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Celebrating 50 years of Leeds Trinity

In 2016, the institution celebrated its 50-year anniversary.

Celebrations took place throughout the 2016-17 academic year including events at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Cathedral, a Civic Reception in Leeds and a Gala Dinner. The University launched Trinity Talks; a series of public lectures, and the Inspiring Futures Programme; a fund to financially support students to study abroad or compete in elite sport, and graduates to develop their own business.

The University expanded its portfolio; offering Degree Apprenticeships, Higher Apprenticeships and Foundation Year courses, it achieved Silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework, and in 2017, the University was named top in Yorkshire for employability and student satisfaction.

The Leeds Trinity Business Network was thriving with more than 8,000 business members, the University launched the Leeds Trinity Education Network, and more students than ever before were choosing to complete their professional placements and volunteering programmes abroad.

In 2018, after five years as the University’s Chancellor, Gabby Logan stepped down, and actor and playwright Deborah McAndrew was installed as Chancellor in June 2018. Here’s to the next 50 years…

From University College to University

After becoming a University College in 2009, the ambition for Leeds Trinity was to achieve full university status. It was only in 2011, when the Government announced that institutions with a minimum 1,000 students (previously 4,000) could apply. In 2012, Leeds Trinity University College became Leeds Trinity University.

Professor Margaret House OBE took on the role of Vice-Chancellor in July 2012 and Leeds-born Gabby Logan was announced as Chancellor in 2013. There was more investment into the University; All Saints’ Court Halls of Residence in 2010 and Fountains Court in 2016, a new 3G Astroturf pitch, new Students’ Union offices; the launch of Leeds Children’s University and new international partnerships around the world. There was greater encouragement of research, more Professors were appointed, and research funding multiplied.

Achieving University College status

In the 2000s, TASC reached 3,000 students and became one of the first Colleges to offer courses in Forensic Psychology and Sports Journalism. The Centre for Journalism was established in 2001 and the Andrew Kean Learning Centre was opened in 2003.

In 2005, changes to the Students’ Union were undertaken; it began to operate with a Student Council and Executive Committee, and more positions were elected such as the Mature Students’ and LGBT Officers.

From 2006, under the leadership of Professor Freda Bridge, the College received more investment; a new £2.2million sports centre was opened in 2007; and in 2009, TASC achieved taught-degree awarding powers, becoming Leeds Trinity University College.

Expanding the College

Dr Gerard Turnbull took charge in 1989 and by the time he’d retired in 1998, there were more than 2,000 undergraduates and 250 postgraduate students at TASC. He’d introduced a wider range of courses and made improvements and extensions to the campus, including Kirkstall Halls which opened as part-catered, on-campus accommodation in 1993.

The College was the market leader in Communications and Media, and in 1994, it launched the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, which is still based at the University today.

After Dr Turnbull had retired, Dr Mike Coughlin – now Honorary Fellow of the University – was appointed as Principal. He made it his mission to encourage the College to pursue taught-degree awarding powers (TDAP) and become a University College.

Trinity and All Saints Colleges merge

In 1980, the two colleges merged to become Trinity and All Saints College (TASC), with Dr Mary Hallaway appointed as Principal. You’ll see her name on our campus today; in the Mary Hallaway Lecture Theatre in the Main Building and as an Honorary Fellow of the University.

By the mid-1980s, the Sisters and the Cross and Passion were less involved with the College. Recruitment focused on all students, reinforcing that 'entry is not restricted to Catholic applicants and we wish our College community to reflect the multi-cultural and multi-faith nature of our society'. This remains true today.

Pioneering work placements

By the mid-1970s, the colleges had expanded their portfolio of subjects and offered 16 academic courses within six departments at the colleges.

They pioneered the inclusion of professional work placements with every degree; following the model of teacher training placements and incorporated professional work placements into Communication Arts, English, History, Modern Languages and other subjects.

The early days

Leeds Trinity University was founded as two Catholic teacher training colleges in September 1966; Trinity College for women and All Saints College for men, with an intake of 300 students.

The colleges were originally governed separately, with the Sisters of the Cross and Passion taking responsibility for the women’s college and the Catholic Education Council managing the men’s college. Sister Augusta Maria was appointed Principal of Trinity College and Andrew Kean as Principal of All Saints College, but the pair worked closely together and soon they had divided overall management responsibility between them. Kean took responsibility for the curriculum, academic staff and external relations, whilst Sister Augusta looked after pastoral care, finance, the campus, social affairs and non-academic staff. You’ll see their names around our campus today – the Sister Augusta Maria C.P. Auditorium and the Andrew Kean Learning Centre.

With a huge demand for teachers during the 1960s, the colleges wanted to offer a different approach than other teacher training colleges – so they provided students with much more experience in schools, a model that is still used today.

Guided by our faith foundation

Since 1966, our Catholic faith foundation has been central to our activities at Leeds Trinity. We are committed to ensuring everyone feels valued – regardless of faith – and as such, our worship programme seeks to be diverse, accessible and relevant to everyone.

Our Chaplaincy team organises social, faith-based and charitable trips, events and activities that bring students of all faiths together, and as well as our on-campus Chapel, we have a multi-faith prayer space, which can be used for prayer or community worship.