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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
County university opens its doors
Cumbria University
The new university will cater for 20,000 students
Celebrations are under way to mark the official opening of Cumbria's first ever university.

The university has been set up to try to keep bright young people from moving away from the county.

Its campuses are in Ambleside, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven, Lancaster and London.

It will initially have 15,000 students, but there are plans to increase the capacity to more than 20,000 over the next decade.

St Martin's College, Cumbria Institute of the Arts and the University of Central Lancashire's Cumbria campuses have all amalgamated to create the new university.

The Rt Hon James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will officially open the university on Wednesday.

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, is the first chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor is Professor Chris Carr.

Local workforce

Prof Carr and board chairman, the Venerable Peter Ballard will visit the university's campuses throughout the day.

At each stop, they will meet staff, students and local MPs for a champagne toast and the planting of an oak tree.

Mr Purnell said: "It is a privilege to be here at of the University of Cumbria.

"I am sure that it will make a great contribution to the area, not just for those students who no longer have to leave to find opportunity and employment, but for the wider economic wellbeing of Cumbria.

"The substantial financial investment, and the improved skills of the local workforce that it will bring, mean the university is well placed to play a key role in the regeneration of the county."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
One of the new university's campuses



SEE ALSO
First prospectus for university
05 Mar 07 |  Cumbria
Summer debut for new university
09 Jan 07 |  Cumbria
New university leader announced
05 Jul 06 |  Cumbria
Welcome given to university plan
04 May 06 |  Cumbria

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