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Anniversary celebrations launched with a bang

Staff and students - current and former - enjoy a fireworks display outside a marquee near Falmer House during the University's 50th anniversary celebration weekend

More than 2,500 students and staff - current and former - and friends of Sussex headed to Falmer at the weekend (9-11 September) as the University launched its 50th anniversary celebrations with a campus party. 

The packed programme of events was fully booked and highlights included:

  • Fireworks
  • School-based seminars and lunches
  • Recitals and performances in the newly-refurbished Meeting House
  • An interactive exhibition in Falmer House put on by the Students' Union. It aimed to find parallels of student activity over the past five decades, in an attempt to find out what constitutes the Sussex student experience.
  • Lord Briggs, Sussex's second Vice-Chancellor, cutting the anniversary cake and unveiling a bust of himself
  • Football tournaments at Falmer Sports Complex
  • A special, interactive performance by Glyndebourne, the East Sussex opera house
  • The first screening of A Golden Opportunity, a new documentary film about 50 years of Sussex
  • The first opportunity to buy Making the Future, a new book about the history of the University
  • Music by John Altman All Stars, the Copper Family and the University's swing band and orchestra
  • A football match between a Sussex 11 and a Brighton and Hove Albion FC 11 at the club's new stadium at Falmer. Sussex won 2-1 - players for the defeated Albion team included former first teamers Guy Butters and Charlie Oatway

Despite rain on Saturday (10 September) afternoon, guests enjoyed touring the campus and revisiting old haunts such as the student bar in Falmer House, which, illuminated in blue, looked particularly striking during the evening events.

Among the former students returning to campus were those from the very first intake in 1961, as well as three MPs - Ben Bradshaw, Tony Baldry and Hillary Benn.

Many excited visitors took to social networking sites, such as Twitter, to talk about the weekend. Here's some of what they said:

You can read more as well as sharing your own memories or photographs on our social media sites: 

  • To read more tweets, go to Twitter and search for #sussexuni50
  • To look at photos, go to Flickr 
  • To join in the conversation or share your own photos, have a look at the Facebook page

Other special 50th anniversary events taking place this academic year include:

  • an exhibition on architect Sir Basil Spence
  • a series of six Sussex Conversations - high-profile discussions highlighting the University's research expertise, featuring guests such as Sir Harry Kroto, who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry while at Sussex
  • alumnus and Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller as artist-in-residence 

Already a 'Fifty voices: Fifty faces' exhibition can be viewed online, as well as a look back through the eyes of the Bulletin, the University's newsletter. 

The first of the new wave of 1960s universities, Sussex was founded in 1961. To find out more about its 50th anniversary in 2011-12, visit the 50 years web pages

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By: James Hakner
Last updated: Monday, 12 September 2011