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17 May 2016

York St John celebrates its 175th anniversary

175 years ago today – on 17 May, 1841 – York St John University’s founding college opened its doors for the first time. Then it was a teacher training centre serving Britain’s embryonic universal education system; now it is one of England’s most successful modern universities, producing highly employable graduates for the global market.

CAMPUSAs it celebrates this landmark anniversary, the University is using the occasion to reflect on its heritage as one of the oldest higher education establishments in England and on its long tradition of delivering high quality education.

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor, said: “17 May is an extra-special day in an extraordinary year. It is one of the high points of our anniversary year and an opportunity for colleagues to celebrate this historic milestone, as well as for the University to mark the occasion formally with the wider community.

“There aren’t many universities or colleges in the country, or indeed the world, which have been providing quality education for as long as we have; and the University’s magnificent achievements over the past 175 years should be a source of great pride for everyone.”

Activities to mark the anniversary include a whole staff event on campus this afternoon (Tuesday 17 May), and a celebration dinner for invited guests, presided over by The Chancellor, Archbishop John Sentamu and Pro Chancellor, Ann Green CBE, later in the week (Thursday 19 May).

Although this is the University’s official anniversary week, a series of commemorative events has been scheduled throughout 2016. The anniversary year began with Professor Stanton’s inaugural lecture in January. This was followed by a special talk to Business School students and guests by Sir Ian Gibson in March, and a Go York lecture in April by Robert Hiscox, the Honorary President of Hiscox Insurance.

The University has also welcomed back on campus distinguished alumni including Manvinder Rattan, the Musical Director at John Lewis; BAFTA Winner Chris Hees; and successful author and businesswoman, Jesse Toksvig-Stewart. We are also holding a major alumni reunion in August to give all former members of the York St John student community a chance to revisit their time here, meet up with old friends and perhaps make some new ones.

Anniversary events scheduled for later in the year, which are also open to the public, include a series of lectures featuring honorary graduate Sandi Toksvig, Aesthetica founder and alumna Cheri Federico, and honorary graduate and Paralympic athlete Martine Wright.

The celebratory year will officially close with the annual Christmas Carol Service in York Minster on 8 December.

Although this special anniversary has been an opportunity to reflect on the past, it has also offered York St John University the chance to shape its ambitions for the future based on the firm foundations of its historic legacy.

Professor Stanton added: “We pride ourselves on the fact that our success over the past 175 years can partly be attributed to our strong values, some of which have remained unchanged since those early days.

"As I said at my inauguration, we are simply temporary custodians of this great institution, developing and preparing it for the next generation. That process, however, will continue to be supported and strengthened by our historic values and, combined with our mission – 'To inspire students and staff to reach their full potential, advance knowledge and make a positive contribution to the world'– will help propel York St John forward to even greater success in the years to come.”

Tickets are not yet available for the autumn season of the Go York lectures, please check the website for updates or contact events@yorksj.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.

Visit the 175 webpage for more information.

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