Regular donors to St John’s make all the difference when it comes to preserving and improving all areas of College life, and we are delighted that almost 1,000 alumni currently have a monthly, quarterly or annual gift set up to the College.

Regular gifts allow us to plan for the future, and ensure that every generation of students and staff can be supported. We rely on these gifts, whatever the amount, and want to express our thanks to everyone who makes a regular gift. 

We are especially grateful to the many St John’s alumni who choose to make particularly generous regular gifts to the College. To convey our gratitude, we have created a new group to celebrate these donors. 

The 1555 Society has been established to give special recognition and thanks to the College’s most generous regular supporters, who give £1,555 (circa $2,000) or more per year. This can be on an annual basis, or spread out over a monthly or quarterly gift. 

Every year gifts from 1555 Society donors make an important difference to the fabric of the College and its community. Taken together, the collective gifts from all 1555 Society members currently equate to an endowment gift of over £1.5m. 

1555 Society donors have been helping to provide vital coronavirus relief; offering scholarship support for our outstanding graduate students; helping to expand our access and outreach initiatives; and maintaining our world-class tutorial system. 

These areas are all ongoing priorities for St John’s. Each year we depend upon the kind philanthropy of alumni, and we are delighted that so many have chosen to join the 1555 Society with such generous regular gifts. In thanks, 1555 Society members will be invited to an annual event, will receive regular updates on the impact of their generosity, and will be recognised as members in College publications. Take a look at the roll of Benefactors in our recent Benefactors magazine to see who has joined already. 

Our ambition is to grow this Society significantly over the coming months and years. If you are interested in joining the 1555 Society or would like to discuss the details of it further, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing

" I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a student in this special place, which would not have been possible without donors like you: thank you. " Alice Watson (Geography and the Environment, 2018)

Alice Watson, a DPhil candidate in Geography and the holder of one of our 450th Anniversary Scholarships, which were generously endowed by alumni, discussed why being able to study at Oxford has been so important to her. 

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Firstly, I would like to express my enormous thanks for your generosity and to say how grateful I am to be a 450th Anniversary Scholar at St John’s. It is a real privilege to study for a Geography DPhil at Oxford and it would not be possible without your support. 

I am now in my third year and can hardly believe where the time has gone! My research explores how radio shapes geographical imaginations; in other words, how broadcasts paint pictures through sounds and the spoken word and call on listeners to imagine spaces, places, and people in their mind’s eye. My thesis connects these ideas with geopolitics of migration, examining how Europe’s migration ‘crisis’ was portrayed on BBC Radio 4, and how selected broadcasts were produced by journalists and interpreted by listeners. 

Oxford is such a vibrant and exciting place to live as well as study. I play for the University’s golf team and present a show called Oxford College Castaway on our student radio station. I have really enjoyed being part of the College’s Women’s Leadership Programme, which has been a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow postgraduates and hear from inspiring alumnae. 

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a student in this special place, which would not have been possible without donors like you: thank you.

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Dr Dan Guhr matriculated in 1993 to read for an MSc in Comparative and International Education, before completing a DPhil in Educational Studies – both at St John’s. Below, he writes about why he decided to join the 1555 Society.

Joining the 1555 Society was an easy and heartfelt decision. St John’s to this day positively contributes to all our lives – through fellow students who became dear friends, substantial and long-standing contributions to scientific discovery, and generous hospitality to its alumni. Supporting St John’s in continuing to educate the next generation of talented students, and to attract excellent faculty members, is something we all should unite behind.