Sir Peter Ustinov in his own College
(4 April 2003)
The University of Durham honours the Chancellor, Sir Peter Ustinov by naming a college after him.
The successful Graduate Society, to which the vast majority of the University’s postgraduate students belong, will be renamed ‘Ustinov College’ marking another milestone for the largest college for postgraduates in the country with over 1,200 members.
Sir Peter is guest of honour at the inauguration ceremony which takes place at the college’s Howlands site in the presence of staff, students and guests from the wider community. Commenting on the honour, Sir Peter said: ”It is an extraordinarily generous gesture by the University”.
A champion of international understanding and communication, Sir Peter was the natural candidate to be invited to lend his name to the University's most international college. He has been an outstanding Chancellor of Durham University since 1992 in addition to his long career as a writer, actor, director, commentator on world affairs and Ambassador-at-Large for UNICEF.
Sir Peter said, “I am extraordinarily flattered that this initiative should have been taken in my lifetime so that I am here to enjoy it. I don’t know how it happened and I am too shy to ask, but I am grateful nevertheless.
“There is nothing that can replace the contact of young people of different nations in contributing to a world at peace and freedom from ugly prejudice. My experience has taught me that children are born without prejudice. I am sure it is possible for young adults to maintain this same pristine tradition, and hopefully these young adults in Durham will be able to influence their seniors.”
Vice-Chancellor, Sir Kenneth Calman said:” Today is a historic day for the University. For the first time, the person after whom a college is named, is taking part in the inauguration. We are privileged to have a Chancellor with such an international reputation and are delighted that he has lent his name to this distinctive college”.
Two thirds of international students in Durham are postgraduates. Most belong to Ustinov College and come from over 70 countries. Exclusively for students studying for higher degrees, it is about twice the size of other graduate bodies such as Darwin College, Cambridge or Wolfson College, Oxford.
The renaming of the Graduate Society as Ustinov College is one of a series of measures to bring a fresh emphasis to the postgraduate community of the University.
Its new Principal, Professor Sue Scott, who has recently taken up the new post of Postgraduate Dean said: “Today we mark the transition from Society to College and acknowledge those who have helped to shape this successful community. As a research-led University, we are now poised for a new chapter in its further development. Durham is the source of future members of the academic profession, as well as providing graduates with higher degrees for the rest of society and will continue to work with colleagues to enhance the postgraduate experience and build on that success”.
For more information contact:
Jan Cawood, Public Relations Officer, Tel: 0191 334 0018 (on Friday 4 April 07971-136005)
Friday 4 April at 12 midday, The Barn, Howlands, off South Road, Durham
Media are invited to meet Sir Peter Ustinov and other college representatives who will be available to answer questions and for photographs from 12 midday until 1.00 p.m.
Notes to Editors
- The Society, formed in 1965 by Professor W B Fisher, has grown from 94 members to 1,251 now making it one of the largest of the University’s 15 collegiate bodies.
- In 1965 there were 86 men and 8 women. The current gender balance is almost exactly 50:50
- Ustinov College currently provides accommodation for about 600 members at Howlands Farm, Parsons Field and Fonteyn Court, Palatine House, Old Elvet and Shincliffe Hall plus 42 flats for families at Kepier Court. As part of the University’s overall strategy there are plans for the expansion of Ustinov College on the Howlands site in 2004.
- Colleges are the focus for residential, social and welfare facilities for students, and play a part in the admissions process. All students belong to a college throughout their degree course and remain attached to it after they graduate. Each college has members from the full range of academic subjects but teaching is provided by the University’s academic departments.
- The Ustinov Foundation, set up by Sir Peter and his family, is currently developing with universities and other organisations around Europe an initiative on the subject of Prejudice, inspired by Sir Peter himself, for linking up academics, writers, politicians, other public figures.