Lancaster aims to celebrate 50th anniversary year in style

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2014 is Lancaster University’s 50th anniversary and a series of events have been planned to commemorate it. The events will be varied and go on throughout 2014.

Lancaster University was established by royal charter in 1964 and accepted its first students in October of the same year.  The university was one of seven ‘plate glass’ institutions founded during the same time period. Upon opening campus was temporarily based in the City of Lancaster. The current campus at Bailrigg opened two years later, in 1966.

Since its opening, Lancaster has gone on to be ranked as a top 10 higher education institution in the league tables of many national publications in the United Kingdom.

There are numerous events planned to commemorate the anniversary and the University has stated more will be announced as the year develops.

LUSU will also be “heavily involved” according to Joel Pullan, LUSU President and a member of the 50th Anniversary Steering group. Pullan told SCAN that his position allowed him to “see how things are progressing and provide input on all aspects of the 50th.” He went on to explain that LUSU involvement would include the “50th Roses event in summer” which is “one of the ‘big five’ events happening.”

According to Pullan, LUSU have also secured a “large amount of University funding,” which will “provide activities and opportunities for students to get involved in the 50th, such as ULMS commissioning and performing a piece of music for the 50th.”

Central to the celebrations will be the involvement of alumni. An appeal has been posted on the Lancaster University alumni page calling for graduates to attend events. These include numerous reunions such as a ‘Grand Alumni Reunion Dinner’, ‘Global Alumni Gathering’, and a reception for the 2014 Roses weekend. There will also be a reception for graduates who do not live close to Lancaster, which will take place in London.

Alumni living abroad will also get the chance to be involved in the celebrations with receptions in India, China, America, Malaysia and Singapore throughout the year.  Also, a ‘Global Alumni Gathering’ will allow both alumni and current students to send messages back to Lancaster to join in the celebrations that will take place on campus on the September 13th.

Many of the anniversary events will be academic in nature. A series of public lectures will take place, spaced throughout the year, on a variety of topics. The University say that these lectures will feature “internationally renowned experts at the forefront of their specialist fields about world-changing research, discoveries and projections for the future.”

Also spread over a period of time will be the ‘Westminster Faith debates’, taking place between February and May. According to the University, these are “a series of free faith debates which are open to all. The debates bring together leading academics and public figures to debate the latest research on religion and values.”  The debates are organised by Linda Woodhead, Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University and Charles Clarke, former UK Home Secretary.

Another key academic celebration will be the Lancaster University Life Sciences event. Here the University say they will be “working with Bionow Ltd to host an event to celebrate 50 years of life science research at the University.”

The Life Sciences event aims to provide a networking opportunity for both businesses and academics. The university hope this will lead to cooperation in the Life Sciences field. The event will feature an exhibition which will show some of Lancaster University and its partner’s key achievements. The University say that there will also be key note speakers from both industry and the NHS.

Some founding departments of the university will also hold their own celebrations, such as the Management Science department’s anniversary event. The Languages Department will also host a ball for staff, students and alumni.

There will be other academic events taking place during the 50th anniversary year, such as the ‘C4AR Pathways to Impact Seminar Series’. This will focus on how life can be improved for over 65 year olds in the UK.

The celebrations will not be limited to current students and alumni; the ‘Staff and Families Celebration’ in summer will allow university staff to get involved. The university say that this will be a “’thank you’ for the part they have played in the University’s success.”

One of the events that students will most anticipate is the 50th anniversary edition of the annual Roses tournament with the University of York. The university say that the event will be “bigger than ever” for the 50th anniversary year as Lancaster hope to win on home turf.

Another student-centred event will be the ‘Combined Colleges Celebration’. The event will also involve University staff and alumni for a gathering that will celebrate the rivalry and history of Lancaster University’s 9 colleges.

The events listed by the University are not all that will be offered. Students or organisations can propose their own events to the Anniversary Steering Group. This can be done by downloading a form from the Lancaster University website. The University hope this will allow for smaller-scale events run for colleges or departments.

Any group can propose an event as long as it is aimed at a specific audience and fulfils the objectives set out by the University. These include increasing Lancaster University’s profile and connecting with its alumni. Advice for proposing an event can be found on the University website.

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