News

Portrait of Christine Ferdinand unveiled

15th March 2018

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Magdalen’s former Fellow Librarian Dr Christine Ferdinand lit up our libraries for nearly 25 years, and now, thanks to a new portrait, she’ll be lighting up the Buckler building in the Longwall Library for many years to come.

Christine came to Oxford from Bakersfield, California, via the universities of California (BA English Literature), Iowa (MA English Literature and Library Science) and Leeds (MA Bibliography and Textual Criticism). In 1992, after completing her DPhil at Oxford and spending two years as a Leverhulme Research Fellow, she became Fellow Librarian at Magdalen.

In her time as Fellow Librarian, Christine oversaw the biggest Library redevelopment project at Magdalen since the Buckler building was converted from a school into Magdalen’s Library in 1932, running part of the Library for a time from a temporary tent-like structure in St Swithun’s Quad.

Christine’s positivity and energy made a huge impact on everyone who met her. Deanna McHugh, (1993) remembers her as a ‘remarkable, talented and accomplished woman’.

“[She is] a powerful inspiration and advocate for women everywhere, and an absolute champion in my eyes,” she said. “She makes this world a better place.”

Daryl Green, the current Librarian, said, “Christine’s portrait belongs in the magnificent refurbished library that she oversaw for the last decade of her time in College. For the first half of her career here, she inhabited a much different library space, old and worn and in need of improvement.

“As much as the new Longwall Library will stand as a testament for her enthusiasm in driving forward the needs of a 21st century college, her portrait will give future College members a personal glimpse of this remarkable woman who had the enthusiasm and stamina to see this library come to life.”

Christine retired as Librarian in 2016 and become Emeritus Fellow at Magdalen. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and remains an active member of the College community.

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The portrait was unveiled on Wednesday 14th March in the foyer of the Longwell Library. Along with friends, students and colleagues – old and new – Christine was joined by her husband, Senator Russ Feingold (1975) and son, Matt Brack.

The painting will be part of the College’s permanent collection and will hang on the ground floor of the Buckler building.

Christine’s portrait is the third in a series which recognise the remarkable contribution of female Fellows at Magdalen. The other portraits feature Professor Elizabeth Fricker and Professor Dame Frances Kirwan.

The artist is James Lloyd who has won both the BP Portrait Award and the Ondaatje Portrait Prize.