Over 200 people, including the Lady Mayor of Chelmsford, elected representatives, staff, alumni and key stakeholders got together to celebrate the start of a new era for Writtle University College.
Over the last 18 months, Writtle has achieved tremendous milestones in its 123-year history as it was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers and achieved University College status, which culminated in a high-profile event to launch its new name and brand identity.
Addressing attendees, Dr Stephen Waite, Vice-Chancellor of Writtle University College, said: “This is a very special night of celebration for Writtle and I’m delighted to see so many people in attendance. It marks the successful conclusion of a long journey of development, reaching back to 1893. Tonight represents the start of a new journey for Writtle as Writtle University College.
“Writtle is a unique institution with a long and impressive history of accomplishments. Of the 155 institutions with university or university college status, only three, including Writtle, are specialist land-based institutions offering programmes in agriculture, horticulture, equine and related subjects and we are the only one also proudly providing further education as well as higher education.
“As an institution we are special in terms of the staff that work and have worked for us helping us obtain Ofsted success and University College title. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved, for their hard work and dedication which has led to the celebration tonight.”
Julia Smith, Chair of the Board of Governors, added: “We are Essex’s newest university as awarded by the Privy Council. I would like to pay tribute to Dr Waite and Board members past and present who have brought us to this point; the culmination of an intense and sometimes arduous journey; facts, figures, evidence presented to prove that we are worthy of this status as we deliver a high quality academic experience to all of our students and will continue to do so long into the future.”
Founding Chancellor, Anne Jenkin The Baroness of Kennington, said: “Today marks the day when Writtle University College is embarking a new adventure, as a university. This is about combining education and sustainability.
“Writtle University College was a familiar part of the farming landscape, but I am so impressed by what I have learned about you recently and look forward to getting to know the organisation and all of you far better over the coming years. I have read a variety of student reviews and comments online. You get a general feeling from students that Writtle is a happy, purposeful place with a great campus and good teaching.
“So as we start out on our journey together, there is a great foundation to build on. With the help of all those who work for the organisation, the current students and those talented young people still to join the University College over the coming weeks, months and years, the future is already bright. Together we will make it brighter still.”
Representatives from many organisations with activities related to the University College included: the Royal Horticultural Society, Chelmsford City Council, Essex County Council, The University of Essex, the National Farmers’ Union, the National Land Based College and the Farming Community Network amongst many others.