Founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, Trinity College originally consisted of a President, twelve Fellows, and twelve Scholars, chosen from Pope's manors in Hertfordshire, or 'from any county in England' if his properties failed to produce an adequate supply of suitable candidates. Pope's successors presided over the College's growth into one of the most impressive colleges in Oxford. The Dining Hall was constructed in 1618, and the chapel, begun in 1691, was completed three years later. The chapel has a beautiful wood-paneled interior with an altar carving by Grinling Gibbons and a ceiling painting of the Ascension by Pierre Berchet (1659-1720). In the early seventeenth century the Garden Quad was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and later additions, including one of the largest and most beautiful of the Oxford college gardens, make Trinity College a truly handsome residence. Its surrounding walls enhance its tranquility and privacy, a contrast to the bustling Broad Street, which lies just outside of Trinity's front gates. Bookstores, coffee shops, and newsagents are all nearby, and the city's commercial center, including a covered market, is a short walk from the College.
Trinity College and Gardens
Students live in either modern single rooms or traditional Oxford double suites that include private bedrooms and large sitting rooms. Many older rooms have window seats, high ceilings, and wood paneling. All rooms have a refrigerator, washbasin, telephone, and computer port. Bathrooms and showers are shared. Bed linen and towels are provided for Seminar participants, and a full laundry room with washers, dryers, irons, and ironing boards, is also available.
Trinity Quad, Gardens and Gate
All Seminar students reside at Trinity College, many of them living in a quadrangle originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the seventeenth century. The College's spacious gardens, among the finest in Oxford, provide a beautiful setting for conversation, reading or a casual stroll. Meals are served in the College Dining Hall, constructed in 1618. The meal plan includes five dinners—Sunday through Thursday nights—and breakfast seven days per week. Social and intellectual life extends beyond the College walls, and Oxford itself has all the cultural vibrancy expected of one of the world's great university towns. Streets rich in literary and historical significance meander among the University's thirty-nine colleges. During any summer week one can find concerts in college chapels and plays produced in college gardens. Coffee shops, pubs, bookstores, churches, and gardens all lie just outside the College gates. Blocks away from Trinity College are the University Parks, with beautiful trails for running and jogging, fields for pick-up soccer, and other recreational opportunities. For those who need a harder work-out, Oxford has several gyms that offer short-term memberships.
Board includes a hearty English breakfast every day and dinners on Sunday through Thursday evenings. On Friday and Saturday, breakfast is the only meal provided, leaving students free to eat out, an arrangement that facilitates, but by no means requires, weekend travel. Oxford abounds in small restaurants, cafes, and pubs that serve inexpensive meals. Cooking is not permitted in student rooms, but refrigerators in each room make it possible for students to keep beverages and prepared food for sandwiches or snacks. Prepared sandwiches, salads, and other reasonably priced take-out items are readily available in nearby shops.
The Dining Room at Trinity College
Libraries and Computers
All Seminar students are granted users' privileges at Trinity College Library. This undergraduate library is open 24 hours a day and its collection includes many basic texts and reference books. Library materials do not circulate, but the facility provides ample space and comfort for reading and writing.
Although Trinity's library contains a good number of volumes, Seminar students may obtain Reader's Tickets for the Bodleian Library, the University's principal library for an additional charge of $360. Students should be able to satisfy almost all of their research needs with the Trinity library, so obtaining this is not required. Nevertheless, the card definitely comes with advantages. Opened in 1602, the Bodleian contains over six million volumes, has a staff of 400, and more than twenty reading rooms in ten separate buildings. Since 1610, the Bodleian Library has been a copyright depository for books published in Britain and Ireland. This privilege, augmented by extensive purchases and donations, has made the Bodleian a pre-eminent academic library in Britain. A Reader's Ticket to the Bodleian admits students to the whole university library system that includes the Radcliffe Camera, the Rhodes House Library, the Radcliffe Science Library, and the Law Library. It also admits holders to many of the thirty-nine Oxford colleges without paying any admission charge (usually about $4 each). Computers are available in the Trinity College Library. This facility includes desk-top computers with e-mail capacity and internet access. Each student room also has a computer port. Students are encouraged to bring their own portable computers to Oxford but they should ensure that their computers are fitted with ethernet network cards, since WiFi is not available in most parts of the College.
In addition to tutorials, evening lectures, films, and meals with fellow students and tutors, the College beer cellar offers Seminar participants a place to congregate and enjoy one another's company.Informal social life also centers on student rooms, since many traditional suites include spacious sitting rooms.
Frequent concerts are performed in the Holywell Music Room, in the Sheldonian Theatre (designed by Sir Christopher Wren), and in various college settings, such as Merton College's twelfth-century chapel. Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral provides wonderful examples of English church music. More modern (and more secular) music is available in dance clubs and pubs, some situated on the banks of the Thames, others in the heart of the city. Pubs are an essential part of British social life, and many in Oxford provide a pleasant social atmosphere.
Situated about ninety minutes northwest of London, Oxford is a pleasant, inviting city of over 100,000 inhabitants. It has cinemas, stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and bookshops, all within easy reach of Trinity College. Frequent trains and buses conveniently link it with London, the west of England, and Wales.
Broad Street Scene (outside one of the Trinity Gates)
Oxford offers tennis courts (both hard surface and grass), swimming, badminton, punting on the river, and private fitness facilities. There are many beautiful places to walk, cycle or jog including riverside trails and tow paths. Trinity College has its own squash court and, a few miles from the College, some grass tennis courts. The University Parks, a short jog from Trinity, have amenities for serious runners.
The Hofer Book Prize
Funded by friends of Ernest H. Hofer, the founding director of the Oxford Summer Seminar, the Hofer Book Prize is awarded each year to two students who submit the best essays written for a Seminar course, one in the category of Literature or Criticism and one in the category of History, Politics, or Law. The judges for the Hofer Prize are Seminar faculty members, and the Prize is awarded at the Seminar's closing banquet.