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Harper Adams University

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Harper Adams University

Harper Adams University
Motto Utile Dulci (Latin)
Motto in English Useful and agreeable
Established 1901
Type Public
Chancellor HRH the Princess Royal
Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn
Students 2,755[1]
Undergraduates 2,590[1]
Postgraduates 2,695[1]
Other students 80 FE[1]
Location Edgmond, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Campus Rural
Colours           Blue and gold

Harper Adams University is a university located close to the village of Edgmond (near Newport), in Shropshire, England. It is the UK's leading specialist provider of higher education for the agri-food chain and rural sector.


Harper Adams opened in 1901 to six students after Thomas Harper Adams, a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer who had died in 1892, bequeathed the estate. Headworth Foulkes was the first principal of the College. In 1909 a specialist poultry husbandry was created.[2]

The university's main building

Harper Adams remained open during the First World War, and in 1915 the first women were admitted into the college on wartime farm courses. Harper was the first institute to do so, and in 1916 women were admitted full-time onto a wide variety of courses. Approximately 200 staff and former students served in the forces in the war and 17 died. In their memory, the college's library was established on a permanent basis after a successful funds appeal in 1921.[3]

The agricultural depression of the 1920s onwards led to a drop in student numbers. In 1922 Charles Crowther became principal and efforts were taken to ensure the college stayed open. The National Institute of Poultry Husbandry opened in 1926, bringing with it to Harper a high profile in areas of teaching and research.

The College managed to stay open during the Second World War, and in 1939 the first land girls arrived at the college. Bill Price became Principal in 1946. The Jubilee Hostel was opened in 1951.

Reginald Kenny became principal in 1962. In 1964 the funding of the college passed from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Department of Education and Science. The first Higher National Diploma students were enrolled in 1969. Tony Harris became principal in 1977.

Degree courses were first introduced at Harper Adams in 1981. It was one of the earliest institutions to introduce a BSc sandwich course. The CNAA granted Harper the authority to validate its own courses; in 1988 the first Harper Adams graduation ceremony took place and a year later the first PhD was awarded.

A wintertime view from the university's west lawn.

Student numbers passed 1000 for the first time in 1991. In 1994 three new residences were opened. Professor Wynn Jones became principal in 1996, and in that year the Privy Council allowed Harper to award degrees. In 1998 Harper gained the title of University College.

In 2004, Harper Adams was awarded £2.1 million in funding to develop its work with rural businesses. Harper Adams gained the power to award research degrees in 2006 and shortly after, a new Biomass Hall was opened. For the first time, in 2008 Harper Adams was awarded the title of 'Best University College' from The Sunday Times – the same title followed for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. That same year and the year preceding, Harper Adams achieved first place for teaching quality, also in The Sunday Times.

The university's Bamford Library opened in September 2003.

In 2009, Dr David Llewellyn became principal and shortly after, the new dairy unit and regional food academy were opened. A couple of years later, in 2011, the Faccenda student centre opened, containing a gym, cafe, student hub and student services. In the same year, the anaerobic digester opened. It is expected to offset the carbon emissions from the university three times over. It has already won a Renewable Energy Infrastructure Award and hosts an award winning anaerobic digestion facility.[4]

Harper Adams is a lead academic sponsor of the JCB Academy which opened in 2010. JCB Academy was the first university technical college to be established in England.

In 2012 Harper Adams had the title 'university' conferred upon it; this ended the institution's long history of being a college and simultaneously signalled the beginning of a new era. The designation of Harper Adams as such represents the establishment of Shropshire's first university.[5]


The campus is in parkland on the outskirts of Edgmond near Newport, Shropshire.

Since 2000, Harper Adams has rapidly expanded and improved its facilities, while introducing new ones. In 2003, the new Bamford Library opened. A year later, investments in new sports facilities followed.

Academic profile

Undergraduate courses are offered via five academic departments:

  • Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
  • Crops and Environment Science
  • Engineering
  • Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management
  • Land, Farm and Agri-Business Management

The University also offers a range of masters courses (MSc, MEng and MBA) and research opportunities at PhD and post-doctoral levels, as well as work-based learning opportunities

In 2011, Harper Adams was placed in the top 50 (at 49) of all universities in the UK for the first time, according to the Sunday Times University Guide.

Notable Alumni


  1. ^ a b c d "Table 0a – All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07" ( 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. pp. 68–69.  
  4. ^ Harper Adams College Digester CHP Plant,, accessed 14 March 2013
  5. ^

External links

  • Harper Adams University homepage
  • Harper Adams University Students' Union homepage

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