University pledges continued support for Rutland during Centenary celebration

A special event to celebrate Rutland’s links to the University of Leicester was held on Tuesday (3rd May) to mark 100 years of working together. 

The Lord-Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Rutland, along with the Chief Executive of Rutland County Council welcomed the University Vice-Chancellor to the event at Harington School. Local councillors, school officials and university alumni were also present for the celebration, which featured talks by Liz Blood, a researcher specialising in the history of the University of Leicester and John Thomas, Deputy Director at the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, who worked in partnership with Historic England and Rutland County Council last year to excavate an extraordinary Roman mosaic and villa beneath a farmer’s field. 

The University of Leicester was founded in 1921 as the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College. It is the only University in the UK – and one of just two in the world – to have been funded by the public as a living memorial to sacrifices made in the First World War. Dr Astley Clarke, who spearheaded the campaign, was educated in Rutland and eventually retired to his home in Lyddington. Families across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland were instrumental in the fundraising effort and, 100 years on, the University still has many links to schools and colleges across the county. 

Speaking at the event, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Vice-President and Chancellor at the University of Leicester said: “Rutland’s links to our University form a core part of its history and are deeply embedded in its DNA. As we celebrate the University’s Centenary year, I am proud to say that the links remain. We value these connections and we are committed to bringing the benefits of a world-class University to the region. This includes economic uplift, cultural benefits and educational attainment, as we work with schools and colleges to raise aspirations and improve access to higher education. We will also continue to grow the University’s special relationship with Rutland to ensure that it becomes even stronger over the next century.” 

Mark Andrews, Chief Executive of Rutland County Council, added: “As a local authority, Rutland County Council is at the forefront of responding to some of the biggest challenges facing a generation of people, whether it be protecting the vulnerable, combatting the climate crisis or addressing social inequality. Higher education plays a critical role in shaping the keen minds that can help us tackle these vast and complex issues.

“The University of Leicester is a fantastic institution and we are proud of our County’s role in the University’s founding story. This event is a demonstration of how our connection has continued and developed over the many years since.”

The University of Leicester is currently developing a Civic Universities Agreement, which will harness the potential of local universities to make a difference in communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The Sir Laurence Howard Rutland Scholarship scheme also offers support for a Rutland student who has gained a place at the University of Leicester.

To mark the University’s Centenary year, a series of public events are being hosted both on and off campus. From the ChangeMakers: Centenary Festival to a global digital celebration and the Difficult Conversations series, the events celebrate, debate and engage with as many people as possible. Further information can be found at