Fifty years of the University of East Anglia

In 2013 the University celebrates its 50th anniversary. This landmark gives us the opportunity to look back at all we have achieved together and to look forward to building on our success.

Details of all anniversary events can be found on our Forthcoming Events page. Keep checking back for updates throughout the year.

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Festival Weekend 28-29 September 2013

On Saturday 28 September 2013 UEA invited staff, students, alumni and the community onto campus for an Anniversary Festival. More than 10,000 people came along, taking part in a host of activities ranging from serious panel discussions to stand-up comedy and live music.  

Check out the photos and videos from the event to find out more.

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  • Oral Histories

    Listen to oral histories from 50 years of UEA and find out more about this special 50th anniversary project.

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  • Landmarks

    Look through the landmark moments in UEA's 50 year history.

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  • Literary giants

    The Literary Festival spring line-up has been announced and will include appearances by Margaret Atwood, Joanna Trollope and Susan Hill.

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  • Films

    Click through our film collection of archive films and recent videos, giving an insight into UEA's history and life on campus today.

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  • Sense & Sensuality

    The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts' new major exhibition, Sense and Sensuality, explores the sensual and psychologically intense nature of the Art Nouveau period.

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  • UEA Blogs

    Take a look through our blog posts, written by representatives from the last 50 years, as they share their memories of UEA.

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UEA was founded to 'Do Different' and our heritage naturally leads us to thinking about the difference we will make in the future. That difference will be enhanced by philanthropy. This is why we are launching 'The Difference' Campaign in our anniversary year. The £50m we aim to raise by the end of 2016 will deliver a margin of excellence in four areas where we believe UEA has truly exceptional strength and potential.

UEA Timeline

  • 1963

    The University of East Anglia accepted its first students

    The first Vice-Chancellor, Frank Thistlethwaite opened the University Village in 1963, with many of the existing buildings being built on a converted golf course. The university itself was designed by English Architect Sir Denys Lasdun, who also designed the Royal National Theatre.

  • 1967

    Ziggurats Completed

    The architecturally unique Ziggurats were completed in 1967. Designed by Denys Lasdun, the Grade II listed terraced student residences have attracted widespread interest over the years and have led to the UEA winning a number of awards. They earned the eighth spot in the top 10 of best UK university architecture by the Architect's Journal.

  • 1968

    Library moves to the plain

    With a wealth of resources available, the UEA Library contains over 800,000 books and is spread over 6 floors. The building also houses several important collections of archives, and the Special Collections section contains almost 9,000 titles of rare, valuable or illustrated monographs and pamphlets in all subject areas.

  • 1971

    The Creative Writing MA is founded

    The first degree of its kind in the country, the Creative Writing programme was founded in 1971 by Sir Angus Wilson and Professor Malcolm Bradbury. Notable Alumni include Trezza Azzopardi, Tracy Chevalier, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.

  • 1973

    The construction of University House on campus brings the launch of the Student Union bar and the LCR

    As well as these campus staples being established in 1973, the careers centre was launched, the university held a 10th anniversary celebration with its 3,245 students, and excavation began on the Broad.

  • 1978

    Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts opens

    Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury donated their collection of world art to the University of East Anglia in 1973 and the Sainsbury Centre first opened its doors to visitors in 1978. It was designed by world famous architect Norman Foster, who is best known for The Gherkin and Wembley Stadium, and was his first major public building.

  • 1984

    Law moves to Earlham Hall

    The family home of famous Humanitarian Elizabeth Fry, Earlham Hall is an elegant Grade II listed building, which encapsulates the university's rich heritage, whilst providing a striking architectural contrast to the 60s concrete.

  • 1986

    The Climatic Research Unit moved into its current home.

    The Hubert Lamb building was designed by architect Rick Mather, on recommendation from Norman Foster and named after the renowned climatologist, whose views on global warming were widely acknowledged during the late 70s.

  • 1989

    The Arthur Miller Centre opens at UEA

    The Arthur Miller Centre was an initiative designed to promote further study of the United States by offering scholarships and prizes to American Studies students. The Centre hosts UEA's Literary Festival, which has welcomed writers such as Salman Rushdie, Ted Hughes, Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch and Alan Bennett.

  • 1992

    Concrete re-launched

    Concrete, the current student newspaper, was re-launched in 1992 having made its first appearance at UEA in 1973. The newspaper now has a circulation of 4,500 copies. Previous issues have included interviews with Nick Clegg, Charles Clarke, Harrison Ford, Stephen Fry and Greg James, amongst others.

  • 1993

    Union starts managing The Waterfront

    The Waterfront is a live music venue and nightclub in Norwich, which has been managed by the Union of UEA Students since 1993. The Waterfront, has hosted bands including Pulp, Radiohead, Nirvana, The Verve, Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, Plan B, Amy Winehouse, Stereophonics, Buzzcocks, MGMT, Travis, and Moby.

  • 1995

    Official opening of Elizabeth Fry building

    UEA adopted several novel techniques to achieve the environmental and energy performance of the Elizabeth Fry Building, while also ensuring that benefits in terms of occupant comfort levels, increased productivity, low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and energy cost savings were delivered

  • 2000

    Sportspark opens

    UEA's £30 million Sportspark boasts a state-of-the-art Olympic-sized swimming pool, athletics track and gym, as well as an extensive range of activities including archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, climbing, hockey, martial arts, squash, and trampolining.

  • 2007

    INTO opens

    INTO is a study centre offering new and high quality preparation for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the UK. Combining UEA resources with major independent investment, INTO Centres deliver a world-class educational and cultural experience for international students, with fast, effective and assured progression to university degree courses.

  • 2009

    Queen's Anniversary Prize

    UEA's School of International Development is awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in recognition of 40 years' sustained responses to environmental change and world poverty.

  • 2009

    UEA London opens

    UEA's new London centre was established to enhance the employability of UEA graduates, raise the university's international profile and foster links with influential government and business communities in the capital.

  • 2011

    Queen's Anniversary Prize

    UEA is awarded the prestigious Queens Anniversary Prize for its contribution to creative writing. A year later, bolstered by the University's reputation in this field, Norwich wins the bid to become England's first UNESCO City of Literature.