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Somerville College prides itself on its pioneering traditions, its intellectual openness and the stellar achievements of its alumni. Two prime ministers, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, Nobel prize-winner Dorothy Hodgkin and a long line of novelists from Dorothy Sayers to Iris Murdoch and AS Byatt have studied here. Fellows and relatively recent graduates include prize-winning scientists, successful entrepreneurs, five MPs and several peers. Founded in 1879 as one of the first women's colleges, Somerville now has approximately equal numbers of men and women among its students and Fellows. It attracts students from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds.
Situated close to the city centre and bordered by the vibrant neighbourhoods of Little Clarendon Street and Jericho, the college will offer three-year accommodation for almost all undergraduates when its new building opens in the autumn of 2011 on the edge of the University's developing Radcliffe Observatory Quarter.