Tributes to Estates Director who helped transform our University

  • Date

    Tue 21 Jun 22

andrew nightingale

Tributes are being paid to Andrew Nightingale who led the Estate Management Team at the University of Essex for more than two decades.

Andrew, who died last week, retired as Director of Estate Management in 2012 but maintained very close links with his many friends at the University.

During his time at Essex, Andrew helped transform the Colchester Campus, established new campuses in both Southend and Loughton, and championed links with our surrounding communities.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “The University has lost a very dear colleague and friend, who throughout his time at Essex worked tirelessly to ensure that staff and students could thrive in the built and natural environment of our campuses. Andrew had an impressive strategic grasp of how our estate could support our mission, a sharp eye for detail, and an infectious sense of humour.

“Reflecting the highest regard our community had for Andrew and the impact of his work, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2014 and it was a pleasure for me to meet him at University events and share his pride in our achievements. We will miss him enormously.”

Registrar and Secretary Bryn Morris said: “Andrew was an outstanding colleague and made a huge impact on the development of the University.

“His contribution to the expansion of the Colchester Campus and the establishment of new campuses in Southend and Loughton, helped reset the University’s relationship with the County of Essex.

“His commitment to the careful stewardship of Wivenhoe Park, alongside the sympathetic enhancement of the built environment on the Colchester Campus, provided students and staff with an inspiring environment in which to study and work; and an environment from which future generations will also benefit enormously.

"After his retirement, Andrew always made time to keep in touch with friends and former colleagues at the University and I know that everyone who had the privilege of working with him will share a deep sense of sadness and loss with Andrew’s family.”

Andrew joined the University just as our 25th-anniversary celebrations concluded and guided the University through to becoming a multi-campus institution.

Iconic projects completed under Andrew’s leadership included the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall which won Civic Trust and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards. His Estates team also oversaw the creation of the Tony Rich Teaching Centre, which reinvented an existing building for a new use, and the Clifftown Studios in Southend, which turned a disused church into a vibrant arts centre.

When he arrived at the Colchester Campus from the University of Kent in 1989, Essex had fewer than 4,000 students, the Rab Butler building was just being designed and the first four of The Houses student accommodation were being built. Andrew led key projects to significantly extend our student residential accommodation – from South Courts to University Quays – and to deliver new academic buildings.

A chartered building surveyor, Andrew trained and qualified with Hertfordshire County Council and then worked as Buildings Surveyor at the University of Kent for ten years before coming to Essex.

He served under four Vice-Chancellors and four Registrars and guided the physical development of campuses at Loughton and Southend, as well as supporting the development of University Campus Suffolk in partnership with the University of East Anglia.

In 1992, Andrew worked with consultant architect Nick Hare to produce the second development plan for the University – the first was the original architect’s model created for the original building phases in the 1960s. The third development plan, mapping out the next 20 years was completed just ahead of his retirement, with a £200 million capital investment plan put in place to deliver growing education, research needs, and student requirements.

Andrew also started us on the journey to radically reduce our carbon emissions.

A former Chair of the Association of University Directors of Estates, Andrew was at the forefront of professional development in the sector, and his Estates team was shortlisted in 2010 and 2011 in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.

He was immensely proud of his work at the University, respecting the parkland and the ‘architectural grammar’ of the Colchester Campus. As Andrew said, if you go back to Sir Albert Sloman’s founding principles, the physical form of the campus still achieves its aims brilliantly. At the time of his retirement, he reflected: “To have been the custodian of such an historic estate is fantastic.”