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.
All Seminar students reside at Trinity College, many in a quadrangle designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the seventeenth century.
The Wren Building, Court and Lawn
Students live in either modern single rooms or traditional Oxford double suites, which include private bedrooms and large sitting rooms, as well as window seats, high ceilings, and wood paneling.
The sitting room of a shared suite, with a view of a bedroom
All rooms have a refrigerator, washbasin, telephone, and computer port. Bathrooms and showers are either ensuite, or shared (depending on availability). Bed linens and towels are provided for Seminar participants, as is a full laundry room with washers, dryers, irons, and ironing boards.
Another bedroom, and a sitting room with window seats
A room with a view
The Meal Plan
The Trinity Dining Room set for High Table
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. Board features a hearty English breakfast every day, and dinners on Sunday through Thursday evenings. This plan includes the weekly High Table Nights on Tuesdays, which all students attend, and the Balcony Dinners on Mondays, which each student attends once during the summer. On Friday and Saturday, breakfast is the only meal provided, leaving students free to eat out in Oxford, or, if they wish, wherever they travel that weekend. Oxford abounds in delightful yet affordable small restaurants, cafes, and pubs. 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. Sandwiches, salads, and other reasonably priced take-out items are readily available in nearby shops.
Trinity College's spacious gardens are among the finest in Oxford, and provide an exquisite setting for conversation, reading or a casual stroll. They include the protected front lawn, where no one (including the President of the College) is permitted to walk on the meticulously-kept grass.
The front lawn leading to the chapel, with the rose arbor on the left, and one of the magnificant Cedars of Lebanon on the right
But never fear; students are encouraged to sit, lie, chat or study on the enormous and secluded back lawn, as long as they observe the following rules: no towels or blankets, no drinking red wine or coffee. (Fortunately tea, white wine and soft drinks are allowed.)
Students can also escape to the quieter Wilderness area.
Here trees adorn the side lawn and quiet paths curve past shaded grottos and sunny spots of greenery.
Recreation and the Outdoors
A few blocks away from Trinity College are the University Parks, with beautiful trails for running and jogging, fields for pick-up soccer, a charming duck pond, and ample space to study, sunbathe, play or picnic. Oxford offers tennis courts (both hard surface and grass), and Trinity College has its own squash court and grass tennis courts as well. For those who need a more controlled work-out, Oxford has several gyms that offer short-term memberships. The city also boasts an exquisite botanical garden, two rivers (the Thames and the Charwell), where students can swim and punt (i.e., boat), the latter being an old, well-established and thoroughly romantic Oxford tradition. Students will also enjoy the Oxford canal with its long tow path. Those who crave the sight of animals can walk 10 minutes from Trinity to visit the famous, centuries-old Port Meadow, common grazing land by the Thames, where herds of cows, sheep and horses mingle with the wild geese and swans.
The Botanical Gardens
Cows Grazing on Port Meadow
The Thames River and Port Meadow
The Charwell River by the University Gardens
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 $330. 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.
Within Trinity itself, students will take advantage of social opportunities like evening lectures, films, and meals with fellow students and tutors, all of which are already built into the Seminar. The charming 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.
As if this were not enough, Oxford's social and intellectual life also 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. Coffee shops, pubs, bookstores, churches, and gardens all lie just outside the College gates.
Broad Street (outside the Trinity Front Gate)
Students may go to concerts in the Holywell Music Room, the Sheldonian Theatre (designed by Sir Christopher Wren), and 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 music is available in dance clubs and pubs, some situated on the banks of the Thames, others in the heart of the city. During any summer week, students will find so many concerts in college chapels, and plays in college gardens, that they will not be able to attend them all (although some try!).
Oxford is also home to many a fine pub, that ubiquitous, unique and charming mainstay of British social life, and some are famous for their storied associations with well-known Oxfordians of the past.
Situated about ninety minutes northwest of London, Oxford is a pleasant, inviting city of 165,000 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.
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 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, as well as in the category of Short Fiction. The judges for the Hofer Prize are Seminar faculty members, and the Prize is awarded at the Seminar's closing banquet.
The 2013 Hofer Prize Recipients were:
For Best Paper in Literature: James J. H. Fahey of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
For Best Paper in Law: Jonathan G. Murray of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
For Best Piece of Fiction: Brian Hall of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Photo Competition Prize Recipients were:
For Best Cityscape: Cassandra Duncanson of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
For Funniest Photo AND for Best Interior: Alexa Harrison of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
For Best Rural Landscape AND for Most Oxfordly Photo: Leslie Gill of the University of Pennsylvania