Since 1921

Celebrating over 100 years of international impact and change

100 years of student success

Founded in 1921, the University of Leicester has been providing world-changing research and internationally recognised teaching for over 100 years.  

1925 – The Botanic Garden opens, providing a beautiful public space and important scientific resource  

1956 – The Charnia fossil is identified and named at the University, showing that complex life existed long before was previously thought  

1960 – A Skylark sounding rocket carries the first piece of Leicester-built equipment into space. The University played a key role in the Skylark programme and in 1980, a Leicester professor (Dr Jeff Hoffman) made his first voyage on the Space Shuttle 

1963 – A team from the University of Leicester wins the first series of University Challenge  

1984 – DNA fingerprinting is discovered at the University of Leicester by Professor Alec Jeffreys (later, Sir Alec), revolutionising forensic science  

2001 – The National Space Centre is opened, an idea conceived by Leicester professors, including Dr Hoffman  

2010 – The world's first robot-assisted heart surgery is conducted by a University of Leicester cardiologist, Dr Andre Ng 

2013 – The remains of King Richard III are discovered by University of Leicester Archaeological Services

100 years of ground-breaking research

Throughout its history, the University of Leicester has made innumerable contributions to society through its research, teaching, and graduates. Here are a few of the most notable.

100 years of influential alumni

The University of Leicester has been producing outstanding graduates since the mid-20th century. A few of the most distinguished include:  

  • Natalie Bennett – Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales between 2012 and 2016  
  • Sir Liam Joseph Donaldson – Chief Medical Officer for England between 1998 and 2010  
  • Phelan Hill MBE – Three-time world champion and an Olympic gold medallist coxswain  
  • Graham Joyce – Award-winning British novelist  
  • Jyrki Katainen – Prime Minister of Finland between 2011 and 2014  
  • Martin Löb – Mathematician best known for Löb’s theorem