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William Crowe (1745–1829), Public Orator at the University of Oxford.

The Public Orator is a traditional official post at universities, especially in the United Kingdom. The person in this position acts as the voice of the university during public occasions.[1]

The position at Oxford University dates from 1564.[2] The Public Orator at the University presents honorary degrees, giving an oration for each person that is honoured. They may be required to compose addresses and letters as directed by the Hebdomadal Council of the University. Speeches when members of the royal family are present may also be required. The post was instituted for a visit to Oxford by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566. The Public Orator, Thomas Kingsmill, gave a very long historical speech. Sir Isaac Wake addressed King James I similarly in 1605.

At the University of Cambridge, the title for the position changed from "Public Orator" to "Orator" in 1926.[3] Trinity College Dublin in Ireland also has a Public Orator.[4] There is no equivalent position in American universities.[5]


List of Public OratorsEdit


Oxford UniversityEdit

See also Category:Public Orators of the University of Oxford.

Cambridge UniversityEdit

See also Category:Cambridge University Orators.

Liverpool UniversityEdit

Durham UniversityEdit

Birkbeck, University of LondonEdit


Trinity College, DublinEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Definition: public orator". Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. 1913. Retrieved 10 August 2012. External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Public Orator". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 341. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  3. ^ "Orator/Public Orator". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  4. ^ "John Victor Luce, Public Orator 1972–2005". Dublin, Republic of Ireland: Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  5. ^ Schilling, Bernard N. (June 1959). "The Public Orator and Gradum Honoris Causa". AAUP Bulletin. 45 (2). American Association of University Professors. pp. 260–271. JSTOR 40222429.
  6. ^ Waugh E 1935
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "List". Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  8. ^