Our 60th anniversary highlights

Look back at how we celebrated our 60th year, honouring our history while keeping our eyes firmly on the future.

With events on campus and across the world, celebrating important figures and milestones past and present, and a big alumni reunion on our Falmer campus, we pulled out all the stops for our 60th year, with thousands of you taking part online and in-person. 

Here are just some of our highlights.

Better World: A Celebration of Sussex

Our 60th year launched with 'Better World: A Celebration of Sussex' in October 2021, celebrating the impact of Sussex researchers and alumni in sustainability.

Four experts, including Dr Melissa Lazenby, Professor Peter NewellDr Mika Peck and Sussex alumna Lucy Hughes, inventor of plastic alternative MarinaTex, spoke at the event.

The event also featured displays from our charity partner Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), and a live beehive by the UK’s only Professor of Apiculture, Francis Ratnieks.

Image of Better World: Celebration of Sussex speaker panel

  • Watch the Better World: A Celebration of Sussex talks

    Professor Peter Newell - Professor of International Relations
    A fossil treaty: a new approach to tackling the climate crisis (watch online)

    Dr Melissa Lazenby - Lecturer in Physical Geography
    Educating our way to a more sustainable climate (watch online)

    Dr Mika Peck - Senior Lecturer in Biology
    Helping our kelp: can we restore our seas? (watch online)

    Lucy Hughes - Founder of MarinaTex, alumna (Product Design 2015)
    Solutions in unlikely places – a potential plastic alternative (watch online)

House of Commons reception

On 23 November 2021, MPs, staff, alumni and peers celebrated 60 years of Sussex research at the Houses of Parliament. Guests including Kemptown MP and alumnus Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse, Professor Hazel Cox and Professor Peter Krüger spoke, showcasing some of the incredible work being done at Sussex along with what has been done before. 

Read more about the Parliamentary Reception.

Image of Hilary Benn MP, former Provost Rachel Mills and Shadow Universities Minister Matt Western MP holding red 'Sussex 60' sign

Exploring consciousness and kindness with Sussex academics

We held two events as part of our ‘Ask the experts’ series on consciousness and kindness, with Sussex academics answering questions that matter to our community. Both events were chaired by Sussex alumnus Claudia Hammond, BBC broadcaster and Visiting Psychology Professor. 

Revisit the panel events using the drop-down tabs. You can also listen on the Ask the experts podcast.

  • Watch the Consciousness panel event 

    The Consciousness panel event took place on Zoom on 9 December 2021.

    The panel of speakers included:

      • Zoltan Dienes, Professor in Experimental Psychology
      • Dr Alexa Morcom, Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience
      • Anil Seth, Professor of Cognitive & Computational Neuroscience
      • Jamie Ward, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
    Rewatch the Consciousness event on YouTube.


  • Watch the Kindness panel event

    The Kindess panel event took place on Zoom on 16 May 2022.

    The panel of speakers included:

      • Professor Robin Banerjee, Professor of Developmental Psychology, and Head of School of Psychology
      • Dr Tom Farsides, Lecturer in Social Psychology
      • Dr Anne-Meike Fechter, Reader in Anthropology
      • Dr Gillian Sandstrom, Senior Lecturer in the Psychology of Kindness, and Director of the Kindness Research Centre
    Rewatch the Kindess discussion on YouTube.


Alumni gather around the world to share memories

A group of alumni gathering in Accra, hosted by alumni consul Dr Ronald Adamtey, Friday 25 March 2022.

We're proud of our reputation for being an international University and this was reflected in our 60th anniversary celebrations with alumni coming together around the world to mark the occasion, including a walking tour in Rome, with a reception at the Cappella Orsini in March 2022 and an alumni reception in Paris at the Cercle de l'Union Interalliée, hosted by Robert Gillespie of Blackhall OBE.

Alumni volunteers played a valuable role in bringing alumni together during One World Week, with reunion events being held online and in person in Nigeria, Ghana, USA and China.

View photos of the reception and walking tour on Flickr. 

View photos of the Paris reception.

Planting our 60th anniversary tree from Zheijian Gongshang University 

In May 2022 we were gifted a tree by our colleagues at Zhejiang Gongshang University. The tree was also one of sixty being planted around our Falmer campus, as a symbol of our growing and flourishing partnership with Zhejiang Gongshang University, which began in 2020 with the Sussex Artificial Intelligence Institute, the first of its kind in China.

Image of ceremonial plaque for the tree gifted by Zhejiang Gongshang University Image of the 60th anniversary tree gifted by Zhejiang Gongshang University, outside Chichester building

Unveiling Professor Sir Harry Kroto’s plaque

In honour of Professor Sir Harry Kroto's contributions to science, on 17 June 2022 we unveiled a plaque in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry. Professor Kroto received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 along with USA collaborators, for the discovery of a new from of carbon: Buckminsterfullerene (also known as C60 or Buckyball) and other fullerenes.

We were joined by Sir Harry's former PhD students and his wife Lady Margaret Kroto for a day of talks, the plaque unveiling, and an outreach event for local school pupils.

Read more about Sir Harry Kroto's work.

Image of Lady Margaret Kroto in front of Professor Sir Harry Kroto commemorative plaque

Alumni Reunion Weekend

We welcomed alumni back to Falmer campus in September 2022 for a weekend of reunions with old friends, TEDx-style talks from current academics, exploring the completed 60 Objects exhibition, tours of Basil Spence’s famous architecture, and a drinks reception with Vice-Chancellor Professor Sasha Roseneil.

Read more in our reunion weekend news story.

60 years of Sussex anniversary weekend

  • Reunion weekend video transcript

    [Intro MUSIC: Fast paced indie rock]

    [Video footage of University of Sussex campus in the 1960’s and 1970’s inside a 60 graphic cutout]

    Alum 1: I was here in the Sixties.

    Student 2: We came in the Seventies when it was still pretty radical.

    [Camera shutter noise with photos of University of Sussex campus in the 1960’s and 1970’s]

    Student 3: We were very lucky of how we lived university life.

    Student 4: We were the golden generation.

    Student 5: Just a bang up, hell of a good time.

    Student 6: It’s really lovely to be celebrating 60 years.

    Student 7: This is the first time I’ve been here in 40 years.

    Student 8: It’s actually been really lovely.

    Student 9: It is fantastic to be here.

    Student 10: You do feel kind of a nostalgia.

    Student 1: Just bumping into people, I remember or people who remember me is really nice and feel the community connection with Sussex.

    Student 11: We haven’t seen each other in nearly 30 years. It was like no time had ever passed. It’s been really, really good.

    Student 12: It was a very exciting place to live and it’s still a very exciting place to be.

    Student 13: It’s really nice to be back here. There’s a real buzz.

    Student 14: I’m looking forward to getting on the dance floor later on. [Laughs]

    Student 15: Thank you Sussex University.

    [TITLE CARD 'Making memories']

    Student 16: Between you and me, I don’t know how I survived the Sixties, honestly.

    [END CARD. University of Sussex logo]