Famous Oxonians

Throughout its history, Oxford has produced gifted men and women in every sphere of human endeavour who have studied or taught at the University.

Among these are 26 British Prime Ministers, including the current one, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP; at least 30 international leaders; 50 Nobel Prize winners; 9 current holders of the Order of Merit; at least 12 saints and 20 Archbishops of Canterbury; and some 120 Olympic medal winners.

At least 117 Oxonians were elected to Parliament in the UK's General Election in 2010, and more than 140 sit in the House of Lords. The offices of Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer are all currently held by Oxford graduates, as are those of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Secretary of State for Education, Secretary of State for Defence, Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In addition, at least five members of the US House of Representatives, one members of the US Senate and one US State Governor were educated at Oxford.

20th & 21st Centuries

  • HM King Abdullah II of Jordan
  • Sir Grantley Adams, Premier of Barbados, 1954-1958; Prime Minister of the West Indies, 1958-1962
  • J M G (Tom) Adams, Prime Minister of Barbados 1976-85
  • Diran Adebayo, author
  • Samira Ahmed, journalist and presenter
  • Monica Ali, author
  • Tariq Ali, writer
  • Rowan Atkinson, comedian
  • Sir Kingsley Amis, author
  • Lindsay Anderson, film-maker
  • W H Auden, poet
  • Clement Attlee, UK Prime Minister, 1945-1951
  • Zeinab Badawi, journalist and broadcaster
  • Solomon Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, 1956-1959
  • Sir Roger Bannister, neurologist and athlete
  • Dame Josephine Barnes, first female President of the British Medical Association
  • Marian Bell, economist
  • 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 (1988-90 & 1993-96)
  • Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former President (1970-73) and Prime Minister (1972-77) of Pakistan
  • Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister (1997-2007)
  • 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
  • Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1994-
  • Vera Brittain, writer
  • Peter Brook, theatre director
  • Fiona Bruce, broadcaster
  • Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia, Prime Minister of Ghana 1969-72
  • Robert Byron, travel writer
  • Rt Hon David Cameron MP, UK Prime Minister 2010-
  • Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada; Governor-Elect of the Bank of England
  • Baroness (Barbara) Castle, politician
  • General Wesley Clark, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, 1997-2000
  • Bill Clinton, President of the United States, 1993-2001
  • Wendy Cope, poet
  • Richard Curtis, screenwriter
  • Cecil Day Lewis, poet
  • Edward de Bono, philosopher
  • David Dimbleby, journalist and broadcaster
  • Sir John Eccles, scientist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology 1963
  • John Edmonds, trade unionist
  • T S Eliot, poet
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and broadcaster
  • Helen Fielding, author
  • Dr Amelia Fletcher, Chief Economist, Office of Fair Trading
  • Lord Florey, Nobel Prize-winning pathologist
  • Michèle Flournoy, former US Under Secretary of Defense
  • Emilia Fox, actor
  • Lady Antonia Fraser, novelist and historian
  • Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia, 1975-83
  • William Fulbright, politician, founder of the Fulbright Scholarships
  • Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, 1966-77 & 1980-84
  • 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 Grey Gorton, Prime Minister of Australia, 1968-1971
  • 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), Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House; Director General of the BBC from March 2013
  • Harald V, King of Norway since 1991
  • Bob Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia, 1983-91
  • Professor Stephen Hawking, physicist
  • Sir Edward Heath, UK Prime Minister, 1970-74
  • Joseph Heller, author
  • Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Oscar-winning film-maker
  • Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Sir Tony Hoare, computer scientist 
  • Dorothy Hodgkin, Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Edwin Hubble, astronomer
  • Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, 1976-99
  • Aldous Huxley, author
  • Armando Iannucci, writer and comedian
  • Lord (Roy) Jenkins, former Home Secretary and Chancellor of the University
  • Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, former US Congressman
  • Luke Johnson, businessman
  • Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
  • 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, President of Ghana 2001-2009
  • Hari Kunzru, author
  • Haruhiko Kuroda, President of the Asian Development Bank
  • Martha Lane Fox, businesswoman
  • Philip Larkin, poet
  • T E Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia
  • Nigella Lawson, chef and broadcaster
  • John Le Carre, 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, UK Prime Minister, 1957-63
  • Norman Manley, Leader of Jamaica, 1955-62
  • Chief Justice Mrs Sujata Vasant Manohar, Judge of the Supreme Court of India 1994-99
  • Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, first Prime Minister (and later President) of Fiji
  • Sir Peter Medawar, scientist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology 1960
  • Ved Mehta, author
  • Roland Michener, Governor-General of Canada 1967-74
  • Dame Barbara Mills, first female Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Dom Mintoff, Prime Minister of Malta, 1955-1958 & 1971-1984
  • Dudley Moore, actor, comedian, musician
  • Dom Moraes, poet
  • Kate Mosse, novelist
  • Dame Iris Murdoch, philosopher and author
  • Rupert Murdoch, Director, News International plc
  • Arthur Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, 2009-
  • V S Naipaul, Nobel Prize-winning author
  • Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan
  • Rageh Omaar, journalist
  • Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary (2010- and 1998-2002) and leader of the Fidesz political party
  • Michael Palin, actor and writer
  • Lester B Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada, 1963-1968, 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
  • Dennis Potter, playwright
  • Philip Pullman, author
  • Barbara Pym, author
  • Hugh Quarshie, actor
  • Dr Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner
  • Dr Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Rachel Riley, co-host on Channel 4's Countdown
  • Nick Robinson, journalist
  • Hon Raymond Robinson, President of Trinidad and Tobago, 1997-2003
  • General Sir Michael Rose, former UN Commander in Bosnia
  • Michael Rosen, children's novelist and poet
  • Sir Martin Ryle, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
  • Lord (Jonathan) Sacks, Chief Rabbi
  • Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement
  • Roz Savage, rower and adventurer
  • 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, 2004-
  • Professor Oliver Smithies, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine
  • Laura Solon, comedian
  • Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first female lawyer
  • Rick Stein, chef and broadcaster
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, leader, Burmese National League for Democracy and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • A J P Taylor, historian
  • Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher, UK Prime Minister, 1979-90
  • Sir Wilfred Thesiger, explorer and anthropologist
  • Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times Company and former Director-General of the BBC
  • Lester Thurow, economist
  • J R R Tolkien, author and academic
  • 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 Congressman
  • Baroness (Mary) Warnock, philosopher
  • Evelyn Waugh, author
  • Sir Andrew Wiles, mathematician
  • Dr Eric Williams, historian and politician, Chief Minister of Trinidad and Tobago 1956-1959, Premier 1959-1962, Prime Minister 1962-1981
  • Ivy Williams, first female barrister in the UK
  • Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury 2002-2013
  • 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 & 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 Georgia
  • William Penn, founder 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 & 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 & 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

 

Lester B Pearson

Lester B Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada, 1963-1968, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Monica Ali

Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane, Alentejo Blue and In the Kitchen

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, physicist and author of the bestseller, A Brief History of Time