Aston celebrates 50 years as a university

Big Alumni Reunion at Aston University

26 April 2016

Aston University celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the weekend (22nd – 24th April) with a packed programme of events and initiatives for its alumni, staff, students and the public.

A cake cutting ceremony took place on Friday, 22nd April to officially mark 50 years to the day since the granting of the Royal Charter, transforming Aston from a College of Advanced Technology into a university. The cake, supplied by Conference Aston, was cut by the University’s Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Higson and shared widely among staff and students. 

The celebrations continued into the weekend with the University hosting its first event ‘Big Alumni Reunion weekend’ to which all of Aston’s 80,000 alumni were invited and saw over 1000 return to their alma mater for a weekend packed with talks, tours, exhibitions, demonstrations, craft activities, dinners and even circus skills workshops! Some of the University’s most prominent researchers showcased the exciting research taking place at Aston today and there were also talks by prominent individuals with local connections such as the comedian Jasper Carrott and Aston honorary graduates Andy Street (Managing Director of John Lewis) and Lord Digby Jones (former Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment).

Alumni travelled from all over the globe to attend the celebrations; with former students from Canada, China, Finland, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the USA, just some of the nationalities represented. The celebrations will be extended into May as the Vice-Chancellor visits Africa and Asia to host a series of events with alumni, universities and businesses.

The University’s Vice Chancellor, the Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Professor Julia King, said: “When we look back at the last 50 years there is much about which we can all be proud – whether that is pioneering the placement year, our continuing employability success, our research impact, our connectivity with business and the region in which we are founded, having the best growth in the sector for UK student enrolments, supporting those students from low income backgrounds like no other university does, and having a remarkably successful alumni body that are pioneers and leaders in their fields.”

“I strongly believe there is so much more Aston can do and earlier this month we launched the University’s first ever major fundraising campaign called ‘Pioneers for Change: Transforming Lives’. This Campaign is designed to take us well into the next 50 years of ‘Pioneering change’ at Aston. By raising vital funds from our alumni and friends we will ensure Aston is able to grow, inspire and innovate far beyond just the next 50 years. We will be doing this by creating more student scholarships, new research facilities, a new Medical School, supporting student start-up companies, as well as providing new facilities for the Students’ Union and Aston Business School.”

To find out more about Aston University’s 50th Anniversary and planned celebrations throughout 2016, visit:

For further information, please contact Louise Ciaravella, Campaign Engagement Manager at [email protected] or 0121 204 4637.