Newman University History

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Newman University History

Newman University History


The University is named after the 19th century religious figure Cardinal Newman who had strong links with the city of Birmingham as an Oratorian and a member of the Birmingham Oratory. His view of a university was of a scholarly community wherein the focus should be on training the mind to think rather than the simple diffusion of knowledge.

In 1965, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, George Patrick Dwyer, donated land in Bartley Green that was once site of Athol House Farm for the purposes of building a teacher training college. In 1966, while under construction, the College appointed Simon Quinlan as its first Principal and Joe Blackledge as Vice Principal. At its opening, the College was the first mixed gender institution under lay control. The College accepted its first group of 182 students in 1968.

Initially, the College’s degree qualifications were awarded by University of Birmingham. In 1983, under threat of closure, the College entered into an agreement with nearby Westhill College to share facilities. This relationship ended abruptly in 1998 when Coventry University started to award all degrees and Westhill College was absorbed into University of Birmingham. Between 2003 and 2008, University of Leicester validated all degrees at the College.The Privy Council gave the institution degree awarding powers in 2007 finally marking the institution’s independence.

Between the years 2000 and 2008, the College expanded rapidly. Student numbers increased 112%.

Originally called Newman College of Higher Education, the College was established as a centre for the training of teachers for local primary and secondary schools. The institution changed its name to Newman University College in January 2008 and to Newman University in 2013.Upon receiving university status, then Principal, Professor Peter Lutzeier, commented ‘it has been a long road to get here but achieving full university status provides welcome recognition for the quality of Newman’s courses, graduates and staff’. Newman is one of only three Catholic Universities in the UK, and the first established since the Reformation.





Newman University
Genners Lane
Bartley Green
Birmingham B32 3NT
Tel: +44(0)121 476 1181
Fax: +44(0)121 476 1196