Leading with distinction.
Unique in all of higher education, Oxford College features a small campus environment coupled with the resources of one of the world's leading research universities, Emory.
Oxford and Emory’s history is intertwined with that of the early Methodist Church, which received a charter for a new liberal arts college in 1836. In 1838 the church broke ground on 1,400 acres located north of Covington, Georgia, and named the new college Emory, in honor of Methodist Bishop John Emory.
The college and the newly created village of Oxford grew side by side. The influence of the leaders who guided those early days is evident in the campus streets and buildings named in their honor: Ignatius Alphonso Few, Alexander Means, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, and George Foster Pierce.
When Methodist leaders looked to create a university in the South some 80 years later, former Emory President Bishop Warren Akin Candler and his brother, Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Griggs Candler, made sure Emory College would be at the heart of this new university. In 1919 Emory College relocated to Atlanta to become part of Emory University.
A legacy of resilience
As the college planned for its move to Atlanta, what to do with the “old Emory” campus and its passionate alumni presented a challenge.
The historic Emory campus in Oxford first emerged as a residential college preparatory school called Emory University Academy. Within a decade, administrators realized they needed to add college-level courses to strengthen the school’s curriculum.
Emory Junior College at Oxford was launched in 1929 and shared facilities and resources with the academy. In 1935 leaders renamed the two schools Emory at Oxford.
A time for reinvention
In the late 1940s, leaders began reorganizing the Oxford curriculum into the South’s first accredited four-year junior college.
The four-year program combined an accelerated plan for the last two years of high school with the first two years of college. When that program struggled, the college once again adjusted its curriculum to ensure survival.
Rich in spirit but poor in financial resources, Oxford’s 19th-century buildings slipped into disrepair. Despite these challenges, the community of faculty, staff and students developed an extraordinary closeness and pride in their campus.
New name, familiar look
By the early 1960s Oxford had re-created itself once more. Renamed Oxford College of Emory University, the school transformed into a two-year college that highlighted excellence in teaching, small classes and close faculty-student relationships.
With this new direction, Oxford reaffirmed the strengths evident at "old Emory"—strong academic programs and support systems coupled with learning both in and out of the classroom.
Oxford continues to be a focused liberal arts program that lays the groundwork for students' final two years at Emory, at Emory College, Goizueta Business School or the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
Today, Oxford offers the distinct advantages that resulted from our singular historical transformation. We concentrate on educating first- and second-year students in a close-knit setting.
Our history of renewal and change perfectly position us to welcome a student body rich in cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.
The Methodist Episcopal Church founded Emory College in 1836 and likewise the small town that became its home in Georgia’s Newton County. They named the town for Oxford University, the alma mater of Methodism’s founders, and the school for John Emory, a bishop.
1861—College Must Wait
With the Civil War underway, Emory College closes its doors until January 1866. The campus in Oxford is commandeered to house Confederate soldiers wounded in the Battle of Atlanta and is later occupied by Union troops.
1880—A School's Promise
Inspired by Emory President Atticus Haygood’s sermon, “The New South,” George Seney, a Methodist layman from Brooklyn, New York, donates a large sum to Emory College. The college builds Seney Hall, Oxford’s iconic and most frequently photographed building.
1899—Sticks and Bones
A mysterious letter titled “Reflections of the Skeleton” appears in the student publication, Phoenix. The letter foreshadows the appearance of Dooley, now the mischievous spirit of Emory.
Emory’s Board of Trustees votes to relocate Emory College to a 75-acre tract of land in Atlanta. In 1919 the new campus, now a university, is complete. The old campus in Oxford remains.
After Emory College relocates, the original campus at Oxford is home to a series of educational formats over the next four decades, including a college preparatory academy, a junior college and a four-year high school/college combination.
The Co-Ed Club—the first organization of Oxford female students—was founded and included all 10 enrolled women in the Emory Junior College at Oxford, as it was then called. Most were daughters of faculty and staff or local residents.
Oxford shifts from being an all-male institution when the first full-time women students are admitted. In 1967 Oxford welcomes its first African American students.
The official name is changed to Oxford College of Emory University, signifying its role as one of two entry points for first-year Emory undergraduates.
1982—A Sports Dynasty
Men’s soccer wins its national tournament, with three players named All-Americans. In the 70s and 80s the team racks up 7 regional and 4 national titles. Today, intervarsity play includes men’s basketball and men’s and women’s cross country, golf, soccer, and tennis teams.
1988—Creating and Enhancing Leaders
Leadership Oxford is founded to establish greater camaraderie among student club leaders and to coordinate efforts across the student body. It becomes the cornerstone for Oxford’s stellar leadership program.
2006–present—A campus beauty
Oxford completes a decade of improvements to its campus including restoration of Language Hall and Seney Hall, transforming the interior campus into a pedestrian-only zone, new library and science buildings, a new dining hall, and three new residence halls.
History of Our Leadership
Deans of Oxford College
2016 Douglas A. Hicks
2005 Stephen H. Bowen
1999 Dana Greene
1986 William H. Murdy
1976 J. William Moncrief
1966 N. Bond Fleming
1945 Vigil Y. C. Eady
Associate Deans of Emory at Oxford
1934 George S. Roach
1930 Hugh A. Woodward
Principals of Emory University Academy
1922 A. W. Rees
1918 J. A. Sharp
1916 A. M. Hughlett
1915 Robert C. Mizell