Momentous milestone: Abbey College Manchester marks 30 years

Abbey College Manchester, which welcomes a large number of students from Lancashire, is celebrating its 30th anniversary, marking the significant occasion with a commemorative virtual event.

Over one hundred guests from across the world gathered online for the celebration, which opened with anecdotal messages and well wishes from former and current students, staff and directors, which were displayed alongside a selection of images from the archive.

Attendees embarked on a journey through time as monumental points in the history of the college were presented chronologically by Principal, Liz Elam, and other members of the Senior Leadership Team including Nigel Walker, Iain Stewart and Chris Randell. The presentation told of key landmarks which triggered many happy memories, from the opening of the college in 1990 on Charles Street, to welcoming the first international students in 2002, the development and introduction of innovative academic programmes, the college’s relocation and new state-of-the-art facilities declared officially open by the Lord Mayor of Greater Manchester.

The joyous occasion also included special guest appearances. Former basketball international Jamie Edwards, of the Manchester Giants, spoke about the college’s unique partnership with the renowned club for the new Academic Studies with Basketball Training programme, and Mick Brennan addressed the audience from International House, which facilities the professional sports training for Abbey College Manchester’s exclusive Academic Studies with Football Training course.

Another key highlight of the event was a special poem ‘Am I stranger’, written and beautifully delivered by English teacher Jane Chiarotti.

The academic accomplishments of the college and its students were also recognised during the evening, as the class of 2020 were highly-commended for their achievements, including their inspirational university destinations.  

Not to be deterred by the current pandemic, attendees celebrated the noteworthy occasion with a virtual toast and ceremonial cake cutting, before the online event concluded with a trip down memory lane as a video was showcased summarising the key achievements and locations of the college over the years.

Principal, Liz Elam commented, “I would like to thank everybody who joined us for our 30th anniversary celebration and for the many congratulatory messages received. We are delighted that we were able to mark this momentous milestone with our wider college community and recognise together the achievements of our staff members and students.

“Origins of the college were born out of the small class sizes, first name terms between students and staff members, and no uniform; this support, individual care and flexibility was very much the ethos that the students wanted for and that has remained the ethos for the college to this day. It has been inspiring to reflect on thirty years of significant accomplishments for the college, achieving success together.”