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Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 13:41 GMT
President's visit a boost for Warwick
bill clinton
Bill Clinton speaking in the Warwick Arts Centre
The University of Warwick is celebrating being chosen as a showcase UK university suitable for a visit by US President Bill Clinton.

The president's National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, said: "Warwick University is one of Britain's newest and finest research universities, singled out by Prime Minister Blair as a model both of academic excellence and independence from the government."

Warwick, confusingly, is located not at Warwick but on the outskirts of Coventry, a few miles further north in the West Midlands.

Founded in 1965, it expanded greatly in the late 80s and established itself as one of the elite "Russell Group" of leading UK universities.

It has three campuses on a spacious, leafy site, catering for more than 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Highly regarded

It employs more than 3,800 staff in 29 departments and more than 40 research centres and institutes.

uni science park sign
Research links with industry are important
Warwick is highly rated for the quality of its teaching and ranked fourth in the UK for its research.

Elite it may be, but not elitist. Although in the middle of the "league table" for the proportion of state school pupils it admits - 86% - it almost exactly hits the benchmark which the Higher Education Funding Council believes it should achieve.

In 1984, the university's Science Park opened as a joint venture with the local authorities.

This is now occupied by more than 65 high technology companies, with more on an associated Innovation Centre.

New degrees

The location for the president's speech, the Arts Centre, is the largest of its kind in Britain, with a concert hall, two theatres, a cinema, art gallery, music centre and bookshop, attracting some 250,000 visitors a year.

Warwick has just become one of the successful bidders to run the first courses for the new vocational "foundation degrees".

  • There is another important group of visitors in the building at the same time as Mr Clinton - pupils from five schools attending the arts centre's Christmas show, a production of Roald Dahl's The Twits.

    Despite strict security, the university says the president was adamant that the children should not miss out on their Christmas treat.

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    See also:

    14 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
    Clinton meets Queen on UK visit
    13 Dec 00 | Europe
    Clinton visit to Ireland and UK
    28 Nov 00 | Education
    New-style degrees for 2,000 students
    29 Sep 00 | Education
    Medical school's open doors
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