Weʼre raising £10,000 to to establish a faculty undergraduate prize for Czech with Slovak at the University of Oxford in memory of Dr James Naughton
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I am raising money to establish an annual Faculty prize for students of Czech with Slovak language and literature at Oxford University in memory of Dr James Naughton. The prize will act as a fitting, lasting tribute to Jim, who was lecturer in Czech and Slovak at Oxford from 1988 until his untimely death in 2014 and was famous and much loved for the time and care he devoted to his students and subject.
I was lucky enough to be one of Jim's first undergraduate students from 1991-1995 when Czech and Slovak were first offered as undergraduate languages at Oxford. Back then it was one of a number of similar courses in the UK. Today the course at Oxford is an increasingly rare species in the UK - offering an in-depth four years studying Czech and Slovak literature as well as language. Like many students of Czech and Slovak, I came to my studies through my own curiosity and a bit of luck. I had been offered a place to read single honours Russian at St. Anne's College and soon realised that the compulsory linguistics papers wouldn't be the best use for me of four years of study. The year was 1991 and I had spent the last couple of years inspired by Václav Havel, the playwright president. I saw I could take a subsidiary in Czech and rang the faculty office. Jim picked up and told me I could take Czech with Slovak as part of a joint honours course with Russian for the first time that year and as yet he didn't have a student. I'll be your student, I believe I replied. That was the end of August, my studies were to start in early October. And so started an extraordinary four year adventure with the most gifted and generous of teachers.
Czech with Slovak grew to a steady four to six undergraduates each year as well as Masters and doctoral students, and continues to thrive to this day under the very able guidance of Dr Rajendra Chitnis. The prize will put Czech and Slovak on a par with other degree languages at Oxford, all of which award prizes, and through this venture, I hope that others will be inspired to go on to study Czech with Slovak - such rewarding languages with a great literature, film and theatre culture. There is part of Jim which I always carry with me as he and my studies in Czech and Slovak were so key in helping me developing an independent and inquiring mind. Our aim is to raise £10,000 which will create an annual prize of £300 annually to the best result in the final examinations. Hopefully it will inspire some others to embark on a degree in Czech with Slovak at Oxford.
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- 10 days ago
William Galinsky10 days ago
Many thanks to everyone for their generous donations. We have now made our target and I am arranging to transfer the donations to the university. Dr Rajendra Chitnis is liaising between myself, the faculty and Jim's family for the next steps. I will post any updates about the launch of the prize in due course. Thanks once again, William Galinsky
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Aug 31, 2021
A fitting memorial for my brother in law, Jimmy.
Aug 17, 2021
Aug 13, 2021
Great idea and a lovely way to pay tribute to a professor who gave so much to those around him!
Aug 5, 2021
Aug 5, 2021
Aug 5, 2021
Jul 28, 2021
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About the fundraiser
William is an artistic director, arts consultant and theatre director based in London. After reading Russian & Czech (with Slovak) at Oxford University, William embarked on a career as a theatre director and was artistic director of two international arts festivals.