The University of Reading is 85 years old
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
On Wednesday 17 March 1926 King George V granted the Royal Charter that established the University of Reading - the only university to be awarded a Charter in the period between the two World Wars.
The University of Reading began as the College at Reading founded in 1892. This arose from the desire of the Oxford University Extension movement to establish a permanent base in the town. In the same year, Reading Town Council handed over the management of its schools of science and art to the College and Halford John Mackinder became its first Principal.
The College thrived, receiving its first treasury grant of £1,000 in 1901. Three years later the local Palmer family, of the famous biscuit manufacturer Huntley & Palmers, gifted our London Road site. Their continued support and that of other famous Reading families such as the Suttons helped fund expansion, including the opening of Wantage Hall in 1908 gifted by Lady Wantage.
On Mackinder's resignation in 1903, Dr William Macbride Childs, who had been a Lecturer in History at the College for ten years, became its second Principal. It was Childs who provided the leadership to take the College to University status.
Over the next 23 years, Childs promoted academic study at university level and developed a portfolio of property that began to attract more students and a collegiate style of study.
The making of the University of Reading became Childs' life's work and when the announcement of the granting of the Charter was made in 1926, the students carried him triumphantly aloft in celebration as he became first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading. Since then, over 150,000 people have studied at Reading from 180 different countries
Professor Gordon Marshall, our current Vice-Chancellor said; "When I became the University's Vice-Chancellor in 2003, it was and remains a great privilege for me to lead a University with such a long and outstanding international reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise. From its humble beginnings, the University of Reading is now listed as of the World's Top 200 universities, established as a major player in higher education globally. It is our students and staff who make Reading such a remarkable place and who will ensure our continued success. Because of their skills and aspirations, we are well placed to meet the challenges of the future."