University of Leicester granted Freedom of the Borough by Oadby & Wigston Borough Council

At an extraordinary meeting of full council on Tuesday 30 March, Oadby & Wigston Borough Council granted the University of Leicester Honorary Freedom of the Borough and bestowed the title of Honorary Freeman upon the University - the highest honour the Borough can bestow.

The honour was granted in recognition of the University’s “distinguished and eminent services and associations with/in the Borough” marking the Centenary year of the University.

In addition, the Council supports the University’s commitment to showcasing the contribution and impact of its people, places and events, which demonstrate the University’s full and diverse history and steadfast commitment to inclusivity.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said:

“This is a tremendous honour and we are incredibly grateful to Oadby & Wigston Borough Council for according the University of Leicester this great honour to commemorate our Centenary.

“The University of Leicester was uniquely founded by community fundraising as a living war memorial following the First World War. Residents in Oadby & Wigston played a pivotal role in our founding story and the relationship between the University and the Borough is key to our future.

“The majority of the University estate is located in the Borough and we continue to discuss with colleagues in Oadby & Wigston the ways in which the University can continue to benefit the area. As Citizens of Change we believe passionately in using the power of higher education for the public good and to bring about tangible benefits.

“I look forward to the occasion for the conferment of the honour.”

Anne Court, Oadby & Wigston Council Chief Executive said in her report to the Council:

“As the University of Leicester celebrates its second centenary year in 2021, the Council supports the University’s commitment to showcasing the contribution and impact of its people, places and events, which demonstrates the University’s full and diverse history and steadfast commitment to inclusivity, and thereby marking its distinguished and eminent services and associations with/in the Borough.”

Cllr John Boyce, Leader of Oadby & Wigston Borough Council said:

“The University has existed to improve lives, and its motto ‘Ut Vitam Babeant’ (‘So That They May Have Life’) is its driving and motivating force.

“The students and staff at the University are aptly-styled ‘Citizens of Change’, with a collective social conscience that pushes it to build better futures in its community and the wider society. This laudable sentiment cannot be truer in and resonates throughout the Borough of Oadby & Wigston.”

Since the Council’s inception in 1974, the Council has only conferred the honour onto one individual and two organisations:

  • 1988 - H Embacher
  • 2011 - The Royal Anglian Regiment
  • 2012 - B(LDY) SQN RY [B (Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry) Squadron, Royal Yeomanry]

Upon conferment, the University of Leicester will be featured on the plaque in the Council Chamber joining the other three Freeman.

The University of Leicester and its students play an important role within the borough. The Village is based in the Oadby Grange Ward and an integral part of the Oadby Hill Top and Meadowcourt Conservation Area spanning Stoughton Drive South, Knighton Grange Road and Manor Road.

It is a home-away-from-home popular with over 1,300+ mostly first-year undergraduates, offering a vibrant social life and a wide variety of first-rate facilities, offering a nurturing place to settle into university life, to make new friends and to launch one’s academic journey.

There are eight halls of residence in The Village, each with its own distinctive and unique features comprising of mostly Edwardian villas and lodges, boasting quintessential focal points including wood-panelled walls and gardens.

An appropriate civic ceremony will be held in lieu on a future date to be confirmed once COVID-19 restrictions permit or have ended.

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