Celebrating 150 years
Respecting the past and inspiring the future
An anniversary presents an opportunity for reflection as well as celebration. A moment to look back, to remind ourselves of the founding values of the College, and the achievements of our students, Fellows and staff, particularly in the last 50 years – the wonderful and colourful characters that make the history of the community so rich and varied.
And of course it is an opportunity to look to the future, to evaluate the contribution we are making to the University, the city and to education and research, to reboot and prepare for the challenges ahead.
Many aspects of Keble life will feature in a programme of events and projects over 18 months beginning in September 2019. You can find out more about them on this website or in our 150th Events Brochure (pdf). We hope you will join us and get involved.
We kicked off with the launch of an exhibition, Portrait of Keble – An Installation (pdf), featuring photographic portraits of 28 individuals. These include alumni, current students, staff, and fellows, who were chosen for their inspirational achievements, be they personal, professional, or both. The 28 were selected from over a hundred nominations. The launch event took place on Friday 20 September as we rolled into the Alumni Reunion Weekend (21-22 September 2019) celebrating 40 Years of Coeducation at Keble.
Dr Ian Archer and Professor Angus Hawkins hosted a Victorian Symposium on Wednesday 25 September open to all students, alumni and staff. No academic specialism required, just a healthy interest in all things Victorian/Keble. The symposium looked at the forces and personalities behind the foundation of the College and covered religious politics, poetry, fundraising Victorian-style, women’s education and architecture.
During the 150th Anniversary our regular London Lecture programme will take the form of ‘The Warden in Conversation with’. We have lined-up some interesting interlocutors for Sir Jonathan beginning on Wednesday 27 November 2019 with Ed Balls (alumnus and Honorary Fellow). The series continues with the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, Professor Louise Richardson on Thursday 21 May 2020.
Music forms an important part of the life of the College. The Keble Early Music Festival in February 2020 will be bigger and better than ever. Director of Music, Matthew Martin has been commissioned to compose a Missa Brevis in celebration of the 150th Anniversary. The inaugural performance will take place at St Thomas Church 5th Avenue New York on Thursday 16 April 2020. We hope that many of our alumni and friends in the US will be able to join us for that occasion as part of the University North American Reunion weekend.
We have arranged some special speakers for the traditional dates in the College calendar. On St Mark’s Day – Sunday 26 April 2020 – we will welcome former Archbishop of Canterbury the Right Reverend Rowan Williams as preacher in Chapel. Members of the Keble Parishes will be invited to join members of the College as we remember our founders and benefactors. The Eric Symes Abbott Lecture will be given by Lord Adonis (alumnus and Honorary Fellow) on Friday 15 May 2020.
Saturday 6 June 2020 is the actual birthday: 150 years since the founding of the College. We will celebrate as a ‘family’ with a garden party for current students, staff and Fellows. There will be an online Giving Day encouraging alumni around the world to get involved holding events of their own and sending birthday wishes to Keble to mark the special date. The College staff will also be celebrating with a party of course, and in recognition of their dedication and service, they will each receive a commemorative gift.
The 150th Anniversary Ball – on Saturday 27 June 2020 – is the centrepiece of the celebrations and is open to all – alumni of all ages, current students, Fellows and staff. We canvassed opinion across all groups and there was a resounding response in favour of celebrating together. Tickets are now sold out. However, you can join the waiting list at www.kebleball.com.
In Autumn 2020 – we didn’t want to give you all the goodies at once – we will be launching the 150 Bricks Project. This online multi-media exhibition will tell the history of the College using video, audio, images and text. With many contributions from alumni we have gathered and selected fascinating stories, anecdotes, artefacts and memories which capture the spirit of Keble.
We are billing the Alumni Reunion Weekend in September 2020 (September 11-13) as the Big Alumni Birthday Weekend. Further details will be available in due course, but again this will be open to alumni of all ages and will give all those who have sponsored their old College room the opportunity to see the plaque in place for the first time.
The academic year 2020-21 will also see us welcome our new Visiting Fellows and many of our new graduate scholars funded by donations to the Anniversary Campaign.
Keble Choir and virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter (Honorary Fellow) will perform in a special Anniversary Concert at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on Friday 11 December 2020. Open to all to purchase tickets. Anne-Sophie has also agreed to give a private concert for invited guests at the Founders and Benefactors Feast on Saturday 12 December.
Further events for alumni will be arranged in Singapore, Hong Kong and Berlin; more details to come.
Keep an eye on the events section of this website for regular updates and booking information.
We look forward to welcoming you back to College or seeing you at an anniversary event somewhere in the world and hope that you enjoy the projects and exhibitions associated with this special year for Keble.