Collection of Oxonian portraits
Collection of Oxonian portraits

Famous Oxonians

Gifted men and women have studied or taught at the University throughout its history. Among them are 26 British Prime Ministers, at least 30 international leaders, 50 Nobel Prize winners, and 120 Olympic medal winners.

20th and 21st Centuries

  • Tony Abbott, current Prime Minister of Australia
  • HM King Abdullah II of Jordan
  • Sir Grantley Adams, former Premier of Barbados and Prime Minister of the West Indies
  • J M G (Tom) Adams, former Prime Minister of Barbados
  • Diran Adebayo, author
  • Samira Ahmed, journalist and presenter
  • Monica Ali, author
  • Tariq Ali, writer
  • Elizabeth Anscombe, philosopher
  • W H Auden, poet
  • Clement Attlee, former British Prime Minister
  • Zeinab Badawi, journalist and broadcaster
  • Solomon Bandaranaike, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
  • Sir Roger Bannister, neurologist and athlete
  • Kate Barker, economist
  • Dame Josephine Barnes, first female President of the British Medical Association
  • Gertrude Bell, explorer and archaeologist
  • Tony Benn, politician
  • Alan Bennett, playwright
  • Sir Lennox Berkeley, composer
  • Sir Isaiah Berlin, philosopher
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
  • Sir John Betjeman, poet
  • Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former President and Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister
  • Baruch S Blumberg, Nobel Prize-winning scientist
  • Henry Bonsu, journalist and broadcaster
  • Dr Ian Bostridge, opera singer
  • Sir Adrian Boult, conductor
  • William Boyd, author
  • Lord (Melvyn) Bragg, broadcaster
  • Katy Brand, comedian and actor
  • Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
  • Vera Brittain, writer
  • Fiona Bruce, broadcaster
  • Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia, former Prime Minister of Ghana
  • Rt Hon David Cameron MP, current British Prime Minister
  • Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England
  • Baroness (Barbara) Castle, politician
  • Reeta Chakrabarti, journalist
  • Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
  • Yvette Cooper, MP, politician
  • Wendy Cope, poet
  • Dr Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain
  • Richard Curtis, screenwriter
  • Cecil Day Lewis, poet
  • Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
  • Edward de Bono, philosopher
  • David Dimbleby, journalist and broadcaster
  • Sir John Eccles, scientist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology
  • T S Eliot, poet
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and broadcaster
  • Helen Fielding, author
  • Lord Florey, Nobel Prize-winning pathologist
  • Emilia Fox, actor
  • Lady Antonia Fraser, novelist and historian
  • Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister of Australia
  • William Fulbright, politician, founder of the Fulbright Scholarships
  • Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India
  • Dr Frene Ginwala, former Speaker of the South African National Assembly
  • William Golding, Nobel Prize-winning novelist
  • Hugh Grant, actor                   
  • Robert Graves, poet
  • Graham Greene, author
  • Sir John Gurdon, Nobel Prize-winning scientist
  • Mark Haddon, author
  • J B S Haldane, geneticist
  • Professor Stuart Hall, sociologist
  • Tony Hall (Lord Hall of Birkenhead), Director General of the BBC
  • Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett, judge
  • Harald V, King of Norway
  • Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia
  • Professor Stephen Hawking, physicist
  • Sir Edward Heath, former British Prime Minister
  • Joseph Heller, author
  • Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Dorothy Hodgkin, Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Edwin Hubble, astronomer
  • Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall
  • Aldous Huxley, author
  • Armando Iannucci, writer and comedian
  • Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, former US Congressman
  • Felicity Jones, actor
  • Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
  • Eleanor Kagan, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court
  • Imran Khan, Pakistani politician and former international cricketer
  • Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Soweto Kinch, jazz musician, saxophonist
  • Dame Emma Kirkby, soprano
  • John Kufuor, former President of Ghana
  • Hari Kunzru, author
  • Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor of the Bank of Japan
  • Martha Lane Fox, businesswoman, co-founder of lastminute.com
  • Philip Larkin, poet
  • T E Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia
  • Nigella Lawson, chef and broadcaster
  • John Le Carré, author
  • C S Lewis, writer and scholar
  • Ken Loach, film-maker
  • Alain Locke, philosopher and architect of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Val McDermid, crime writer
  • Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum
  • Harold Macmillan, former British Prime Minister
  • Norman Manley, former Leader of Jamaica
  • Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, former Director General of the Security Service
  • Chief Justice Mrs Sujata Vasant Manohar, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • Rt Hon Theresa May, MP, politician, UK Home Secretary
  • Sir Peter Medawar, Nobel Prize-winning scientist
  • Dame Barbara Mills, first female Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Dom Mintoff, former Prime Minister of Malta
  • Dame Iris Murdoch, philosopher and author
  • Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp, chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox
  • Arthur Mutambara, politician, former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
  • Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace
  • V S Naipaul, Nobel Prize-winning author
  • Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan
  • Rageh Omaar, journalist
  • Michael Palin, actor and writer
  • Mansoor Ali Khan ("Tiger") Pataudi, captain of the Indian cricket team
  • Lester B Pearson, former Prime Minister of Canada and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Robert Penn Warren, American poet laureate
  • Robert Peston, journalist
  • Sally Phillips, actor and comedian
  • Rosamund Pike, actor
  • Sir Matthew Pinsent, four times Olympic gold medal-winning rower
  • Philip Pullman, author
  • Hugh Quarshie, actor
  • Dr Olli Rehn, EU commissioner
  • Dr Susan Rice, US National Security Advisor
  • Rachel Riley, co-host on Channel 4's Countdown
  • Hon Raymond Robinson, former President of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Michael Rosen, children's novelist and poet
  • Sir Martin Ryle, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
  • Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement
  • Dorothy L Sayers, author
  • Ernst Schumacher, economist
  • Pixley Seme, founder of the African National Congress
  • Vikram Seth, author
  • Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
  • Professor Oliver Smithies, Nobel-prize winning scientist
  • Laura Solon, comedian
  • Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first female lawyer
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, leader, Burmese National League for Democracy and Nobel Peace laureate
  • A J P Taylor, historian
  • Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher, former British Prime Minister
  • Sir Wilfred Thesiger, explorer and anthropologist
  • Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times Company and former Director-General of the BBC
  • J R R Tolkien, author and academic
  • Andy Triggs Hodge, Olympic gold medal-winning rower
  • Margaret Turner-Warwick, first woman President of the Royal College of Physicians
  • Dame Janet Vaughan, haematologist and radiobiologist
  • Revd Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans
  • David Vitter, United States Senator
  • Baroness (Mary) Warnock, philosopher
  • Sir Andrew Wiles, mathematician
  • Dr Eric Williams, former Chief Minister, Premier and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Ivy Williams, first female barrister in the UK
  • Baroness (Shirley) Williams, politician
  • Michael Winterbottom, film-maker
  • Jeanette Winterson, author
  • Qian Zhongshu, Chinese academic and writer

19th Century

  • Matthew Arnold, poet
  • H H Asquith, British Prime Minister
  • Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor and composer
  • Sir Max Beerbohm, author and cartoonist
  • Gertrude Bell, explorer and archaeologist
  • Hilaire Belloc, author
  • William Beveridge, social reformer and economist
  • John Buchan, author
  • Sir Richard Burton, explorer
  • Edward Burne-Jones, artist
  • Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson), author and academic
  • Thomas de Quincey, author
  • C B Fry, cricketer
  • William Ewart Gladstone, British Prime Minister
  • Eglantyne Jebb, founder of the Save the Children Fund
  • John Keble, theologian
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins, poet
  • William Morris, artist
  • Cardinal John Henry Newman, theologian
  • Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister
  • Edward Pusey, theologian
  • Eleanor Rathbone, politician and social reformer
  • Cecil Rhodes, colonial pioneer, founder of the Rhodes Scholarships
  • John Ruskin, author, artist and social reformer
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet
  • Frederick Soddy, Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Arnold Toynbee, social philosopher and economist
  • Oscar Wilde, playwright, poet and author
  • Emily Wilding Davison, suffragist

17th and 18th Centuries

  • William Henry Drayton, American revolutionary
  • John Ford, playwright
  • Edward Gibbon, historian
  • Edmund Halley, astronomer
  • William Harvey, scientist who discovered the circulation of the blood
  • Thomas Hobbes, philosopher
  • Robert Hooke, scientist
  • Dr Samuel Johnson, lexicographer
  • John Locke, philosopher
  • Sir Richard Lovelace, poet
  • James Oglethorpe, founder of the US state of Georgia
  • William Penn, founder of the US state of Pennsylvania
  • Adam Smith, political economist
  • James Smithson, scientist, founder of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Robert Southey, poet   
  • Jonathan Swift, author and satirist
  • Jethro Tull, agriculturalist and inventor
  • John Wesley, founder of Methodism
  • John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, poet and courtier
  • Sir Christopher Wren, architect

15th and 16th Centuries

  • Cardinal William Allen
  • John Donne, poet
  • Erasmus, scholar
  • Jerome of Prague, Czech religious reformer
  • Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor and martyr
  • Sir Walter Raleigh, explorer
  • Sir Philip Sidney, poet
  • William Tyndale, translator of the Bible
  • Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Lord Chancellor and churchman, founder of Christ Church

13th and 14th Centuries

  • Roger Bacon, scholar
  • Thomas Bradwardine, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Simon Bredon, mathematician
  • William of Ockham, philosopher and theologian
  • Duns Scotus, philosopher and theologian
  • John Wyclif (Wycliffe), religious reformer