New College MCR attends London cultural tour and exchange with Goodenough College

Report by Fitzroy "Pablo" Wickham, former New College MCR Vice President

The Oxford University college template has inspired many higher education models across the world. In central London, there exists one such example in the form of Goodenough College, which was established by Frederick Craufurd Goodenough, then Chairman of Barclays Bank, in 1930. His belief was that young men from the Commonwealth pursuing graduate studies in the country's capital should not be scattered about the city. His vision was to build a centralised location for these international postgraduates fashioned in the image of an Oxford college–– without the academic component which would instead be fostered by a student's individual university. As such, Goodenough College primarily meets the residential needs of and engenders community among a melting pot of students from several of London's colleges.

Since 2016, members of Goodenough College, led by their Dean, Alan McCormack, visit New College as part of their annual excursion to the city of Oxford, where they are welcomed by the New College Warden, Miles Young, and members of the MCR.  Both colleges have had their fair share of shared alums, most notably Gregory Jones, a British lawyer, who has served as an Alderman of the City of London since 2017. The colleges' most recent shared alum is former Vice President of the New College MCR, Ufuk Altunbüken, who played a key role in the colleges' exchange in 2023. Keen to repay the hospitality, McCormack extended an invitation to return the favour. This invitation was accepted by one of Altunbüken's successors, Fitzroy "Pablo" Wickham, another former New College MCR Vice President.

On Monday June 3, 2024, the New College Warden, Miles Young, and nine MCR members made the journey to London. They first paid a visit to the British Museum where New College's Professor of Ancient History, Andrew Meadows, met and led them in a personalised tour of some of New College's contributions to the museum's collection. As Professor Meadows showed the group the Ur exhibit and other collections from the Mesopotamia, he explained how these archeological missions were presided over by New College Old Members, Sirs Leonard Woolley and Max Mallowan. Mallowan was a student of Woolley and interestingly, though both men attended New College at different times under the leadership of different Wardens, each young man decided his career trajectory after a singular life-changing conversation with their respective Warden.

The group from New College then headed over to Goodenough College to meet their host, Alan McCormack. He treated them to a tour of the residential grounds while sharing the rich history of the place. Goodenough College's Director, Alice Walpole, joined the group thereafter along with several students from the college. The combined group communed over a sumptuous lunch that was served buffet-style in one of the college's conference rooms. Post lunch, McCormack led a tour through the City of London taking his time to relay key historical events, explain intricacies of the financial district,  and reveal secrets about ongoing eccentric traditions in the City. The tour concluded at St Paul's Cathedral.

Altogether, it was a wonderful day of cultural immersion. Several of the New College members expressed their gratitude for the experience. They hadn't known exactly what to expect but were certainly not disappointed. 

Following the event, Pablo said:

I hope that this exchange will become a long-standing tradition between the two institutions as opportunities such as this cultivate a greater appreciation for the impact Oxford has had on the world. I believe that students are reminded of the power they hold by attending such prestigious institutions and are challenged to walk where others before them have trod or –– conscientiously backtrack to do no further harm where it has already been rendered.