Encaenia, held annually on the Wednesday of ninth week of Trinity Term, is the ceremony at which the University awards honorary degrees to distinguished men and women from across the globe, and commemorates its benefactors. This important event has been held in the Sheldonian Theatre since 1670. You can find further information, including how to obtain tickets, on the Encaenia webpage.
The University of Oxford's annual ceremonies are historic events that are steeped in tradition
Year of Visit
|Head of State/Royal Family Member|
|2011||His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano||President of Italy||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|2008||His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein||King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|2006||His Majesty King Harald V of Norway||King of Norway||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|2005||His Excellency Carlo Azeglio Ciampi||President of Italy||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|2002||His Excellency Fernando Henrique Cardoso||President of The Federative Republic of Brazil||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1998||Václav Havel||President of the Czech Republic||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1998||His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan||King of Jordan||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1997||His Excellency Professor Roman Herzog||President of the Federal Republic of Germany||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1996||His Excellency Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela||President of the Republic of South Africa||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma (awarded in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace where he also received honorary degrees from seven other UK Universities)|
|1995||His Excellency Dr Árpád Göncz||President of Hungary||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1994||His Excellency President Bill Clinton||President of United States of America||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1993||Her Excellency Mary Robinson||President of Ireland||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1993||His Excellency Dr Mário Soares||President of Portugal||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1992||His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei||Head of State and Absolute Monarch of Brunei||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1992||Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark||Queen of Denmark||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1991||HIH Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan||Crown Prince of Japan||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1989||Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain||Queen consort of Spain||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1988||His Excellency Richard von Weizsäcker||President of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany until 1990)||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1987||His Excellency Professor Francesco Cossiga||President of Italy||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
His Majesty King Baudouin of Belgium
|King of Belgium||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1987||Rt. Hon Roy Jenkins||Chancellor of the University of Oxford||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1986||His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain||King of Spain||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1985||His Excellency Sandro Pertini||President of Italy||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1983||HRH Prince Charles||Prince of Wales||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1973||His Excellency Léopold Sédar Senghor||President of Senegal||Degree of Doctor of Letters by Diploma|
|1964||HRH Prince Philip||Duke of Edinburgh||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1960||Harold Macmillan||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
|1955||His Majesty King Gustav VI of Sweden||King of Sweden||Degree of Doctor of Letters by Diploma|
|1948||HRH Princess Elizabeth||Duchess of Edinburgh (now Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)||Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma|
The Senior Proctor, Junior Proctor and the Assessor are elected annually by the colleges in a set cycle. As well as being members of key decision-making committees within the University, the Proctors and Assessor ensure that the University operates according to its statutes. Since 2013, the Admission Ceremony takes place in the Sheldonian Theatre.
Annually, the Vice-Chancellor’s Oration is delivered in noughth week of Michaelmas term at a special meeting of Congregation, in the Sheldonian Theatre. Pro-Vice-Chancellors for the coming year are admitted to office at this time. The Vice-Chancellor is also admitted at this ceremony in a year in which the holder of the office changes.
Dating back to at least the sixteenth century, it has been the tradition in Oxford for white gloves to be presented to the Judge in Commission by the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the University and by the Lord Mayor on behalf of the City. This takes place in the Dean’s Drawing Room at Christ Church. After the presentation of the gloves, those present process to the Cathedral for the Court Sermon, where a College Chaplain is usually appointed to preach.
The Vice-Chancellor’s admission ceremony takes place in the Sheldonian Theatre and is presided over by the Chancellor. It is formally a meeting of Congregation although other guests may be invited also. During the ceremony, the incoming Vice-Chancellor receives the insignia of office and is admitted to the role by the Proctors. Professor Louise Richardson was admitted as the 272nd Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 12 January 2016.
If you are organising your own event and would like advice or for the Events Office to plan and manage the event for you, please see our event management service page for further information.
- Academic dress
- University Events Office
- Conference Oxford (for venue booking and advice)