Centenary events

On Monday 4 October 2021, we celebrated the official birthday of the University, marking 100 years since we opened our doors to our first students in 1921.

As well as events on campus, we wanted to ensure that our global community was included. We have students, staff, alumni and friends spread over six of the seven continents (some of our research staff have visited Antarctica, but none of them are based there).

Celebrations began very early as we encouraged our global community to reach out to us at midday in their own countries. Beginning at 3.00am in Sydney, Australia, our global journey travelled west, ending in Vancouver, Canada. Over the course of the day we received hundreds of messages and videos from our friends around the world.

We also launched our digital Wall of Wishes, inviting people to share their own memories of Leicester or simply wish the University a happy birthday.

On campus the party began as we invited staff and students who shared their birthday with us to join us. Each received a balloon, cake and poppy as President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah led the crowd in singing 'Happy Birthday'. 

Afterwards Professor Canagarajah gave a speech commemorating the University's 100 years, before heading to the lawn by the Attenborough Building to plant the first of 100 trees to mark our Centenary, joined by 2021/22 Students' Union President Rhiannon Jenkins.

Well-wishers then enjoyed music, a performance from artists Poetry in Motion, and a video compilation of messages sent from around the world.

We also encouraged staff and students to help fill in our giant global map, showcasing the reach of our research and community across the world. Visitors were invited to mark the map with two pins - one to represent where they were from, and one to represent where they wanted to go. 

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