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At the heart of the city and the region


28 November 2008

The University of Plymouth has hosted an inauguration ceremony to mark Vice-Chancellor Wendy Purcell's first year in post.

Around 250 dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of Devon Eric Dancer, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth, Judge William Taylor, the Recorder of Plymouth, and Baroness Judith Wilcox joined civic leaders, university staff and students and academics from across the UK at the university’s Plymouth campus yesterday (Thurs 27 Nov).

In her inaugural address, Professor Purcell set out her vision of the university as a catalyst for economic growth for Plymouth and the region. She highlighted the way that the university was working closely with the City Development Company and the National Marine Aquarium and through its partner role in the Tamar Science Park and Formation Zone to help innovative, new start-up businesses.

Professor Purcell also outlined the university’s key successes in the year since her appointment including:

  • Developing a new strategic direction as the enterprise university
  • The first graduation ceremonies to take place on the Hoe, showcasing the city of Plymouth to 3,000 graduates and 10,000 guests
  • Winning the bid to host the Royal Statistical Society
  • Winning the national enterprise competition, FLUX, for the second year in a row
  • Being the top performer in the People and Planet Green League of sustainability since the rankings were started in 2007
  • Signing an agreement with Britannia Royal Naval College to deliver and accredit the academic naval officer training programme

With a turnover of £180 million and 30,000 students, including 8,000 at partner colleges across the region, Professor Purcell stressed the strategic importance of the University of Plymouth to the whole of the South West.

"When I first came back to Plymouth, a year ago, I was blown away by the absolute potential of both the university and the city and what a strong partnership between 'town and gown' can bring to the region," she said. "The university can help develop the skills needed for the future, we can ‘grow’ the talent required to attract high level jobs and businesses to the region, we can work with the public and private sectors to develop and capture innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship."

Professor Purcell also stressed the importance of the university’s links to the community, with staff and students contributing more than 100,000 hours of volunteering and community time to local projects.

"Universities lie at the core of our cities and Plymouth is an excellent example of this. The university contributes significantly to the regional economy and is a key partner in the economic regeneration and transformation of our city, the region and beyond," she said.

Following a performance by the Ten Tors Orchestra, the university Coat of Arms was officially handed over by Henry Bedingfield, the York Herald and presented by Eric Dancer, the Lord Lieutenant of Devon. The crest contains the Latin motto, "Indagate Fingite Invenite"  which means "Explore Dream Discover" and is a quote from Mark Twain, reflecting the university's ambitions for its students and Plymouth's history of great seafarers.

The ceremony was followed by a reception in the Crosspoint area of the Roland Levinsky Building.


Notes to Editors

For more information, please telephone the University of Plymouth press office on 01752 588003.