Some Surprising Oxford Alumni

Oxford is synonymous with achievement and excellence; be that via education, leadership or impressive personalities. So, when it comes to Oxford hotels, naturally our standards are just as high.

You might be surprised to learn that Oxford colleges have produced a varied bunch of individuals – amongst whom 27 became British Prime Ministers and 50 went on to win the Nobel Prize. But the impressive figures don’t end there. In sportsmanship, 120 Olympic medal winners studied here and at least 30 international leaders walked the various college halls. Read on for a selection of surprising Oxford Alumni.


The McWhirter Twins

Twins Norris and Ross McWhirter are responsible for founding the Guinness Book of Records in 1955 – but did you know that they both studied at Trinity College? One read Law the other Economics – and the twin that undertook a law degree did so in only two years rather than the expected three. Both spent time serving in the Royal Navy before starting an agency that would supply facts and figures to newspapers.


Bill Clinton

Former US President Bill Clinton studied at University College in Oxford after graduating from Georgetown in 1968. He came to England in 1969 as part of the Rhodes scholarship, which saw him initially study Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He later transferred to solely Politics, before leaving in 1971 without completing his degree. During his 1994 presidency, he received a fellowship and an honorary degree from Oxford. He would serve as the 42nd US president from 1993 to 2001.


Christopher Wren

Renowned architect Christopher Wren studied at Wadham College, graduating in 1651. Most noted for being the architect behind St Paul’s Cathedral, his first large scale project was in fact the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.


Hugh Grant

The world-famous actor studied English Literature at New College in 1979, having won a Galsworthy scholarship. Gaining a 2:1 honours in English, his first starring role was in a film produced by the Oxford University Film Foundation. After his degree he pursued a career in theatre before becoming the global star he is today. We’re not sure if there is a romcom he hasn’t been in!


Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss, graduated from Dartmouth in 1925. After spending time as a column writer, he became a postgraduate studying English Literature at Lincoln College. It is said that the inspiration for his pictures and cartoons came to him during a lecture about the punctuation of Shakespeare whilst at Oxford.


Emma Watson

Known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, and more recently her feminist and gender equality campaigning, Emma Watson attended Worcester College during 2011/12 whilst enrolled at Brown University, Rhode Island. Given “visiting student” status at Oxford, she deferred her course briefly before graduating with an English Literature degree from Brown. In 2016 she was appointed a visiting fellow at Lady Margaret Hall College; visiting fellows are given a position that usually lasts for three years, and the recipients are encouraged to join the University for debates, to watch performances and to attend social occasions.


Albert Einstein

While Albert Einstein didn’t complete his studies at Oxford, he did briefly visit Christ Church College during the 1930s. In 1931-33, he lectured on relativity and received an honorary degree.


If you’re thinking about where to stay near Oxford, our hotel is conveniently located so you can visit each of the 38 colleges and find out more about the history of the city.

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