University's worldwide family celebrate Charter Day

Students with flags

Sheffield alumni and friends from around the world are coming together this month to mark the University of Sheffield's first-ever Charter Day, celebrating the founding of the University by Royal Charter in 1905.

From 21-31 May 2016, the University will host events across the globe, giving Sheffield's worldwide alumni family the opportunity to reflect on the University's history.

Events will range from cocktails in New Delhi, India and a picnic in Monterrey, Mexico to an African dance on the beach in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with alumni keen to remember the University and city they studied in.

In addition, the University's International Faculty will be holding events in Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.

The University estimates that, in total, between 800 and 1,000 alumni will attend events worldwide for Charter Day. There will be gatherings in 25 countries, with 39 events planned.

In Sheffield, alumni will gather at the Diamond, the University’s new £81 million building, on 26 May for a talk and tour of the six-storey state-of-the-art facility. For Charter Day itself, alumni are encouraged to wear the University’s colours, black and gold, and upload pictures of themselves to social media.

With a history stretching back to the founding of the Sheffield School of Medicine in 1828, 31 May 1905 was the date that the University of Sheffield as we know it today came into being with the granting of the Royal Charter. In turn, the founders’ vision of a civic university which would “bring the highest education within the reach of the child of the working man” came to life.

As part of the celebrations, events are set to take place across six continents; however, Charter Day is not only about recognising the University’s heritage as a civic University founded by penny donations, but also the global community of alumni.

In its 111 year history, the University of Sheffield has granted degrees to students from over 180 countries and in January 2016 was named as one of the 100 most international universities by The Times Higher Education.

Charter Day will form part of the University's award-winning We Are International campaign, celebrating the role international students have played in the institution's history by showcasing the diversity of its alumni community.

The campaign is now supported by more than 100 UK universities and colleges, the British Council and the Home Office and has involved a number of key events. These have included the commissioning of a first-of-its-kind report to highlight the huge net worth of international students, a unique selfie campaign, and two parliamentary events for the launch of videos to help talented students from across the globe better understand how to apply to study at the UK's leading universities.

Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: "I am delighted that alumni and friends around the world will be celebrating our inaugural Charter Day. From just 114 full-time students in 1905, the University community now has more than 26,000 students and 160,000 alumni.

"Charter Day will give everyone connected with the University the chance to celebrate its history and international diversity as one community across the world."

A civic University: Sheffield's heritage

Penny donation

When the University asked the people of Sheffield for donations in 1904, you responded.

Over £50,000 was raised by penny donations from local steel and factory workers and residents – equivalent to over £15 million in today’s money. Thanks to Sheffielders' generosity, the University was able to establish a world-class institution.

In turn, the University pledged to help the local economy, a goal it has achieved by partnering with Sheffield businesses and sharing skills and information.

It also promised to help bring the UK in line with other nations – an ongoing result of the University's pioneering research and a target met by producing highly skilled graduates from across the globe.