Kicking the bar for Founders’ Day

04 October 2018

The Old College as it looked at the time of the opening of the University in 1872.
The Old College as it looked at the time of the opening of the University in 1872.

A procession along the promenade to kick the bar will be held on Friday 12 October 2018 to mark the day Aberystwyth University first opened its doors back in 1872.

Staff, students, alumni and members of the local community will take part in the Founders’ Day walk from Old College to the foot of Constitution Hill.

The procession will be led by the University’s Chancellor Lord Thomas of Cwmgïedd and Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure.

Special guest at this year’s Founders’ Day will be Sioned Wiliam - an Honorary Fellow and Aberystwyth drama graduate who is now Commissioning Editor for Comedy at BBC Radio 4.

Sioned Wiliam is also a novelist, who in May 2018 published her third novel Cicio’r Bar – a light-hearted tale of the trials and tribulations of three students at Aberystwyth University in the 1980s.

Speaking ahead of Founders’ Day, Sioned said: “I'm really looking forward to returning to Aberystwyth. My time at the University was very happy. I was fortunate to have been taught by geniuses in the Drama Department, Professor Elan Closs Stephens and the late Emily Davies. I'm also looking forward to a reunion with some of the close friends I made during those happy years. And of course, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than a walk along the Prom to kick the Bar!”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, said: “There was huge excitement on 16 October 1872 when Old College welcomed its very first students. Founders’ Day is our way of remembering the ambition, vision and passion of those involved in establishing the first University College in Wales here in Aberystwyth. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.”

The procession to kick the bar will start at 8:00am from the Old College, where breakfast will later be served just as it was in 1872.

The graduation procession of 1960, where academic staff walked from the Old College to the Kings Hall. 

Aberystwyth University opened its doors for the first time at 9.00am on Wednesday 16 October 1872, having celebrated a founders’ breakfast in Old College the previous day.

Assisted by two professors and a Registrar-Librarian, Thomas Charles Edwards welcomed twenty-six students to the converted hotel which became ‘the people’s University.’

A report of the day published at the time said: “The town of Aberystwyth observes a general holiday – there were many eloquent speeches, much music and happy singing; all was joy and marvellous triumph.”

With its opening, Aberystwyth became the first University institution in Wales to offer courses in Chemistry, Comparative Philology, English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, Geography, German, Greek, Hebrew (also Arabic, Syrian, Sanskrit, Turkish and Persian), History, Italian, Latin, Logic and Philosophy, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Astronomy.

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University said: “Our Founders’ Day celebration with our community in Aberystwyth launches a busy programme of autumn events with alumni and friends – in Wales, the UK and further afield. It’s an opportunity to thank our supporters who share the same passion for this University as our Founders and to update them on latest developments, including our ambitious proposals to transform our iconic Old College building on the seafront.”

To know more about the history of Aberystwyth University, visit the University’s online history section.

Contacts

Arthur Dafis
Communications and Public Affairs
Aberystwyth University
01970 621763 / 07841979452
aid@aber.ac.uk