60 years of Sussex
By: Maria Balboa Carbon
Last updated: Monday, 4 October 2021
Sixty years ago today the first cohort of 52 students began their studies at Sussex. The University was the first of a new wave of UK universities, that were designed to be distinctive from other higher education institutions architecturally and in their educational approach.
Looking back over the past six decades Sussex has achieved so much for a young University, and we remain an institution that supports students to grow and achieve their potential.
To celebrate 60 years of Sussex, we’re sharing this short film with you, to hear from Sussex voices from across the decades talk about how our great University continues to change lives.
Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “The University was founded as an upstart to the centuries-old institutions in the UK and to offer something new, approaching Higher Education with different philosophies and methodologies. We’ve sought to maintain that disrupter ethos ever since and it is at the heart of who we are as a university today.
“The next year will 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.”
To mark the anniversary year, there will be a range of events and activities. The first of these begins today with Kelly Coate, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Students planting a Whitebeam tree by the Meeting House, as part of a commitment to plant a minimum of 60 trees on campus during our 60th year.
The tree-planting ceremony will kick off a programme of reunions, exhibitions, talks and walking tours over the next 12 months to celebrate 60 years of Sussex’s founding.
Better World 60th Anniversary Event – Scheduled to be held on Wednesday 20 October at the Attenborough Centre of the Creative Arts where some of our leading academics, including Dr Mika Peck who is co-leading on our Sussex Kelp Forest Restoration Project, and talented graduate Lucy Hughes, winner of the 2019 James Dyson Award, will discuss their work around sustainability.
Celebrating black alumni of University of Sussex – An important element of the 60th anniversary celebrations is our programme of events to celebrate black alumni who studied at Sussex. There will be a series of portraits of black alumni taken by photographer Charlie Phillips. We will also be marking the achievements of Len Garrison, the founder of Black Cultural Archives (and former University of Sussex student) as well as holding talks and events reflecting on black experiences at University of Sussex.
60th anniversary event in the House of Lords – This event is scheduled to be held in Parliament on Thursday 5 May 2022.
Harry Kroto plaque unveiling – A ceremony will be held on Friday 17 June marking the achievements of one of Sussex’s Nobel-winners who was awarded the prestigious honour in 1996 for his work with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley in discovering fullerenes.
Summer Graduation – This will be an opportunity for students who missed out on their in-person ceremony because of the Covid pandemic to celebrate their graduation with friends and families.
Alumni reunion weekend – A wide range of events are planned for the weekend of 3 - 4 September 2022 as University alumni are invited back on campus including in-person and online events, an evening reception and disco as well as tours, walks and sporting activities.
Our 60th Anniversary is a unique opportunity for us to celebrate the very best of Sussex – we hope you are able to enjoy it. Visit our 60th Anniversary webpages to find out how you can get involved throughout the year.