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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
University gets royal approval
The Queen and Anna Ford
The Queen handed the Royal Charter over to Anna Ford
The newly-merged University of Manchester has been officially opened by the Queen.

It will become one of the UK's biggest single-site universities and it hopes to hire Nobel prize winners as staff.

The merger was between the Victoria University of Manchester and the Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

The Queen visited the institution, which aims to have 36,000 students, to hand over its Royal Charter on Friday.

Well-wishers lined the streets of Manchester city centre as the Queen arrived at the university.

I hope that what Manchester does today, the world does tomorrow
Charles Clarke
Secretary of State for Education and Skills
She was greeted by a party including the Mayor and Mayoress of Manchester; Professor Alan Gilbert, the university's president and vice chancellor; and Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. After a procession through the university's Whitworth Hall, Professor Gilbert and co-chancellor Anna Ford formally welcomed the Queen to the university.

Professor Gilbert said: "We are changing the land of higher education by creating in Manchester one of the finest universities in the world."

Mr Clarke said that it was an "historic day for the UK".

He added: "I hope that what Manchester does today, the world does tomorrow."

University of Manchester
The new institution aims to have 36,000 students
Before presenting the Royal Charter to Miss Ford, the Queen thanked the university for inviting her to their ceremony.

She said: "In creating this new institution, you are building on a rich academic heritage and a fine tradition of excellence in both teaching and research.

"By combining the talents of two such highly rated institutions, I feel sure that you will be able to take advantage of a more powerful academic position, not only in the United Kingdom, but across the world."

The Queen had earlier visited the Royal School for the deaf in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

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