UWE Bristol celebrates 20th birthday as a University

Issue date: 02 October 2012


Memories, Milestones and Moving forward

UWE Bristol celebrates 20th birthday as a University

UWE Bristol is celebrating 20 successful years as a University in October, with a raft of memorable achievements to look back on and great hopes for the future.

Since 1992, the then fledgling University, has grown and expanded, establishing itself regionally and nationally for teaching quality, the range and breadth of courses and its excellent relationships with partners and the local community.

Facts about UWE Bristol

· UWE is one of the largest providers of Higher Education in the UK.

· On average UWE students bring in around £125 million into the local economy each year. Funding and research income to UWE brings in around over £200 million to the local economy each year.

· UWE offers over 600 courses at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.

· UWE works with 1,125 business and community organisations including the BBC, HP, Oxfam, The Prince's Trust and Aardman Animations.

· UWE students contribute some 10,000 volunteering hours every year to community projects.

· UWE is investing £300 million in new infrastructure in its Frenchay Campus.

· Through the Alumni network, UWE stays in touch with its 170,000 alumni.

Celebrating UWE's 20th Birthday

See photo gallery

The University will celebrate its 20th Birthday, with a special anniversary event to thank the alumni, staff and partners who have contributed to its success.

The all day event will take place at UWE's Frenchay Campus on Saturday 6 October 2012, timed almost 20 years to the day that Bristol Polytechnic gained University status to become The University of the West of England on 5 October 1992.

UWE has a history built on partnerships and collaborations dating back to 1595. Pivotal to the event is a 150 ft long interactive exhibition of rare footage, photos and archive material chronicling the timeline and key achievements of the University from its 16th century educational roots as Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers' Navigation School, to the 1969 launch of Bristol Polytechnic and the growth and future direction of the modern day UWE. This has also been captured in a film to be played at the event.Click to see the trailer

The colourful exhibition is brought to life through over 200 black and white and colour photos kindly provided by friends of the University including The Glenside Hospital Museum, alumni and former staff - for example, former UWE-solicitor and amateur historian, William Evans, author of University of the West of England, Bristol – A Family History.

The 700 expected visitors will be able to add to the exhibition by sharing their personal stories and memories on the day, either to a special board or by visiting a video diary booth.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steven West will welcome guests and talk about the future direction of the University. He said, “I joined the University in 1995 as Dean of Health and Social Care. At that time we were three years old and were growing very fast. My first job was to bring three Colleges of Health into the University to create the largest Faculty of Health and Social Care in the UK.

“Over the last 17 years I have seen UWE grow and develop. It has gained reputation, confidence and standing in a national and international context. Our contributions through learning and teaching, research, innovation and civic and community leadership have been extensive and highly valued.

“I am really excited that we will be celebrating our 20th Birthday as a University this year. We are rightly proud of the significant achievements of our staff and students, each of them have played a part and I hope will continue to engage and help shape UWE as we project into the future. I have every confidence that we will continue to be ambitious, innovative, and creative and will grow in reputation, standing and impact as we look forward to the next 20 years.”

Famous graduates who are supporting the event include appearances and filmed interviews from artists, radio presenters and entrepreneurs who will be sharing their memories of their time at the University.

UWE Honorary graduate Richard Noble OBE will give the keynote address, updating the audience on the progress of his land speed record breaking project 'Bloodhound'. Visitors will be able to see the full size replica show car and have a go at the Bloodhound Driver Experience Simulator.

Comedian, Miranda Hart and Double Olympic Gold medallist, Rower Pete Reed have donated items for a Silent Auction at the event which will raise funds to allocate bursaries for UWE students.

Fresh from success in London, Pete has donated some of his Olympic kit to be auctioned. Pete who famously learnt to row at UWE explains how the opportunity came about. He said, “I took up rowing in my second year at university just by chance. I was at the Fresher's Fair promoting the University Royal Navy Unit as part of my obligation to the Royal Navy whilst at UWE when a group of people asked me to join the rowing team because I was tall. I wanted to stay fit and meet new people, so I agreed and have loved the sport ever since.”

Drawing on the challenges of succeeding as a professional athlete, he also has some strong words of encouragement for students/graduates on how they can reach their goals. He adds, “I have suffered many more dark and tough times than those of glory. It's the setbacks that make us stronger when we push hard enough to get through them. Great champions are in pain most of the time and lose more than they win. Keep at it. Stay focussed on what you are aiming for and why you want it.”

Music and artistic performances from the University's Centre for Performing Arts will top off a memorable day in the University's heritage.

For more information on the event see: 20th anniversary event

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