The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies was founded as an educational charity in 1975 by Drs. John and Sandy Feneley. Since then, it has provided a high quality study abroad semester program in its extensive facility, St. Michael’s Hall, at the heart of the ancient city of Oxford. Middlebury-CMRS students are associate members of Keble College, Oxford, with access to all Keble facilities, and also hold Bodleian Library cards.
The Feneleys made CMRS their life’s work. They chose an academic focus and devised the unique curriculum. They were responsible for recruitment, orientation, field trips and every aspect of student life. They carried out extensive renovations on the facility, creating the impressive Feneley Library. For almost 40 years, their personal care and oversight made the program a success for thousands of students from a wide variety of US colleges and universities. Through organizing summer conferences and colloquia, the Feneleys enabled CMRS to become a center for visiting US faculty as well.
The program established a close relationship with Keble College, one of the largest, friendliest and best equipped of the Oxford colleges. That connection continues today.
In 2014, CMRS became part of the global network of Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad. Though the program began with a focus on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the program curriculum has been widened to include Humanities courses in all subjects and periods, including 19th and 20th century topics. Languages and some Social Science courses are also available.
Middlebury-CMRS also funds the CMRS Career Development Fellowship at Keble College and is proud to be the home of the Feneley Library Trust. The Feneley Library holds over 16,000 volumes dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the medieval and early modern periods, as well as caring for several specialized collections on permanent loan.