Varsity with a continental touch

Varsity with a continental touch
Among the best: Goodfellow says the varsity has manifested itself strength and quality through its research.

UNITED KINGDOM - Described as the "garden of England' the county of Kent is known for its orchards, beautiful flowers and the sea on all three sides.

The University of Kent located in the outskirts is surrounded by lush greenery and dubbed the "United Kingdom's European University" because of its proximity to Europe which is connected by the Channel Tunnel.

"Since one side faces the continent, it makes sense for us from the United Kingdom to have strong links with mainland Europe ... we have been building such ties for over 15 years," said University of Kent vice-chancellor Dame Julia Goodfellow.

The university has study centres in Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome, as well as multiple campuses and partner colleges within the UK, she added during a recent interview in Kuala lumpur.

With students from 130 countries and staff from 70 countries, it has also forged links with universities in Hong Kong, China, the United States and Malaysia, where there is a strong alumni network.

The varsity turns 50 next year and Goodfellow's visit to Malaysia was to discuss plans for its Golden Jubilee celebrations with the alumni group in Malaysia.

She added that having the initial group of 500 students walking into the campus in 1965, was the first defining moment for the university, adding that there were black and white photos to record that historical occasion.

"It takes many years to start a university," she said, adding that it required much effort to get support for it nationally and then to get it actually started.

"The campus was bare (during the early years) but now it's very beautiful with lots of trees and interesting buildings," she added.

By its 25th year, all the main buildings were constructed and the campus looked very much like it looks today, she added,

Goodfellow said that this was another milestone in the varsity's history.

From then on, there was no turning back as it established new campuses and study centres all over the UK and Europe, before branching out to other countries.

In fact, the opening of the second campus in Medway about 64km from the original campus, was another defining moment for the university. She shared that the varsity had in recent years manifested its strength and quality through its research.

"We are among the top research universities in the UK."

Goodfellow added that last year, the university was ranked third in the UK by students with regard to the level of academic satisfaction.

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