And yet I hear Manchester College is planning to turn itself into Manchester Academy and Harris College, in memory of the founder of a carpet business whose son is giving the institution pounds 3.6m; the son, Sir Philip Harris, also happens to be a Tory party fund-raiser. A Unitarian minister who trained at the college called the proposal to change its name 'unethical'.
Even worse, the day before yesterday, Congregation - Oxford-speak for the university's decision-making body which you head - agreed to rename Rewley House, which teaches adult and mature students. As from October, it will become Kellogg College, after Will Keith Kellogg, whose contribution to the modern breakfast graces most of the kitchen tables in the Western world every morning. Needless to say, the Kellogg Foundation has been dishing out vast sums of money to Rewley House for the past 10 years (pounds 9m, to be precise).
What I want to know is how is this going to affect Oxford students? Does it mean that we will be getting wall-to-wall Axminster in our spartan college rooms and nice big bowls of cornflakes (could they stretch to Crunchy Nut?) for breakfast instead of second-rate cereals with UHT milk, cold toast and mingy tubs of marmalade? It could provide a new incentive to making those nasty 9am lectures.
Where will all this end? Shag Pile Through The Ages as an option for history students, alongside the Henrician Reformation and the Norman Conquest? Oxford University renaming itself 'Degrees R Us'?
Seriously though, with the Government cutting back as much as it can on education, it is probably a good thing for Oxford to see some more money coming its way, even if it means kicking some dons from the 19th into the 21st century. Other universities are doing it: look at the ex-Liverpool Poly, now called John Moores University after the pools tycoon. Our university could probably do with a bit of street cred. That namby-pamby Brideshead image dies hard.
More's the pity that members of Congregation aren't very street-wise. In your place, I would have had difficulty keeping a straight face at the spectacle of old men in gowns and hoods, sitting in some grand, marbled room debating the ins and outs of business sponsorship. Still, you are not so removed from this world as to miss an opportunity for extra cash when you see it.
The question is, after carpets and cornflakes, what comes next? How about something that really reflects student life? Rizla College or Slumberland Hall, perhaps?.
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