175th anniversary Uni of Chester JUne 2015

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undefinedA grand dinner with a champagne reception was held by the University of Chester to mark the 175th anniversary of its beginnings.

The university is one of the oldest English higher education establishments of any kind, pre-dating all but Oxford, Cambridge, London and Durham. The original buildings in Chester were the first in the country to be purpose-built for the professional training of teachers.

The institution began its life as Chester Diocesan Training College, following a series of meetings held in 1839, attended by such figures as the 19th-century prime ministers, William Gladstone and the Earl of Derby, and John Bird Sumner, the then Bishop of Chester who became Archbishop of Canterbury.

For the anniversary black tie dinner, held at the end of last month, a giant marquee was erected inside the university’s sports hall at the main campus off Parkgate Road, Chester. Two string quartets played as the guests arrived, and the meal was followed by a big fireworks display.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs, MBE, K St J, attended as did various civic leaders and friends of the university. Among the guests from our diocese were: the present and past Bishops of Chester, Peter Forster and Michael Baughan; the Dean of Chester, Gordon McPhate; and our Directors of Education, Ministry and Communications – Jeff Turnbull, Christopher Burkett and Stephen Regan, respectively.

Bishop Peter is the current Pro-Chancellor and President of the University Council.

In the 20th century, the institution now known as the University of Chester steadily expanded its student numbers and the variety and nature of its courses, which currently range from Applied Theology to Weight Management.

The university now has just over 18,000 students, drawn from the United Kingdom, Europe and overseas, particularly France, Germany, Spain, Finland, Australia, the United States, India, China, Nigeria, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

MPhil and PhD qualifications are a growing area of activity, and the university has powers to award its own research degrees. The emphasis is very much on research that has practical benefits both economically and culturally.

Pictured above, guests arrive for the anniversary meal

Below, the spectacular fireworks display