Words by Robyn Cowie, Online Production Editor

The University of Sussex turns sixty this year and is therefore celebrating all that the institution, its students and alumni have achieved during this time. Sixty years ago, the first cohort of 52 students began their studies at Sussex and sixty years later the University now provides education for over 20,000 students each academic year.

“Join us as we celebrate 60 years of Sussex – from groundbreaking research to providing our students with an exceptional education, we’ve helped shape the future for thousands of people”

The University was established as a company in 1959 and it was on the 16th of August 1961, that the University of Sussex received its Royal Charter. Sussex was one of the first new universities established across the United Kingdom since the Second World War. The founding of Sussex was a historic moment for wider higher education as it led the way from new types of academic institutions which offered a new style of freedom of learning. Sussex’s academic organisation changed how higher education institutions provided education, with its campus being divided into Schools of Study. This allowed for students to be able to benefit from a multidisciplinary teaching environment. Sussex would emphasise cross-disciplinary activity so that students would emerge from the University with a range of skills, contexts, academic thought processes and wider knowledge. This new wave of education which Sussex provided made Sussex deeply distinct, both in its educational approach and its architectural setting. 

The university is calling for people to “on our 60th anniversary, reflect on this legacy, how it’s shaped who we are, and how it’s prepared us to look towards the future”. 

To mark this anniversary, there will be a range of events and activities occurring throughout this academic year, showcasing all that Sussex has to offer as well as remembering its leading moments. The first of these celebratory events was on 6th of October, when, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Students, Kelly Coate led a tree planting ceremony of Whitebeam trees near the Meeting House on campus. This event is part of a wider commitment to plant a minimum of 60 trees on campus during University’s 60th year. The tree-planting ceremony will kick off a programme of reunions, exhibitions, talks, special events and walking tours over the next academic year. 

The events happening over this next year “serve as an opportunity to honour the University’s legacy and the incredible people who helped to make it what it is, but it will also act as a spur for us all to go on to even greater achievements, both individually and collectively, and burnish that legacy further”, as stated by the University. 

One leading event to celebrate this anniversary and the leading legacy of the University of Sussex is that of an event in the House of Lords. The event is scheduled to be held in Parliament on Thursday, May 5, 2022 and shall remember all of the good that has occurred thanks to Sussex as a British Higher education institution. 

The celebrations occurring over this period, shall be an opportunity for all of those who have participated in the community of Sussex University a reason to reflect, remember and honour the Uni and all of its achievements over these six decades of existence. 

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