"Welcome to South College. You are now a student at one of the world’s finest universities. You are also a Southie, and as such, a member of our wonderful College. During Welcome Week, you will begin to understand what this all means. You will also learn some of our South College values and traditions.
At our Welcome Formals, we will toast the values of liberty, equality and global citizenship, that are celebrated in our College motto. At South we raise the toast in the original Latin, so ‘Libertas, Aequalitas, Civitas Totius Mundi’. Fear not, the pronunciation is phonetic. First, of course, we all turn to face Oswald, our college mascot.
As you will have noticed, Oswald is more than an image in the top left section of our College shield. He is a repository of wisdom, genius and South College pride who appears in our midst as a large, wooden owl.
Ornithologists tell me Oswald looks like a Tawny Owl. In fact he is unique. Oswald can be a Tawny Owl, a Barn Owl or a Snowy Owl. It depends on his emotional state. In addition to being wooden, and thus heavy enough to deter theft by rival College rugby teams, Oswald is a sensitive owl. We treat him with respect. Oswald will attend your College Matriculation ceremony.
And, as we observe these South College Welcome Week traditions, my colleagues, Vice Principal Lee Worden, Assistant Principal Lynn Preston, and I, will recall how much has changed since the first South College freshers joined amidst a global pandemic.
Our first full cohort were not able to attend the university matriculation ceremony in the Cathedral, as you will. Nor did they enjoy the lively Welcome Week you will experience. It was a very difficult time, and yet one in which the spirit of innovation, determination and optimism that have come to characterise our community were already apparent.
South College has benefited enormously from their efforts. Now our College is renowned for its spirit of creativity and innovation. Southies share a collective determination to make the very most of our community. Their drive has been formidable, and it has helped South grow.
In the first three years, we have built for our college foundations that make us intensely proud. South is not just on the map as an ambitious college determined to make its mark amongst its longer established peers. Southies are winning prizes and recognition in Durham and beyond and in activities encompassing the full range of those for which Durham University is renowned.
Academically, we have topped the Evans table for two years in succession. In team and individual sports we are competing with the very best, and frequently winning. Southies are making a mark in music, sport and debating, mooting, journalism and drama. Entrepreneurship is thriving. Creativity, kindness and compassion are all around. South College Formals and Balls have a reputation for stylish inclusivity. There are few institutions of higher education in which you can hear music performed on a lute, piano or violin before raising a toast to a large, carved wooden owl.
Of course South is still new. You are only the fourth generation of South Freshers to join Durham University. That said, progress has been rapid and immensely gratifying. And you will maintain and perhaps accelerate the momentum.
Every student matriculating this autumn will contribute to our College’s growth. I hope and believe that each of you will help to enhance the culture and spirit of this seventeenth college at the third oldest university in England.
I am confident that, when Durham University celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2032, South will make a compelling contribution to the story of this great university.
Colleges are not just physical communities; they are virtual families too. This was true long before that term became linked to the use of digital technology. For nearly two centuries, alumni of the colleges of Durham University have met in offices, cafes and clubs, parks and pubs, theatres and stadia all over the world. They have reminisced and celebrated together. They have planned great enterprises and projects. Their work has inspired, entertained and enlightened millions.
Southies will continue and enhance this great tradition of achievement. I hope that in your time at Durham, you will enjoy your College immensely. Together, we will raise many toasts to Oswald. You will experience the warmth and inspiration for which South is already known. As you progress, you in turn will help new generations of students as our outstanding FREPs have helped you.
You are members of South College, and you will remain members for life, but that thought is for the future. During your time in Durham, I hope you will contribute to our teams clubs and societies and that you will enjoy College events including Formals, Winter and Summer Balls, South College Day and opportunities to meet visiting speakers and distinguished guests."
All best wishes,
Professor Tim Luckhurst MA, FRSA Principal of South College
Hi, I’m Haf and I’m the JCR President this year! The JCR provides opportunities to participate in sports, societies, and events and students are welcome to get involved in the running and planning of these and have their say in how the JCR is run. I’m so excited to welcome all the new students coming to South College this year and working with you all to give you the best possible start to your time at Durham University!
These pages are to help guide you through the initial steps in planning and knowing what to expect before coming to South College. We will update this page throughout the Summer and be in touch regularly via email to keep you updated on important information.
The Timetable has been designed so College events don’t clash with any of your academic departmental events, but offer you lots of opportunities to meet your fellow Freshers, find your way around and settle into student life.
Check out our student blogs to read more about life at Durham from our students. Don't forget to follow us on social media!
Contact us by phone or email below to find out more about admissions, student support and accommodation.
South CollegeThe DriveDurhamDH1 3LD
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 0999