Harper Adams University

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Harper Adams University
File:Harper Adams COA.png
Motto Utile Dulci (Latin)
Motto in English
Useful and agreeable
Established 2012 - gained University Status
1998 - gained University college status
1901 - Founded as Harper Adams College
Type Public
Chancellor HRH the Princess Royal
Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn
Students 5,045 (2014/15)[1]
Undergraduates 4,385 (2014/15)[1]
Postgraduates 655 (2014/15)[1]
Other students
60 FE[2]
Location Edgmond, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Campus Rural
Boat Club Harper Adams University Rowing Club
Colours           Blue and gold
Website www.harper-adams.ac.uk

Harper Adams University is a university located close to the village of Edgmond (near Newport), in Shropshire, England. It is a specialist provider of higher education for the agricultural and rural sector.


Harper Adams College opened in 1901 to six students after Thomas Harper Adams, a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer who had died in 1892, bequeathed the estate. Headworth Foulkes was the first principal of the College. In 1909 a specialist poultry husbandry was created.[3]

The university's main building

Harper Adams remained open during the First World War, and in 1915 the first women were admitted into the college on wartime farm courses. Harper was the first institute to do so, and in 1916 women were admitted full-time onto a wide variety of courses. Approximately 200 staff and former students served in the forces in the war[4] and 40 of the latter are known to have died.[5] In their memory, the college's library was established on a permanent basis after a successful funds appeal in 1921.[4] A board in the library listing the names (including those found in recent additional research) was dedicated in March 2015, crafted by Peter Nunn of the university estates department, while a new memorial garden was created outside the library.[5]

The agricultural depression of the 1920s onwards led to a drop in student numbers. In 1922 Charles Crowther became principal and efforts were taken to ensure the college stayed open. The National Institute of Poultry Husbandry opened in 1926, bringing with it to Harper a high profile in areas of teaching and research.

The College managed to stay open during the Second World War, and in 1939 the first land girls arrived at the college. Bill Price became Principal in 1946. The Jubilee Hostel was opened in 1951.

Reginald Kenny became principal in 1962. In 1964 the funding of the college passed from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Department of Education and Science. The first Higher National Diploma students were enrolled in 1969. Tony Harris became principal in 1977.

Degree courses were first introduced at Harper Adams in 1981. It was one of the earliest institutions to introduce a BSc sandwich course. The CNAA granted Harper the authority to validate its own courses; in 1988 the first Harper Adams graduation ceremony took place and a year later the first PhD was awarded.

A wintertime view from the university's west lawn.

Student numbers passed 1000 for the first time in 1991. In 1994 three new residences were opened. Professor Wynn Jones became principal in 1996, and in that year the Privy Council allowed Harper to award degrees. In 1998 Harper gained the title of University College.

In 2004, Harper Adams was awarded £2.1 million in funding to develop its work with rural businesses. Harper Adams gained the power to award research degrees in 2006 and shortly after, a new Biomass Hall was opened. For the first time, in 2008 Harper Adams was awarded the title of 'Best University College' from The Sunday Times – the same title followed for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. That same year and the year preceding, Harper Adams achieved first place for teaching quality, also in The Sunday Times.

The university's Bamford Library opened in September 2003.

In 2009, Dr David Llewellyn became principal and shortly after, the new dairy unit and regional food academy were opened. A couple of years later, in 2011, the Faccenda student centre opened, containing a gym, cafe, student hub and student services. In the same year, the anaerobic digester opened. It is expected to offset the carbon emissions from the university three times over. It has already won a Renewable Energy Infrastructure Award and hosts an award winning anaerobic digestion facility.[6]

Harper Adams is a lead academic sponsor of the JCB Academy which opened in 2010. JCB Academy was the first university technical college to be established in England.

In 2012, Harper Adams had the title 'university' conferred upon it; this ended the institution's long history of being a college and simultaneously signalled the beginning of a new era. The designation of Harper Adams as such represents the establishment of Shropshire's first university.[7]


The campus is in parkland on the outskirts of Edgmond near Newport, Shropshire.

Since 2000, Harper Adams has rapidly expanded and improved its facilities, while introducing new ones. In 2003, the new Bamford Library opened. A year later, investments in new sports facilities followed.

The firm Dairy Crest are building in 2015 an innovation centre (projected cost £4m) at the campus, transferring around 40 members of its staff there from the research and development section at the closed Crudgington creamery site.[8]

Academic profile

(2016, national)
Times/Sunday Times[10]
(2016, national)

Undergraduate courses are offered via five academic departments:

  • Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
  • Crops and Environment Science
  • Engineering
  • Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management
  • Land, Farm and Agri-Business Management

The University also offers a range of masters courses (MSc, MEng and MBA) and research opportunities at PhD and post-doctoral levels, as well as work-based learning opportunities

In 2011, Harper Adams was placed in the top 50 (at 49) of all universities in the UK for the first time, according to the Sunday Times University Guide.

In April 2016 the university was named ‘University of the Year’ at Whatuni Student Choice Awards; the rankings table is the only one based entirely on student opinion.[11]


Harper Adams has a variety of sports clubs, including rugby, rowing football, equine, mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting, field hockey.

The university competes the British Universities and Colleges Sport leagues and championships.


Harper Adams University's Rowing Club is the university rowing club. It was founded in 2013 and has been affiliated to British Rowing since 2015.[12] The boating facilities are biased at the Pengwern Boat Club in nearby Shrewsbury. The clubs registered blades are dark blue, cyan, and gold. It competes at local regattas as well as the annual British Universities and Colleges Sport Regatta.

Notable alumni

Notable governors


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Table 0a – All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 5 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/about/history.cfm
  4. 4.0 4.1 Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>At time of publication 17 were then known to
  5. 5.0 5.1 "New war memorial for fallen students". Shropshire Star. 16 March 2015. p. 25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Report of new memorial board dedicated after 9 previously unrecorded alumni were recently discovered to have also died in WWI.
  6. Harper Adams College Digester CHP Plant, http://www.clarke-energy.com, accessed 14 March 2013
  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20464013
  8. "Demolition to start at creamery, Landmark buildings to disappear". Shropshire Star. 12 June 2015. p. 6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Report by Emma Walker on pending demolition of the Crudgington premises.
  9. "University League Table 2016". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 27 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2016". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 21 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/harper-adams-named-university-of-the-year-at-whatuni-student-choice-awards-a6985326.html
  12. https://www.britishrowing.org/club/harper-adams-university-rowing-club/

External links

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