Celebrating 50 years as a university and conference venue

The 2007/08 academic year is an historic time for the University of Leicester – it was exactly 50 years ago that Leicester became a university city as the University College of Leicester was granted its Royal Charter, on May 1st 1957, and so became the University of Leicester.

Leicester was amongst the smallest of the English universities in 1957 with 120 staff and some 800 students. Students enrolling that year could opt to receive London degrees or Leicester degrees. The first University of Leicester degrees were conferred in June 1958.

The University, now with nearly 20,000 students and more than 3,000 staff, has flourished to become one of the UK’s leading universities with a world-class reputation for its teaching and research – it is one of just 21 British universities to feature in a league table of the world’s top 200 universities.

A significant part of the University’s history also comes from its longstanding contribution to the UK conference industry having hosted conferences and events for over 50 years.

Several organisations have held annual conferences at the University for many years. One in particular, The Banner of Truth Trust has been a regular visitor since 1962 with their annual Ministers’ Conference.

When asked about their visits to Leicester, John Rawlinson, General Manager of The Banner of Truth Trust said “The facilities at the University of Leicester really work for us. The bedrooms are close to the meeting areas which we like as it gives a sense of community for our group. The location is central to the UK which is good and the green environment makes our stay very pleasant”.

Another regular visitor since 1979 is Inner Wheel, one of the largest voluntary organisations for women in the world today. Rae Ogden, Inner Wheel Association Editor talks about their Annual Assembly. “In 1979 the Assembly was moved to Beaumont Hall at the University of Leicester. The location was chosen because it was centrally placed for the delegates from all over the British Isles. The convenience of travel routes by road, rail and air also played a part in choosing to move the Assembly to Leicester. Beaumont Hall and its residential accommodation served the Association well for many years and delegates delighted in the beautiful grounds and Botanical Gardens. More recently, Gilbert Murray has provided the main meeting hall. In July 2007, delegates were delighted to also use the new John Foster Hall with its surrounding accommodation facilities. Everyone appreciated the comfort and security it offers in accommodation and the bright clean dining room and quiet meeting rooms. The association looks forward to continuing its good working relationship with the University of Leicester, a tradition of twenty eight years, and adds its congratulations to all the staff and students on the 50th anniversary of the University”.

From Pterosaurs to Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

On 26th April this year the University opened its doors to the public for a special open day to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Visitors were treated to a free day of fun, entertainment and intellectual stimulation. Trevor Miller, Conference & Hospitality Sales & Marketing Manager for University of Leicester commented “I attended the open day with my family and had a great time. One of the highlights was learning fascinating facts about pterosaurs, or pterodactyls and being able to actually handle real fossils. Another was watching our chemistry department make instant ice cream using liquid nitrogen. Definitely one of the best chemistry demonstrations you’ll ever see and it tasted absolutely delicious!”

(Related categories of interest see "Conference Venues":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/conference_venues.asp also "Leicester Venues":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/leicester_leicestershire_venues.asp.)

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