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The University of Westminster celebrates its 175th anniversary at Westminster Abbey

7 January 2014

The University of Westminster marked the end of its 175th year anniversary celebrations with a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 30 January 2014, conducted by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, and attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Sarah Richardson.

Baroness Catherine Cox, University of Westminster alumna*, addressed attendees which included members of the Court of Governors, academics, staff and students, highlighting her personal experience of teaching and learning, her appreciation for the time she spent at the University and the rich history of the institution.

The University of Westminster was founded as Britain's first polytechnic in 1838 to demonstrate how new technological innovations could be used to improve people’s lives. Quintin Hogg re-founded the Regent Street Polytechnic in 1882 to promote a broad education for all and this marked the beginning of the University’s modern history, adding a new model of evening and daytime study while providing educational, sporting, and social facilities for working adults. The University was honoured by the Royal Patronage of Prince Albert from 1841 and Her Majesty The Queen continues to be its Patron.

Today it offers in excess of 250 courses providing a vast portfolio of teaching and learning opportunities to a thriving community of more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations who are undertaking a range of undergraduate, masters, research degrees, professional programmes and short courses. The University of Westminster is also recognised as one of the top 20 Universities in the world**.

Professor Geoffrey Petts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster, says: “The ceremony was the perfect way to celebrate our rich history at the heart of London. Over the last 175 years, the University of Westminster has evolved and adapted to changing needs and our students come from all over the world to study with us in the centre of this vibrant city.

“Our students can benefit from our prominent position in the centre of London and our connections in many industry fields, from fashion and art to music and media, from engineering and technology to life sciences, as well as with high profile links that we have established with firms such as Volvo, ASOS, Defra, and The Ministry of Defence. We are also proud to count Sir Alexander Fleming, attorney general Dominic Grieve, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and film director Asif Kapadia among our alumni.

“At the University of Westminster, we provide a diverse, vibrant and inspirational learning environment based on student-centered active learning, innovation and creativity in all fields of study.”

As part of the ceremony, the Polyphonics, the University of Westminster Students’ Union Choral Society, sang hymns together with the Centre for Commercial Music, Ibstock Place School, Broomfield House School, and associated colleges.

* Baroness Cox was awarded the Robert Mitchell trophy for best academic achievement in the Regent Street Polytechnic in1966 and obtained a first class BA in sociology from the University of Westminster in 1967.

** Source: QS Worldwide University Rankings

 Academic staff processing at 175 anniversary service at Westminster Abbey
Academic staff of the University of Westminster process down the transept of Westminster Abbey
copyright © University of Westminster


Geoff Petts speaking at 175 Westminster Abbey service
Geoff Petts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster
copyright © University of Westminster

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Evans-Toyne, Lianne Robinson or Chiara Barreca
Broadgate Mainland
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +44(0) 20 7726 6111

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

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