St Peter’s College unveiled its first portraits of women to hang in its Dining Hall on Thursday afternoon.
The portraits were unveiled by the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson and featured two alumni of St Peter’s College, the Rt Revd Libby Lane and Professor Christine Greenhalgh, both were painted by artist Tom Croft.
Libby Lane last year became the first ever woman Bishop in the Church of England, she matriculated in 1986 and read Theology at St Peter’s. During her time at St Peter’s she served as chapel clerk and met her future husband, George Lane. After graduating she trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham University. She was ordained as a Deacon in 1993 and as a Priest the following year. She served in the diocese of Chester from 2000 to 2014 and became Bishop of Stockport on the 8th March 2015, which is International Women’s Day. She has since become an Honorary Fellow of St Peter’s College.
Prof Christine Greenhalgh was first elected as a Fellow and Tutor in Economics 1979, which was the very first year that female students were admitted to St Peter’s. During this time she was also a Lecturer within the Department of Economics and she was subsequently promoted to a Readership before becoming a Professor of Applied Economics. During her first few years at St Peter’s she was able to persuade the governing body to create the position of Tutor for Women, at the time the college was still almost entirely male. Later in her time at the college she was instrumental in setting up the Oxford Intellectual Property Centre at St Peter’s. She retired from her teaching role in 2009 but has remained associated with St Peter’s as an Emeritus Fellow. In retirement she has continued with her research and also holds an Adjunct Professorship at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.
Both were present to witness the unveiling.
Speaking on the event, Master of St Peter’s College, Mark Damazer said: “Women have been part of St Peter’s for nearly forty years and it makes no sense for its principal public space, used heavily by all at the college, to be adorned only by men. So I am thrilled that we now have these terrific paintings and photographs to help reflect the college to itself – and anyone who comes here.”
Alongside the unveiling there will also be a first viewing of a set of photographs of current and recently retired female fellows of St Peter’s College. These are also due to be hung in the hall and were taken by Oxford photographer, Fran Monks.
St Peter’s College first opened its doors to students in 1929 as a PPH. It was granted full college status in 1961 and first admitted women in 1979. Since then St Peter’s has gone on to admit over 2400 female students.