College is marking milestone anniversary in style

Wigan and Leigh College is celebrating its 70th anniversary of delivering higher education. Vice principal Claire Foreman is seen here with students l-r Daniel Campbell, Anna Utrata, Katie Brookes, Ryan Murphy and Ayse Aker
Wigan and Leigh College is celebrating its 70th anniversary of delivering higher education. Vice principal Claire Foreman is seen here with students l-r Daniel Campbell, Anna Utrata, Katie Brookes, Ryan Murphy and Ayse Aker

Staff and students at Wigan and Leigh College are pulling out all the stops to celebrate an academic milestone anniversary in style.

A series of events are being planned to celebrate 70 years of the college providing higher education opportunities to students in the borough.

The anniversary kicks off this week with degree-level students at Wigan and Leigh’s newly-recognised University Centre showcasing their research to a prestigious audience of academic tutors and business experts.

The college is also taking a trip down memory lane to recall its seven-decade history of providing higher education, which began in 1946 when students sat exams with the University of London.

The event on Thursday also marks the beginning of a new chapter at the Parson’s Walk campus as it is the establishment’s first degree-level symposium.

The students’ scholarship and original research, which forms part of their degrees given out by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston, will be celebrated by mentors, local employers and keynote speaker Sean Melling from Wigan Council.

Dr Janet Thompson, head of higher education at the University Centre at Wigan and Leigh College, said: “As part of our University Centre launch we are hosting the first research symposium to celebrate the scholarship and creative activity that our students undertake as part of their studies.”

Further education in Wigan has a long history, with today’s institution ultimately tracing its roots back to Wigan Mining and Technical College which was founded in 1857, and degree-level study forms an equally well-established part of the establishment’s past.

The college celebrated getting 500 people through degree courses in 1957, with most graduates qualifying in mining and engineering but other courses available including general arts, zoology, botany, pharmacy, agriculture and veterinary science.

The college got permission to start offering part-time BA courses in law in 1964 and a range of degrees validated by the University of London arrived in the borough the following year.

The college has been working with the Preston university since 1991 and recently obtained University Centre status.