Henry Kloppenburg (1968, Civil Law) came to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He is one of a long line of Rhodes Scholars who came to Exeter from the province of Saskatchewan in the Canadian Prairies.
Saskatchewan is well-known at the College on account of the lecture theatre under staircase 9 which bears its name, built in the 1980s thanks to generous donations from Henry and his wife Cheryl and several fellow Saskatchewan Rhodes Scholars. It was Henry who organised the campaign among Exonians from Saskatchewan, encouraged by then Rector Lord Crowther-Hunt (Lady Hunt also having a Saskatchewan connection).
Henry lived on Staircase 11 both years he was at the College. He was offered Tariq Ali’s former room for his second year, popular accommodation because it boasted central heating (which sometimes failed). Henry distinctly remembers the polyester in his trousers melting when he stood too close to the electric fire on a cold winter’s day!
Henry feels that the defining quality of Oxford’s excellence comes from both the tutorial system and the existence of a social life and community in college which bring together individuals of diverse backgrounds. This is why he believes in the ethos of Cohen Quadrangle, which “will provide accommodation for superior tutorial / teaching facilities and support relationships among the students of the College.”
Henry and his wife Cheryl have made a generous donation towards Cohen Quadrangle, specifically towards the construction of a seminar room which is to be named the Kloppenburg-Saskatchewan Room in a nod to the Turl Street lecture theatre he helped make possible 30 years ago. “Through this donation, my wife and I wish to acknowledge my debt to Exeter College for my time there. I am also grateful to give recognition to the connection of my home province of Saskatchewan”, Henry wrote.
Henry believes that the new quadrangle will foster an active community among the students in residence that would not be possible if they were dispersed in private accommodation around Oxford. This community life will in turn, he feels, result in greater benefit to students from the richness of the tutorial system. He adds that being able to live in a contemporary urban residence with good internet facilities will be a great improvement.
Henry finishes by saying “I would like to applaud the vision of Rector Cairncross and Governing Body for making this leap of faith for Exeter, and to Exonians for their support. We ought to be exceedingly grateful for that Rector’s contributions to the College during her tenure and for the current Rector’s acceptance of the challenge of making that vision come to be. “
This week Gez Wells, our Deputy Bursar, Hannah Constantine and Alison Brooks from Alison Brooks Architects, the College’s quantity surveyor and members of the Mace building team visited Hartham Park Quarry to inspect the stone that will be used to build Cohen Quadrangle.
Hartham Park, in the village of Corsham, near Bath, provided the stone that was used for the restoration of the Chapel in 2008. The quarry lies 70 feet underground in a tunnel that stretches underneath the entire village; this is the route that our intrepid team took to see the stone in situ.
400 tonnes of stone are to be quarried for use on Cohen Quad. 20 tonnes have already been quarried and are waiting to be cut into shape in a stonemason’s yard in Witney, Oxfordshire.
Cohen Quad has been made possible thanks to the support of hundreds of people giving hundreds of donations, both large and small. We would like to celebrate our donors and so over the next few months we will be posting ‘supporter stories’ interspersed with our building updates, introducing just some of the many generous people who have got us this far. Our first supporter story comes from Henry Brown:
Henry Brown came up to Exeter in 1967 to read Chemistry. His accommodation experience was fairly typical of that of a 1960s undergraduate: a year on staircase 9 overlooking the Broad, a year in staircase 3 next to the Hall and two years in private lodgings in North Oxford.
Henry and his wife Jane were early supporters of the Cohen Quad project, choosing to direct their support towards the ‘Hanging Room’ in the Learning Commons, a spacious seminar room which appears suspended in mid-air.
He is excited by the additional accommodation and teaching space that the new quadrangle affords, saying “I always felt Exeter was disadvantaged by its early foundation on a site which left little room for expansion (though Dr Maddicott’s recent book, Founders and Fellowship, shows how very much was achieved on the Turl Street site). The former Ruskin College site gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change this, and I was inspired by Frances Cairncross’s determination that we should seize it to mark the 700th anniversary. It was right to think big and to build the best possible facilities for the future.”
Henry is looking forward to seeing how Exeter’s Turl and Walton Street sites will work together, “revolving around each other like the earth and the moon, so that all college members will get the benefit of both.” He feels that Cohen Quad’s multi-purpose rooms will fit well with the informal way that students operate today.
He is also delighted that Exeter will have a presence on Walton Street in particular: “Oxford is a supremely walkable university. Cohen Quad will get Exeter students out of the central area (in the 1960s, only scientists or those in search of female undergraduates went very far). Walton Street itself is on the way up with the Blavatnik School of Government almost completed and the other developments on the site of what was the Radcliffe Infirmary. It’s great that Exeter should have a presence there.”
You can now stand on the first floor of Cohen Quad! The area above the main entrance, Porters’ Lodge and ground floor seminar room has been laid during the last few days. Standing up here, you can look down the whole site as the rest of the first floor is completed. Here are some photos taken on a glorious June afternoon in Jericho: