Brazil, having received an honorary degree, gave this year's Cyril Foster Lecture, on `Democratic Global Governance'. President Vicente Fox of Mexico gave a lecture on `The Politics of Democratic Change in Mexico' and signed a document inaugurating the Oxford Centre for Mexican Studies. It has been an exceptionally good year for lectures from legal luminaries. Lord Bingham, Senior Law Lord and our very own High Steward, delivered the Romanes Lecture under the title: `Personal freedom and the dilemma of democracies'. Lord Woolf, Lord Chief Justice, gave a lecture on `The impact of the Human Rights Act'. Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General, delivered the Hands Lecture on the question, `An independent legal establishment: democratic necessity or optional extra?'
Nor, amid these legal nightingales, were other Muses silent. You, Sir, delivered the Cyril Foster Lecture on ` "The end of history": the sequel'. Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress, lectured on `Conflict and co-existence in our age', and Professor Lord May on `Sentiment and science in conservation planning'. A Clarendon Lecture in Management Studies was given by Professor Bruno Latour: `The trouble with organisation'. Professor Paul Muldoon, Professor of Poetry, lectured on `The end of the poem: Poetry by Marianne Moore'. The Right Hon. Michael Portillo gave the Chatham Lecture, under the title `How might the Right right itself?' Dr Nike Wagner gave eight lectures on `Love and death: Vienna, Wagner, and fin de siècle culture'; `Casanova and the Marschallin' sounds exciting enough, until you come to `Lulu and Lolita'. Golly, Sir.
Other mouth-watering titles appeared on the lecture lists. I single out, rather in the posture of an epicure picking the plumpest from a paper packet of prawns and periwinkles: `Police, prisons, and poets: penal reform and the romantic imagination'; `Multiple fatherhood in Amazonia: the fallacy of the neo-Darwinian explanation'; `Working with dinosaurs' (no, I will not, I positively will not, squeeze out some painful gag from that one); `Why is Jupiter so hot?'—a question first asked by Juno; and `To flog or not to flog': a title which at first suggests problems in the theory of privatisation, but which turns out to be concerned with convict discipline and punishment in 1920s Georgia—the American one, nothing to do with that great theorist and experimenter in punishment, Comrade J.V. Stalin.
A few more lectures can receive only the most summary notice. I mention `Four new uncertainties in the social sciences'; `Do insects wiggle their ears?'; `Mother knows best: the evolution of nestling begging displays'. A lecture on `The origin of the apple' was given by Dr B. Juniper; there were lectures on `Snipping at admixture'; on `Disorder effects on vibrational excitations'; on `Beagle 2—the search for life on Mars'; on `Paedophilia and pederasty in Calvin's Geneva'; on `Spectral effects with quaternions'; on ` "War is not porridge": memorialising Mau Mau'; on `Translating oneself'; on `Food, faith, and sex in medieval Occitania'; and on `What are Prime Ministers for?' I am sorry to have missed `Wonders of the Universe: understanding the Romantic culture of amazement', and `I do like to be beside the seaside: the place of place in fiction'. Less acute, perhaps, is my regret at not having been in the audience for `Solid stress in tumours'. But I tell you, all human life is there; all human life, and much else besides.
Sometimes, of course, a lot depends on the way you pronounce a lecture's title. Thus not only `Welsh devolution: must it go further?' but also DNB seminars on biography: `Eleanor of Aquitaine: why another biography?' and perhaps even `Mathematics in schools: what should be done?' It is important to exclude the plangency from the voice as you intone that one.
Like our lecturers, our D.Phil. students yield to none in the range and depth of their researches. This year we have had `Comic pictures in Greek vase- painting', and `Parenting and adolescent well-being', and `3-Az1D0- tetrahydrufan carboxylates as scaffolds for oligomers of B-amino-Thf carboxylic acids', and `A Monte Carlo approach to hazard estimation': presumably this carries on the pioneering work of that Edwardian hero, the Man whose accuracy in hazard estimation enabled him to Break the Bank at Monte Carlo.
Every year the Orator concludes this Oration by listing the names of our dead. A couple of years ago the view was put to me, by a brash young Head of House, that in this businesslike modern world the custom was an anachronism which served no useful purpose but, on the contrary, merely delayed the departure of the company to lunch; or (in the case of those going on to All Souls), to luncheon. If that is what someone really feels, there can perhaps be no clinching reply; but it does no harm, at least, to pause for a moment and remember that this great institution is created and maintained by the labour and devotion of many hundreds of its members. We die; the University endures. Each of these our departed colleagues added a stone or two to the mountain of Oxford's achievement, reputation, and stature. Without them, ceremonies are mummery, libraries are lumber rooms, and new build-ings are just architecture. Let us for a moment feel our debt to these people: some of them personally known to us, some of them simply fellow workers for the same high purposes.
I record the deaths this year of Michael Argyle, Fellow of Wolfson; Michael Bacharach, Student of Christ Church; Annie Barnes, Fellow of St Anne's; Dorothy Bednarowska, Fellow of St Anne's; Barbara Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn, Fellow of St Hugh's; Hugh Trevor Roper, Baron Dacre of Glanton, Student of Christ Church; Clement Danby, Fellow of Worcester; Alistair Ross Dean, Fellow of St Cross; Anne Elliott, Fellow of St Hilda's; Miles Fitzalan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Student of Christ Church; George Gordon, Fellow of Brasenose; Terence Gorman, Fellow of Nuffield; Cecil Green, Founding Benefactor and Fellow of Green College; Pamela Gradon, Fellow of St Hugh's; Hrothgar Habakkuk, Principal of Jesus and sometime Vice-Chancellor; Bridget Hill, Fellow of St Hilda's; Christopher Hill, Master of Balliol; William Hyde, Secretary to the Chest; Roy Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead, Fellow of Balliol and Chancellor of the University; Desmond Kay, Fellow of Wolfson; Duncan Macleod, Fellow of St Catherine's; James Mauldon, Fellow of Corpus Christi; William Mitchell, Fellow of Wadham; Barry Nicholas, Principal of Brasenose; Martin Powell, Fellow of St Peter's; Dirk ter Haar, Fellow of Magdalen; Ryk Ward, Fellow of Linacre; Frank Weston, Student of Christ Church and sometime Archdeacon; Richard Wilberforce, Fellow of All Souls and sometime High Steward of the University. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
CREWEIAN ORATION 2003
THE PROFESSOR OF POETRY delivered the following Oration `in commemoration of the Benefactors of the University according to the intention of the Right Honourable Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham':
They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad
They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad
Not even Placido Domingo can make me feel less sad
He can't soothe my Sundays
My Wednesdays are shot through and through
With what I take to be the Oxford blues When I woke up this morning I knew I hadn't paid my dues
When I woke up this morning I knew I hadn't paid my dues
While lucre may be filthy Mary Douglas knows there's no taboo
Against giving it to Oxford
Against giving Oxford one's last sovereign or sou
And thereby relieving oneself of the Oxford blues I woke up this morning knowing I've not done my share
I woke up this morning knowing I've not done my share
As I thought of Dame Julia Higgins dividing the polymer
Into its many parts
And I resolved to play mine and take a more positive view
Instead of bemoaning the fact that I've got the Oxford blues So I set out this morning to rededicate my soul
I set out this morning to rededicate my soul
Sir Paul Nurse had me thinking that cell cycle control
Is the hardest sell of all
Yet we must renew, renew, renew
Our efforts against these lonesome Oxford blues For the dons need our donations as a coaster needs a keel
The dons need our donations as a coaster needs a keel
On which we place our trust, with Baroness O'Neill,
As we take to the wider waters
Upon which is cast the bread of truth—the bread on which we chew
In the hope of staving off the Oxford blues And if we don't put a little something in the cup
If we don't put a little something in the cup
Jean-Pierre Serre will tell you the numbers won't add up
So let's start today and take our cue
From the benefaction of Lord Crewe
And put an end once and for all to these Oxford blues