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Issue 483, 5 June 2002


Marking the University's centenary


1.   The University's centenary falls in 2004 (Sunday 25 April being the actual anniversary of the granting of the Charter);  and this paper reviews the ways in which it is proposed that the University might mark that occasion.           The Council's comments are invited.

General principles

2.   Clearly the centenary is an opportunity to celebrate the University's past achievements, and underline the international standing which has been developed over the past hundred years;  but it is also an opportunity to look forward, to lay some foundations on which to build in the University's second century.   The emphasis is therefore perhaps best seen as forward-looking;  and marking the centenary thus has to be linked closely to strategic priorities.

3.   Setting the centenary in the context of strategic priorities is all the more important given that a programme to mark the centenary will require considerable investment (of staff time as well as material resources);  and such investment will need to be justified against the strategic agenda.


4.   Clearly, the centenary programme will be designed to celebrate the University's achievements over the past century;  but, beyond that, it is proposed to maintain a tight focus, with the following objectives:

(a)  strengthening the University's links with the city and region generally;
(b)  strengthening the University's links with business, commerce and industry;
(c)  raising the profile of the University with alumni (largely as a precursor for future fund-raising – and see (d) below); and, above all,
(d)  raising funds for future academic and related development, including some upgrading of University facilities to enhance the environment for staff and students.

Shape of the centenary programme

5.   Consistent with the focus and objectives outlined above, a three-pronged approach to marking the centenary is commended:

(a)  organisation of a small number of special events, aimed at the objectives in 4 (a) and (c) above;
(b)  where appropriate, applying a centenary 'badge' to events which would be organised anyway;  and, above all,
(c)  a major fund-raising campaign, to be formally launched early in 2003 and to run until the end of 2004.

Special events

6.   In order to retain focus of resources, it is intended so far as possible to concentrate special events in the fortnight 19-30 April (the first two weeks of the summer term in 2004.)

7.   Special events would include

(a)  a special centenary celebration ceremony, which would include the award of honorary degrees with graduands being selected so as to underline the University's international standing, and so as to secure maximum publicity;
(b)  the launch of the centenary History (now in preparation);
(c)  special exhibitions organised by the Gallery, the Archives and so on;
(d)  special events organised by individual departments (though within a framework set by a central co-ordinating group).

Badged events

8.   Badged events might include, for example, a Centenary Montague Burton Lecture;  and some part of the normal concert programme might be organised with a centenary badge.


9.   The centenary is an ideal opportunity to launch a new phase of fund-raising (also laying the foundations for further fund-raising after 2004).   Mechanisms for taking this forward are currently being worked out, but current thinking is that we should have discrete programmes for personal fund-raising (from individuals) and corporate giving, and that, within the first category, we should probably distinguish between the body of alumni on the one hand and, on the other, targeted individuals who might make special contributions.

10. Again, the idea is that the University would retain a very tight focus;  current thinking is that we might concentrate on

(a)  scholarships;
(b)  funds for new posts in emerging areas of study;
(c)  improving facilities (with one or, at most, two major refurbishment projects?)

and that these would be grouped together under a University of Leeds Centenary Fund, giving us the minimum of strings for the future.   (Scholarships would be the focus for alumni-giving.)

6 June 2002


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