News

University of Essex pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen

  • Date

    Fri 9 Sep 22

HRH Queen Elizabeth II at Colchester Campus in 2004

Students, staff and alumni from the University of Essex have joined tributes from around the world honouring Her Majesty The Queen, who passed away on Thursday 8 September 2022 at the age of 96.

Her Majesty The Queen holds a special place in the University’s heart, having visited our Colchester Campus at two key dates in our history and bestowed recognition on the University throughout her reign.

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “On behalf of our whole University community I want to offer our sincere condolences to the Royal Family.

“Her Majesty the Queen was respected throughout the United Kingdom and around the world.

“This was reflected by the large number of our international students who joined the crowds to welcome her when she came to visit the University in 1985 and 2004. They were both joyous occasions which will never be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to have been there.

“We are also proud to have received recognition from the monarch through: a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2005; two Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in honour of our excellence in research, in 2009 for advancing human rights across the globe and in 2017 for authoritative social and economic research; and in 2013 the honour of a Regius Professorship conferred on the University by Her Majesty The Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee.”

Regius Professor of Political Science Professor Kristian Gleditsch said: “Her Majesty The Queen has an unrivalled record of public service since 1952. The Regius Professorship is an important recognition of the achievements of Essex and the staff of the department, and our emphasis on innovation and rigor in the study of politics.”

As a mark of respect, the University will hold a memorial event in the coming weeks. Books of condolence are also available on our campuses.

Her Majesty The Queen’s first visit to our Colchester Campus was on 17 May 1985 to mark our 21st anniversary. During the royal visit Her Majesty visited the Albert Sloman Library to view items from our Special Collections, before going to see demonstrations of our electronics research and two projects in the UK Data Archive. Thousands of local schoolchildren joined staff and students to greet Her Majesty, who diverted from her planned route in order to speak to many of the well-wishers crowding Squares 4 and 5.

Her second visit to the University was on 25 November 2004 when Her Majesty was accompanied by HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to mark our 40th anniversary.

Greeted by a joyous atmosphere with flag waving and cheering crowds, Her Majesty The Queen’s visit included meeting researchers from the departments of Biological Sciences and Computer Science and the Centre for Sports and Exercise Science viewing displays of our research including robotics, coral reefs and green exercise.

As a lasting memento of the royal visit, Her Majesty unveiled a commemorative plaque which included the words: “A university should provide an experience of living as well as an opportunity for learning”, a quote from the Reith lectures given by Essex’s founding Vice-Chancellor Sir Albert Sloman in 1963.

They then chatted to the crowds in Squares 4 and 5 before meeting eight students representing a range of departments and activities in SX Express (now Buffalo Joes).

Remembering the royal visit, Professor David Smith, Director of our Coral Reef Research Unit, said: “When I had the honour and pleasure of meeting Her Majesty The Queen in 2004, she asked specifically about the future of coral reefs and was very concerned about the local communities who depend on them for food and economic security. Her Majesty wanted to make sure that we were doing all that we could to help these communities.”

In recognition of the University of Essex attracting students from around the globe in 2005 the University won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. This is the most prestigious award for UK businesses and is a globally recognised royal seal of approval for UK companies.

In 2009 Her Majesty The Queen honoured our research excellence through the award of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of the University’s pioneering role in “advancing the legal and broader practice of international human rights”. The Prize is the highest form of national recognition for the work of a UK university.

Four years later the University of Essex was bestowed with another royal accolade with the award of a prestigious Regius Professorship in recognition of our excellence in research and education in Political Science. Regius Professorships are bestowed by the sovereign. Only 26 have been granted since the reign of Queen Victoria, including 12 in 2013 to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

In 2017 the world-leading social science research undertaken by our Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) was also recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

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