Our History

Founded in 1899 as a College for women at a time when women were not able to take University degrees, St Mary’s College has played an important part in the history of higher education in the UK and internationally. The principles of social justice and equality of opportunity upon which the College was founded are still as important to our mixed College community today as in 1899.

Our Mission

We aim to provide our undergraduate and postgraduate students with:

  • An outstanding student experience with opportunities for personal development and academic success;
  • A safe, caring and enjoyable environment in which to live and study;
  • A readiness for post-University life that encompasses the principles of equality, diversity, respect and understanding; and
  • A lifelong affiliation and sense of belonging to the College community.

Our Core Values

Achievement: We value intellectual excellence and academic achievement alongside high rates of participation in College life.

Diversity: We celebrate the diversity of our community and seek to create an environment where all people are valued and included.

Equality: We engage with race, gender, disability, sexuality and class in order to promote equality.

Integrity: We seek to behave ethically, transparently, and fairly in all that we do.

Respect: We treat people with thoughtfulness, dignity, and with open minds.

Wellbeing: We encourage members of our community to recognise their own self-worth and to value their wellbeing and that of others.

Our commitments

We are committed to actively implementing and promoting these values in all aspects of our life as a College community. This commitment extends to all students and staff and across all of our common rooms and manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Our College has a strong sense of community that values its history and traditions. At the same time, we believe that it is important to continue to be progressive and holistic in our attitudes.
  • The St Mary’s College community is diverse and comprises of people from over 40 different nations and from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. We celebrate and value the richness and strength that this diversity brings to us.
  • We are an inclusive College. We actively seek to include all of our members in College life and we encourage participation at all levels. Our clubs and societies share a responsibility to welcome all students, regardless of background, and to ensure all members feel comfortable and safe within the group.
  • Respect is important to us. We avoid making assumptions about people based on age, race, disability, religious belief, class, gender, or sexuality. We do not tolerate the use of language which is derogatory.
  • We do not support practices that stereotype, demean or harass people. This includes ensuring that socials and events avoid themes that encourage or perpetuate stereotypes, such as those based on gendered, sexual or racial assumptions.
  • We support the right of people to be themselves, to make decisions freely and of their own accord and the importance of sexual respect and full and informed consent.
  • We are also mindful of our place in the wider local community and the importance of respecting our neighbours. We recognise our influence on our natural surroundings and we support initiatives that seek to minimise our negative impact on the environment.

This statement of St Mary’s College values was generated through an inclusive workshop of students and staff. It was adopted in 2015 and is subject to continual review.