Wales’ first University celebrates 150 years of academic heritage

Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth University

07 April 2022

Aberystwyth University is to hold a year-long programme of events to mark 150 years since it was established.

Throughout the year, the University, along with its students and staff, will join a worldwide community of alumni, friends and partners to celebrate their exceptional contribution and academic heritage here in Wales and around the globe.

Founded in 1872, following community and national fundraising efforts to establish the first Welsh University, this pioneering educational institution has since helped shape generations of scholars and academics and prides itself on being at the forefront of the development of higher education with its important historical achievements.   

Aberystwyth University has led the way in establishing teaching and research across the sciences and humanities and was committed from the beginning to opening its doors to students from all backgrounds regardless of race and religion.

An innovative and inspiring institution

Highly regarded and commended as an innovative and inspiring academic institution, its achievements also include establishing the first Department of International Politics in the world and continues to break new ground for Welsh higher education with the opening of Wales’ first School of Veterinary Science, opened officially by university alumnus His Royal Highness Prince of Wales in December 2021.  

Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is a true honour to be part of Wales’ first university as we celebrate such a significant milestone. We have great pride in our history here, and the wonderful legacies it has created, but these celebrations will be about our future as well as our past.

“As a University we’ve never stood still, constantly developing, as we respond to new and changing challenges faced by society. This is evident in our cutting edge research and the ambitious educational projects that Aberystwyth academics are driving forward, such as our new work in healthcare education which will commence in this 150th year. This is part of our mission, as started at the Old College in 1872, and during this anniversary the University’s original home will undergo its transformation into a visionary centre for students, the community and visitors. 

“We are grateful to the very many that have supported this project so generously with their contributions and we will continue to fundraise for Old College throughout the year in order to help achieve our exciting plans.”

Celebrating together
With so many outstanding achievements to celebrate and to honour, over the course of their 150th year, the University is looking ahead to a full programme of events which promises to be a true commemorative celebration of Wales’s first University as it looks to an exciting future that beckons.

Plans for the anniversary celebrations include partnering with Welsh youth organisation, Urdd Gobaith Cymru and participating in their Peace & Goodwill Message in Oslo, Norway this May. The anniversary year will then begin at this year’s Ceredigion National Eisteddfod in August with a programme of activities on ‘The Maes’. 

The official birthday will be a week long programme of events in Aberystwyth, Cardiff and London and will see the publication of the anniversary book commemorating 150 stories through 150 objects telling the history of the university through the objects.

Founders week will be followed closely by the Festival of Research showcasing cutting edge research and giving a platform for engaging communities locally and across the globe in dialogue about their future needs.

Throughout the year audiences in Aberystwyth and across the world will be able to enjoy a series of public lectures delivered by Aberystwyth academics and guest speakers.

The year is one of multiple celebrations with the Aberystwyth Old Students’ Association, established in 1892, also celebrating its 130th anniversary together with Aberystwyth’s renowned Arts Centre celebrating its 50th birthday beginning with a special exhibition. 

Lauren Marks, President of the Old Students Association, said: “We’re thrilled to be marking this remarkable milestone in the OSA’s proud history. We have over 9,000 members worldwide and we look forward to involving them in the celebrations and joining the university in its exciting programme as we share these special anniversaries, reflecting on Aberystwyth’s proud history but also looking to the future.  The year for us will culminate in a wonderful reunion weekend in Aberystwyth in June 2023 when many of our members are looking forward to coming together in person in celebration.”

The year will draw to a close with graduation week in July 2023 in the happy company of graduating students and their families and supporters rounding off a truly momentous year where the University’s many communities will have joined together to celebrate this important anniversary.

For more information on the 150th celebrations please visit