Worcester College Oxford announces the endowment of The Asa Briggs Fellowship in the Humanities
The Provost, Fellows and Scholars of Worcester College are delighted to announce the endowment of the Asa Briggs Fellowship in the Humanities, thanks to an enormously generous benefaction from John Sainsbury (Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, KG), an Old Member who has already given significant support to both the College and the University.
Asa Briggs, Baron Briggs of Lewes, celebrated his ninetieth birthday last year, but he still remains active as a historian and writer. Having served at Bletchley Park during the war, he was Fellow in History at Worcester College before becoming Professor of Modern History at Leeds, founding Professor and Dean of the School of Social Studies and then Vice-Chancellor at Sussex, and Chancellor of the Open University. He returned to Worcester as Provost in 1976. His historical writings, ranging from many books on the Victorians to the authoritative history of the BBC, are extraordinarily well known and highly regarded.
Provost Jonathan Bate explained the nature of the Asa Briggs Fellowship: “Asa Briggs is a true polymath – he took an Economics degree by correspondence simultaneously with his History degree and for a time he taught all three elements of PPE at Worcester, so it seemed to me that a fitting tribute would be a Fellowship in ‘the Humanities’ as opposed to a specific discipline: it will reflect his own extraordinary academic range, between history, economics, the history of political thought, public policy and for that matter Victorian literature and even, in a sense, via his work on broadcasting, the new field of ‘media studies’. We do not know how disciplines will evolve, and in what Humanities areas there will be the need for endowed tutorial fellowships in thirty, fifty, a hundred years’ time. Thus the Asa Briggs Fellowship in the Humanities will endure and evolve, with the capacity to be reassigned to new or needy disciplines when an existing holder retires or leaves.”
Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, KG, said that he was especially keen not only to honour the former Provost and his friend but also to give support to the Humanities at a time when their funding was under great strain.
Lord Briggs said: “I am deeply honoured by the outstandingly generous endowment of this Fellowship in the Humanities by my old pupil and friend John, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, K.G., to whom the College owes so much. I love Worcester College dearly, having spent 25 years of my academic life there: first, ten years as a Fellow from 1945 to 1955, and later, as Provost from 1976 to 1991. I am still writing and I shall follow with interest the evolution of the Fellowship which reflects my own span of interests.”
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