60 Years of the University of Hertfordshire
By Helen Tyler
In 2012, the University of Hertfordshire turned 60, and held its Diamond Jubilee Alumni Ceremony on Saturday 8th September.
The University originated as Hatfield Technical College, it then became Hatfield College of Technology in 1958, before becoming Hatfield Polytechnic in 1969. In 1992 Hatfield Polytechnic gained University status and became the University of Hertfordshire. The University’s de Havilland campus was officially opened by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on 3 November 2003 and the Law School moved from St Albans to the new Law Building on the de Havilland campus, which was opened last year by the Duke of Gloucester.
The Diamond Jubilee Alumni Ceremony was a fantastic day comprising three ceremonies dedicated to former students. The first ceremony was for students from 1986 to 1992, the second was for those who attended from the 1950s to the 1970s, and the third ceremony was for students from 1980 to 1985. As well as the ceremonies, a tour of the campus was available, ending with an exhibition dedicated to the history of the University.
The University of Hertfordshire’s Heritage Hub Group was set up in the room next to the exhibition recording the memories of alumni members on the day. The interviews revealed a great insight into the University’s past including the first woman to have studied there, stories about different societies, the social aspects of studying, as well as the amazing opportunities some students experienced in the world of work with the qualifications they had gained. The project was a great success and, by the end of the day, 64 interviews had been carried out. These interviews are part of a project to archive memories of the University through ‘oral history’. Oral history has been demonstrated to be of importance in the past by the University of Hertfordshire in previous projects, such as the de Havilland Aerodrome oral history project and the Stevenage Borough Football Club oral history project.
Today, the University is thriving with over 27,500 students in attendance – and what better a way to celebrate 60 years than to recognise the achievements of those students who studied there in its early years from 1952 to 1992? The University has come a long way in 60 years and the Diamond Jubilee Alumni Ceremony was a great way to celebrate its many achievements.