Suffolk's university opens

Suffolk's multi-million pound university campus opened its doors for the first time and officials marked “an historic day” by promising an economic and educational boost for the county.

Suffolk's multi-million pound university campus opened its doors for the first time yesterday and officials marked “an historic day” by promising an economic and educational boost for the county.

The launch of the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) in Ipswich was heralded as a proud day for Suffolk, which would lay down a legacy for the whole county.

More than 3,500 students have already been enrolled for the first academic year, with some being drawn in from as far away as the North West and the Midlands.

On its first day of official business before the students arrive in September, the university's chief executive outlined a bright and promising future for the campus, which he said could have a turnover of £100m.

But the effect of the new university campus in Ipswich is being felt in Yarmouth.

Great Yarmouth College will now be known as University Campus Suffolk (UCS) Great Yarmouth for its higher education students, offering new opportunities, resources and an extended portfolio of honours degrees and foundation degrees.

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The new arrangements aim to triple the number of higher education students in the Yarmouth area, opening opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds to access degrees without leaving the area.

The first students begin their courses in September and college principal Robin Parkinson said UCS Great Yarmouth aimed to have 700 students within three years. Currently 250 students study on higher education courses at Yarmouth.

Professor Bob Anderson, pro-vice-chancellor and chief executive officer of UCS, said: “This is a unique venture and it is a very proud, exciting and historic day.

“The journey is just starting. It is going to be exciting, certainly bumpy at times, but I know we have the strength of character, level of enthusiasm and will to make it happen.

“And in two or three year's time I believe we will have provided Suffolk with a regional university it will be proud of.”

Degrees will be jointly awarded by the Universities of East Anglia and Essex, with UCS building on their reputation.

Prof Anderson added: “This is vastly important, as Suffolk was one of the only counties of its size who did not have a university.

“It will have two big effects, providing an educational and economic boost for the county and we expect everybody right across Suffolk and Ipswich will benefit over the next 10-15 years.”

Professor Bill Macmillan, vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, said: "This is the culmination of a great deal of work over many years by colleagues at the University of East Anglia, University of Essex and, more recently, the UCS team. I congratulate everyone who has made this idea a reality and wish both staff and students every success for the future."

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for economic control and development, said Suffolk could look forward to the economic benefits the University would bring.

She said: “This is a very proud day for Suffolk and I look forward to my children being able to go there - it is about the future and it is fantastic how it will reach out to all parts of Suffolk with the other campuses.”

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