UEA admitted its first 87 undergraduate students - in English Studies and Biological Sciences - in 1963.
People in Norwich had begun to talk about setting up a university in the city as long ago as the last century, but it wasn’t until 1960, as the post-war ‘bulge’ generation was bringing about an expansion in higher education, that the University of East Anglia finally got the go-ahead.
UEA’s academic thinking was distinctive from the word go. The choice of ‘Do Different’ as the University’s motto was a deliberate signal that it was going to look at new ways of providing university education.
At the heart of UEA’s innovative thinking was the principle of interdisciplinarity where related subjects are studied in combination with each other. UEA has continued to be academically innovative throughout its development.
The city had donated what was the Earlham municipal golf course for the site of the campus, and traces of the fairways can still be seen around the grounds today.
In 1962, Denys Lasdun (who designed the National Theatre) was appointed as UEA’s founding architect, and was asked to produce an integrated physical design which would reflect and complement the academic structure.
It was Lasdun who designed the University’s core buildings including the monumental Teaching Wall, the raised walkways, the central Square and, most famously, the striking ‘ziggurats’ of Norfolk and Suffolk Terrace.
His plan was that no building on campus should be more than five minutes’ walk away from any other – an intention that has been honoured as far as possible despite the building expansion over the last 10 years.
'The History of UEA' by Professor Michael Sanderson and 'Concrete and Open Skies' by Peter Dormer and Stefan Methusias, are both available for purchase from the Marketing and Communications Division. Tel: 01603 593773.
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