Tradition and continuity are two of the values which characterise the relationship between Freemasonry and universities.
It was nearly 200 years ago that the first university Lodge, Apollo University Lodge, was founded at Oxford, with Isaac Newton University Lodge following soon afterwards at Cambridge. Since then many thousands of young men have been introduced to Freemasonry through these two Lodges, and they provided the inspiration for the Universities Scheme. This was set up at the beginning of 2005 with the objective: ‘To establish and/or enhance arrangements and opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to enjoy Freemasonry’.
There are now 85 other Lodges pursuing a similar, yet distinct, course. Their membership consists of undergraduates, postgraduates, senior members of the university and alumni, ranging in age from 18 upwards. All under-25s benefit from the recent decision by Grand Lodge to halve their dues in order to make Freemasonry as accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The Scheme is headed by the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, who explains: “We know from these long-established university lodges that students – whether undergraduates or postgraduates – enjoy Freemasonry to the full. Through the Universities Scheme, we hope that university members from all over the country will be able to gain the same inspiration, fulfilment and enjoyment.”