Archives and Special Collections

Our History

In 2021 the University of Leicester celebrates its centenary. There will be a series of projects, events and activities to mark the history of the University from its foundation and into its second century. 

Plans were announced in 1917 for a new college of higher education in Leicester, as a memorial to the sacrifices made by local people during World War 1. Funded by donations from local benefactors and bereaved families, the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland University College opened its doors in 1921 to a small number of students drawn from the local area.

The College took the motto, ut vitam habeant ('so that they may have life').

'So that they may have life'

This community project, based in Archives and Special Collections, will tell the story of the founding and early history of the University of Leicester.

Working with volunteers the project will explore our archives and make exciting new discoveries about the people and events that made our University.

Our activities

  • Improving the preservation and access to archive material about the University.
  • Researching the foundation and development of the University.
  • Conducting oral history interviews with university alumni from the 1940s and early 1950s.
  • Running activities and events to celebrate the history of the University, including heritage training sessions.

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