A UNIVERSITY has pledged to plant 60 trees as part of a year-long celebration of its 60th birthday.

The first of the native whitebeam trees were planted at the University of Sussex on Monday – 60 years since the first intake of 52 students began their studies.

The tree planting ceremony kicked off a programme of reunions, exhibitions, talks and walking tours over the next year.

Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex was the first of a new wave of establishments that were both distinctive from other UK institutions architecturally and in educational approach.

The Argus: The University of Sussex was founded in 1961 The University of Sussex was founded in 1961

During its first 60 years, the university has employed five Nobel Prize winners (Sir Anthony Leggett, Sir Paul Nurse, Archer Martin, Sir John Cornforth and Sir Harry Kroto) and a winner of the Crafoord Prize in John Maynard Smith.

Its growing list of notable alumni includes global leaders, scientists, writers, artists, activists, politicians, journalists, diplomats and historians.

The University of Sussex vice-chancellor Adam Tickell said the university was founded “to offer something new, approaching Higher Education with different philosophies and methodologies”.

“We’ve sought to maintain that disrupter ethos ever since and it is at the heart of who we are as a university today,” he said.

“The next year will serve as an opportunity to honour the University’s legacy and the incredible people who helped to make it what it is, but it will also act as a spur for us all to go on to even greater achievements, both individually and collectively, and burnish that legacy further.”

Among the events already scheduled to mark the anniversary are:

Better World 60th Anniversary Event – Scheduled to be held on October 20 at the Attenborough Centre of the Creative Arts. Dr Mika Peck, who is co-leading on our Sussex Kelp Forest Restoration Project, and graduate Lucy Hughes, winner of the 2019 James Dyson Award, will discuss their work around sustainability.

Programme celebrating black alumni who studied at the University of Sussex - The programme includes a series of portraits taken by photographer Charlie Phillips, as well as talks and events reflecting on black experiences at the University of Sussex. The University will also be marking the achievements of Len Garrison, the founder of Black Cultural Archives (and former University of Sussex student).

60th anniversary event in the House of Lords – Event scheduled to be held in Parliament on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Harry Kroto plaque unveiling – Ceremony to be held on Friday, June 17, 2022, marking the achievements of one of Sussex’s Nobel-winners, who was awarded the prestigious honour in 1996.

Summer Graduation – An opportunity for students who missed out on their in-person ceremony because of Covid to celebrate their graduation with friends and families.

Alumni reunion weekend – A wide range of events planned for the weekend of September 3-4, 2022, as university alumni are invited back on campus including in person and online events, an evening reception and disco as well as tours, walks and sporting activities.