„I have not had your advantages, gentlemen. What poor education I have received has been gained in the University of Life.“
— Horatio Bottomley English financier, journalist, editor, newspaper proprietor, swindler, and Member of Parliament 1860 - 1933
Speaking at the Oxford Union, December 2, 1920; quoted in Beverley Nichols 25: Being a Young Man's Candid Recollections of his Elders and Betters (London, 1926), ch. 7, p. 69.
Sometimes said to have been the first usage of this now ubiquitous cliché, though in fact the phrase university of life had been in use for many years. Some early instances:
"The disciplined minds that go from [their university's] walls will be its jewels…It will worthily introduce them to the University of Life." ~ The New Englander and Yale Review (February 1853), p. 70.
"The late Professor Greenleaf…who, not born to affluence, and not bred up to scholarly studies, achieved an honorable scholarship in the university of life". ~ Cornelius Conway Felton An Address Delivered before the Association of the Alumni of Harvard College, July 20, 1854 (Cambridge, Mass., 1854), p. 7.
"But God be thanked…for the university of life where we may acquire, at the same time that we put in practice, the rules which are to fit us for, and conduct us through the eternities." Elizabeth D. Livermore Zoë (Cincinnati, 1855), p. 14.
"When our men go into the great university of life…there are few, indeed, who have practical reason to regret that so many years were spent in the severe but salutary discipline imposed by the University of Dublin." ~ The Dublin University Magazine (April 1858), p. 419.