Harris Manchester's long tradition of educational inclusion has been highlighted in a special blog post by the Principal, Professor Jane Shaw, for the University of Oxford's Opening Oxford 1871 project.
The College has a long history of educating people who would historically have been excluded from a university education, starting with its initial foundation as a dissenting academy in Warrington in 1757, open to all regardless of religious creed. By the time the College arrived in Oxford in 1889, it was already (and, for the time, unusually) co-educational, admitting both men and women as students. The inclusive tradition continues in Harris Manchester's present-day status as the only Oxford college specifically for mature students over the age of 21, and in the fact that the College Chapel is one of very few in the University which is licensed to host same-sex weddings.
Opening Oxford 1871 is a project commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Universities Tests Acts of 1871 - which abolished the religious tests requiring members of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities to be members of the established Church of England - and exploring the ongoing widening of access to Oxford University (and some of the ongoing barriers to this) in the ensuing century and a half.