It is a priority for Christ Church to admit the best and brightest, without financial barriers to study.
Christ Church currently spends over £1m a year on student support, with the majority being means related. Over half of this support is for Graduate scholarships, continuing our excellent traditions of research.
We are very proud of the support we have received from Alumni and friends already, allowing us to support students whilst they are up, but we need to do more to continue to attract top students.
Christ Church has been fundraising for our bursary endowment since 2010. The purpose of the endowment fund is to create a permanent and enduring fund for students who need support. Alumni have responded enthusiastically and generously with donations, aware of the financial pressures on current students. Bursaries are important not only in supporting students during their time at Christ Church, but in attracting students to apply to Christ Church by making it affordable to do so.
Graduate Scholarships & Bursaries
Graduate study is integral to the House and the University and contributes not only to the enrichment of Oxford’s academic, cultural and sporting life, but nationally and internationally through research and graduates’ further contribution to society. You can read more about what some of our graduates are working on via the Christ Church blog. (https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/blog/category/college-life)
However, it is increasingly difficult for graduate students to get funds from the Research Councils in order to pursue their studies. Only one in three Oxford students secure full scholarship funding across all graduate courses. Therefore, more than ever, graduate studies need to be supported.
We need to improve Christ Church’s chances of retaining our brightest students and attracting the very best others through fully funded scholarships. The availability of scholarship funding is key to attract today’s internationally mobile top students.
The American Friends Scholarships in particular benefit US citizens who have completed their undergraduate work at a North American university; and who wish to pursue graduate studies in any subject at Christ Church. The financial support of the American Friends has proved to be essential to enable those graduates who are in need of help to take up their studies in Oxford.
Peckwater Quad Renovation Appeal
Peckwater Quad is a not only a masterpiece of Palladian architecture, a Grade 1 English Heritage building, and a national monument, but the heart and soul of many an undergraduate’s life at the House.
However, when we launched the much-needed Peckwater Quad Renovation Appeal in 2016, the 18th century building had not been refurbished for over 40 years. To date, the east side of Peck has been renovated and work has moved to the north side. The renovation is making great progress and the electrics, plumbing, and roofing, which were no longer fit for purpose, are being modernised and made safe. The renovated Peck Quad will offer modern interiors and facilities for undergraduates, whilst conserving the historic building in a sensitive and sympathetic way.
The entire project will cost about £10m, and the Development Office is seeking to raise at least another £1m to finish the project. The Oppenheimer family generously pledged a lead gift with matching opportunities, and we are grateful to them and to those other members who have responded already.
All gifts to this iconic building are still both welcome and needed. The matching pledge scheme is ongoing and effectively doubles the value of your gift, so we are looking for gifts of all levels to optimise our match opportunity.
If you would be interested in naming a room in Peck, naming opportunities are possible with pledges and gifts at Board of Benefactor level ($35k), staircases may be named for $210k, and the Director of Development, Mark Coote, would be delighted to discuss other naming opportunities for larger gifts.
For almost 200 years, Christ Church has been racing other colleges, going Head of the River for the first time in 1817. Since then it has won the most rowing events at Henley, been Head of the River on the Isis 33 times, and produced more Blues than any other college. This is due to not only the talent of House rowers, but also the incredible support the House receives from the Boat Club Society. The Boat Club Society provides vital financial assistance and support from the towpath. Membership entitles you to numerous Boat Club Society events at which we hope to see you in the future: Torpids and Eights, the Boat Race, the annual dinner in Trinity term, and the drinks party at Henley on the Saturday.
In 2017 the Boat Club endowment project came to fruition thanks to the generosity of Alex Beard (1985) and Emma Vernetti and several other generous alumni, including many from the USA.
The endowment will in future be able to cover the majority of the Club’s expenses as regards the Boat House, the Boatman and coaching. However, alumni members' continued membership of the Boat Club Society is much needed in order to produce annual gifts towards equipment, bursary support, training camps, and travel costs, including regular trips to Boston to race in the Head of the Charles Regatta.
A World Class Education
The tutorial system is the jewel in the crown of an Oxford education. The depth and intensity of thought processes that emerge from tutorials is often life changing and stays with students forever. Students learn to think independently and analyse critically, skills that are crucial for developing academically, and for later life.
However, cuts in UK Government and University funding to faculties and departments, in particular the humanities, have had a knock-on effect for colleges. It is vital that we act to protect our greatest asset by securing the future of tutorial teams at the House.
Since 2008, 14 posts have been fully or partially endowed, including in PPE, Geography and Chemistry. The ultimate aim, however, is to endow all 34 remaining posts. A gift to the Tutorial Fund of any size will allow us not only to secure our tutorial teams permanently, but also to act quickly to secure a post in jeopardy.
The Library embodies all that is special, but financially demanding, about the fabric of Christ Church.
The restoration of the 18th century building was completed in 2011, but there are ongoing costs for both specific projects and the day-to-day running of the library. We aim to build up an endowment fund which will produce a secure annual sum for Library projects, and continue to protect an integral part of the House. We have a duty of care not only to our undergraduates, graduates, researchers and scholars, but also to those around the world with academic interests in our special and varied collections. Conserving, cataloguing, and digitising our resources and improving the environment for our members is a priority for us and many of our Alumni and Friends. There are many opportunities to sponsor specific projects and collections, including honorary bookplate opportunities.
Christ Church is leading a major expansion of Oxford University’s undergraduate teaching in Computer Science by creating a Centre of Excellence at the House. The university has one of the longest-established Computer Science departments in the country, founded in 1957, but in 2017 the university received over 1000 applications for only 60 places. This makes Computer Science one of the most over subscribed courses in the university, and we are committed to working closely with the department to expand the Computer Science Programme at the House and provide a model for the rest of the collegiate university.
Computer Science is about learning and understanding the mathematical, scientific and engineering principles underlying every kind of computing system, from mobile phones and the internet, via systems that interpret natural language, to the supercomputers that forecast tomorrow's weather or simulate the effects of disease on the human heart. The research output from such work is currently and will continue to have major and possibly transformational impacts on many of our lives.
Christ Church as Centre of Excellence
In 2017 Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, was appointed to Christ Church as a Senior Research Fellow with Yarin Gal, an expert in Machine Learning, joining him as Associate Professor. The first four undergraduates in Computer Science ever to be recruited at Christ Church started in October 2017.
Christ Church will next appoint a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, three new Graduate Student Scholars (over 5 years), a second Computer Science tutor and grow undergraduate places to 8 per annum over the first 5 years. The community of undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and Faculty will build resilience as they learn and research together.
We are keen to work closely with the corporate world and are inviting expressions of interest to sponsor the expansion of Computer Science at Oxford. In return for financial support sponsors will gain direct access to leading edge thinking and research, and access to high quality young computer scientists.
Christ Church Cathedral Choir was founded nearly 500 years ago and holds a unique and important place within the English choral tradition. Given the significant financial pressures currently placed on arts and education in the UK, it is no surprise that English choral foundations are now in danger of erosion. Protecting the future of music at Christ Church Cathedral will be largely dependent upon the generosity of Members and Friends in supporting the choir for generations to come.
The Cathedral Music Trust was established in 2013 to secure the future success of the Choir through endowment of 60% of its total cost. In particular, this would allow for 100% funding for choristers, when required, to ensure that the Choir is accessible to quality musicians, regardless of background or circumstance. Such an endowment would also support the regular CD recordings and tours that are essential to maintaining the Choir’s international reputation.
The Christopher Ainsley Memorial at Christ Church, Oxford
Christopher studied Geography at Christ Church from 1976 to 1979.
He loved his time at Oxford, believing his studies at the House were instrumental in his later successes in life. So much so, that Christopher gave back to Christ Church as soon as he could, supporting the American Friends scholarships, the Boat Club, the Geography Tutorial posts, and above all the wonderful Jubilee Bridge, which was opened in 2014.
Mary Beth and the family have now decided that they would like to improve the area around the bridge with the planting of some specimen trees and the addition of a beautiful oak bench, as a lasting memory of Christopher.
You are invited to contribute to the Christopher Ainsley Memorial Fund, and the details of how to do so are below. If you have any questions please feel free to address them to either Simon Offen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Martin at Martin.AldersonSmith@blackstonesradvisors.com
Gifts from the UK and elsewhere:
Please see the Christ Church website for details: https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/alumni/christopher-ainsley-memorial-fund
Gifts from the USA:
Details of how to support the Fund may be found on the American Friends of Christ Church website: https://www.americanfriendschch.org/ and especially the how to give page: https://www.americanfriendschch.org/how-to-give
The Ainsley family and Christ Church thank you for your support in helping to produce a fitting memorial for Christopher.
COVID-19 Student Support Fund
A hallmark of alumni giving at Christ Church has been the continuity of student support. Donations towards helping students during their time at the House - and thereby making the most of the many opportunities that we are able to offer - have led the way in the collegiate university. In fact, the House spends more on student support and on access and outreach activities than any other college. We have also helped pioneer, through significant funding, the Target Oxbridge programme, which supports talented Black students in applying to Oxford and Cambridge.
We are now asking our alumni, friends and supporters to help us with our COVID-19 Student Support Fund. Over the long vacation, and as we prepare to reopen the college and welcome students to the House at the beginning of Michaelmas Term, it has become clear that the amount and quality of support we need to provide will be markedly different than before. For a start, a number of students’ family circumstances have changed as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact and we are already witnessing a rise in requests for financial assistance.
In areas of learning support and teaching, the pandemic has encouraged us to find new ways of engaging with our students and pursuing the scholarship for which Oxford is renowned. However, additional resources to support students both at home and in college are required.
For instance, students coming from abroad are having to quarantine for two weeks before arrival and many are likely to have to stay in residence over the vacations in future, in order to avoid further periods of quarantine. In other cases, students are requesting help to cover unexpected travel costs related to disrupted schedules due to the pandemic. We have also had more students than usual expressing worries about meeting their basic accommodation and meal expenses.
Some Freshers have endured a substantially dislocated end-of-school experience, and it is anticipated that they may need to access additional teaching and learning resources upon arrival. We are also making provision for additional mental health support for students who would benefit from extra care at a very stressful time. And some of our Graduate students and Junior Research Fellows may need extensions in order to finish research disrupted by the pandemic.
While Christ Church already sets aside substantial sums for student welfare and support, we are anticipating additional demand of at least £40,000, and probably more depending on how long the current situation continues.
Safety within Christ Church is paramount - putting in place arrangements to allow for social distancing, regular deep cleaning and sanitising, installing special partitioning within communal areas – and this requires extra funding. Just one example is the likely need for a UV-light air-sterilising machine for the Upper Library, as the library has so many historic surfaces that ozone cleaning may be the safest way to manage sanitisation.
Arrangements have also been made to provide safe distancing within all Library areas. This inevitably results in the need for additional study space. To that end, we will be using the Upper Library, the Exhibition Space, the JCR and GCR, and possibly the Thatched Barn as additional study spaces with socially distanced seating. Additional expense comes with the need for invigilation and the regular cleaning of these areas, amounting to some £10,000 per term.
We are also providing safe social spaces for our students. We were one of the first colleges to address this important aspect of student life by erecting a large marquee within the Masters’ Garden with an outdoor bar. Here, Junior Members will be able to meet one another before and after meals in a well-ventilated, but protected outdoor setting. It will also allow our many student clubs and societies to have a safe place to meet given the current prohibition on holding indoor gatherings amongst students living in different housing ‘bubbles.’ Hiring and heating the marquee is expected to cost approximately £15,000 per term – and we are currently assuming that we will need to keep the marquee for both Michaelmas and Hilary Term.
These are just some examples of where the House has had to adapt to the demands of the pandemic. We are thus hoping to raise new funds to match the extra expenditure of at least £90,000. Because the future is uncertain, Christ Church is committed to supporting our community of students and scholars at all levels. The fact that this can happen at a time when there is enormous demand on the institution’s finances, but income streams have been severely curtailed, is testament in no small way to your previous generosity. Thank you.
We are disappointed that we cannot see you, or bring you together at events at the moment, in order to explain what we are doing and thank you for your support in person. But for now, these emails must suffice. Nonetheless, the sincerity of our appeal is no less deep, and the needs about which we write no less real.
Should you be able to help support our students during this very challenging time, we encourage you to help make a difference now.
- UK Donation Form (Please return to the Development Office)
- US Donation (Please select "Covid-19 Student Support Fund")
- Donate Online (Please select "Covid-19 Student Support Fund")
- Direct Debit (Please select "Covid-19 Student Support Fund")
If you are a UK taxpayer please remember to tick the box to add Gift Aid to your donation. If you are a US taxpayer you can make tax-efficient gifts via the American Friends or contact Cindy Monty. For further information, please contact Teresa Midwinter, Database Manager.