Lancaster University is ranked No.1 in the North West and in the UK Top 10 by both the Guardian and the Complete University Guide, and is in the top 1% of universities globally. Lancaster has a world-class reputation for research and teaching excellence, with many of our academics leaders within their fields of study and our subjects consistently highly ranked in major league tables. One of only a handful of British universities with a collegiate system, each of their 12,000 students belongs to a specific college, making for a dynamic and diverse community on one of the safest campuses in the UK. Lancaster boasts a global community of over 100,000 alumni in more than 130 countries across the world.
After the Second World War higher education became an important concern of government as it tried to cope with the demands of an expanding population and the advent of a new technological age. Between 1958 and 1961 seven new plate glass universities were announced including Lancaster. The choice of Lancaster as the site of the fourth new university was announced on 23 November 1961 in a written answer in the House of Commons.
The university was established by royal charter in 1964. The charter stipulated that Princess Alexandra of Kent be the first chancellor. She was inaugurated in 1964. The ceremony also saw the granting of various honorary degrees to dignitaries including the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Princess Alexandra retired as chancellor in 2004 and was the longest serving chancellor of any British university. On her departure, she gave approval for the Chancellor's Medal to be awarded for academic merit to the highest-performing undergraduates and postgraduates. Each year presentations are made to up to five graduates of taught masters' courses and up to six to the highest-performing undergraduates.
The university accepted its first students in October 1964 and there were initially 13 professors, 32 additional members of teaching and research staff, 8 library staff and 14 administrators on academic grades. The motto, "patet omnibus veritas", ("Truth lies open to all"), was adopted. The first science students were admitted in 1965.
The university was temporarily based in the city. A lecture theatre and the university's first Junior Common Room were based in Centenary Church, a former Congregational church beside the old factory premises of Waring & Gillow, which were used to accommodate the new students. Many new students were housed in Morecambe. The Grand Theatre was leased as a main lecture room and 112 and 114 in the St Leonard's Gate area became teaching and recreational rooms. The library occupied the old workshops of Shrigley and Hunt on Castle Hill.
In 2014, Lancaster University celebrated its 50th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year, involving alumni, staff, students and local community members.
Where is Lancaster University