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Balliol College Chapel Choir

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Biography

Balliol College (pronounced /ˈbeɪlɪəl/), founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England.

Balliol is Oxford’s most popular college, measured in terms of the number of applications for entry from prospective students. In 2005, Balliol had the largest number of applications of any Oxford college both from undergraduate students and from graduate students (for at least the third year running), according to the college website. Balliol also traditionally attracts more international students than the other undergraduate colleges. As of 2006, Balliol had an endowment of £78m.

Traditionally, the undergraduates are amongst the most politically active in the university, and the college’s alumni include three former prime ministers. H. H. Asquith (a Balliol undergraduate and British Prime Minister) once wryly described Balliol men as possessing “the tranquil consciousness of an effortless superiority”. Adam Smith, a graduate student of the college, is perhaps its best known alumnus. During Benjamin Jowett’s Mastership in the 19th century, the College rose from its relative obscurity to occupy the first rank of colleges, and indeed continues to play a prominent role. In 2006, 45.1% of finalists got First Class Honours degrees, a higher proportion than any other Oxford college has ever achieved, and was placed second in the Norrington Table.

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