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Looking back: UEA’s 50th Anniversary

UEA is turning 50 in 2013. Here are some highligts from the University’s illustrious history.

1963 The University of East Anglia opens. 116 students enrol for the first year, studying either Biology or English. The following year the Schools of European Studies, Social Studies, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics all open.

1964 The first drama production staged at the university is Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, with the Drama Society’s first President being none other than Actor John Rhys Davies (Gimli from Lord of the Rings).

1965 UEA’s first official student newspaper, Mandate, is published. Throughout the years other student publications have been Phoenix, Can Opener, Mustard Magazine and Kett. Concrete made its first appearance 8 years later in 1973, and was re launched in 1992.

union house 60s - 70s 1

1967 The Ziggurats student residences, described by their designer Denys Lasdun as “a rocky outcrop on a slope” are finished, cementing their place as an iconic UEA landmark.

1968 The Library opens on campus, and UEA is graced with two Royal visits from Princess Margaret and The Queen.

1970 The first Creative Writing course in the UK is established at UEA by Malcom Bradbury and Angus Wilson. The course goes on to produce writers such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Rose Tremain.

1973 The Street and Union House open on campus, along with the Student Union Bar and the LCR. The first shops on campus include a SPAR supermarket and Bowes & Bowes bookshop.

Queen's visit feb 1968

1978 The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts opens. Designed by Norman Foster, it is home to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury collection and the School of World Art Studies and Museology.

1989 Kazuo Ishiguro wins the Booker Prize for Remains of the Day, becoming the first of three UEA graduates to receive the award. Ian McEwan won in 1998 with Amsterdam and Anne Enwright in 2007 for The Gathering.

1990 The University’s student radio station Livewire is opened by Radio 1 DJ and UEA honorary graduate John Peel. Helping to kick-star the career of current DJ Greg James, Livewire is now one of the longest running student radio stations in the country.

1993 Union of UEA Students takes over the management of The Waterfront, the Norwich venue that has hosted artists such as Radiohead, Nirvana and Amy Winehouse.

1994 The Royals can’t get enough of UEA- Queen Elizabeth opens the Queen’s Building this year and the Prince of Wales visits the School of Environmental Sciences. 2000 The Sportspark opens on the 1st September. The £17.6m building is opened by Princess Anne (of course), bringing international facilities to Norwich, with an Olympic sized swimming pool, floodlit astro-pitches and the tallest climbing wall in Norfolk.

1976 05 Jane Lowe & Paul Dow

2001 UEA alumnus, Sir Paul Nurse, is awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. He wins the prize together with Timothy Hunt and Leland Hartwell “for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle”.

2002 UEA Medical School opens, with 110 students enrolled. The School enjoys close collaborations with Norwich University Hospital and world-class research centres. A year later the School of Pharmacy opens, and is now considered one of the top Pharmacy departments in the country.

2003 UEA’s original buildings, University House, the Square, the Teaching Wall and the Ziggurats gain Grade II listed status. In the same year, The Zuckerman Institute opens, and is recognised as one of the most energy efficient buildings in the UK.

2007 INTO University of East Anglia takes in its first students. The £30m study centre for international students has its own five-storey, 140,000 square foot centre comprising of lecture theatres, classrooms, IT and science laboratories and 415 en-suite study bedrooms.

2009 The School of International Development is awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its 40 years of sustained, highly respected responses to environmental change and poverty in the least developed countries.

2011 UEA wins a second Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its Creative Writing programme. Soon after in 2012 Norwich is given the status as England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, bolstering the city and university’s reputation as a literary hub.

2013 UEA celebrates its 50th Anniversary! To commemorate UEA’s landmark year, the university is organising a 50th Anniversary Festival for students and the public. Highlights include a Fringe Festival compiled entirely of UEA students and alumni, a zombie OUTBREAK! interdisciplinary panel discussion, the grand eruption of the Norfolk Firework Volcano, the Bo Nanafana Big Top Party and many more! For more information visit the 50UEA website.

UEA50 design 1 (1)


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January 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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