Philip English

Oxford University

Philip has undertaken a broad range of work with Oxford University, including ambitious fund-raising initiatives and a scholarship scheme for talented Chinese students.

Oxford University

Philip’s association with the city of Oxford began when – living in nearby Chipping Warden - his son attended Magdalen College School. Having seen his son attain a premier choral scholarship in order to attend, Philip became involved in widening access to the choir school through the scholarship system. Working closely with its then President, Anthony Smith, he was able to help raise the level of funds that were offered through scholarships, so opening access to boys who would formerly have been excluded on financial grounds.

It was a natural step for Philip to become involved with other scholarship funds in the University, and it was in the early 2000s that he was invited to be involved with the China Oxford Scholarship Fund. Based on the model of the earlier Hong Kong Oxford Scholarship Fund, the aim of the initiative was to raise money in order to support students from China attending the University of Oxford. Philip was closely involved with the COSF’s establishment and took on the Chairmanship of the working group charged with its formation and meeting its fundraising goals.

A particular focus for Philip was his vision of the creation of a mirror image of the University’s esteemed Rhodes Scholarship, with the aim of supporting up to 20 scholarships per annum for Chinese students. The outcome was that the Chinese Premier acknowledged that "any one person coming through that programme would be viewed as a vital national resource to the leadership of China" and so raised the profile and recognition of COSF and its activities.

Working closely with Jon Dellandrea, Oxford University’s then Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Development and External Affairs, much progress was achieved, with the work of the scholarship group dovetailing closely with that of the University, including working trips in China and Hong Kong to promote the work of the University and increase sponsors and support of the Chinese scholars at Oxford.

One major goal accomplished was the opening of the Oxford China Centre in 2008 which provides the University with a platform for China-related studies across the University and plays a key role in strengthening its relationship with China and other centres of Chinese studies worldwide.

Philip has since resigned from this post in order to make more time available for fundraising and development activities with his other charities.