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Hundreds enjoy Midsummer Party to celebrate 175th anniversary

Hundreds of guests enjoyed a special immersive Midsummer Party to celebrate Liverpool Hope University’s 175th anniversary.

Doves were released, Hope’s own official rose was officially revealed and the University’s proud history was told through performance, theatre and music in the summer sunshine on Friday (June 28).

Guests were led through a themed journey around the Hope Park campus, taking in four settings - Faith, Hope, Love and Gold - which celebrated Hope’s achievements, and its ongoing commitment to academic excellence.

At each stop there was a carefully crafted selection of food and drink designed to complement the theme.

The evening began by the fountains outside the historic Grade II-listed Hilda Constance Allen building, which has stood on the site since 1930.

Past meets present there with one of Hope’s oldest original buildings sitting alongside the new Sports Science Avenue - unveiled in 2016.

In this zone, guests learned about the University’s three founding colleges – S. Katharine’s College, Notre Dame College and Christ’s College. 

Then Hope’s Graduate Theatre Company performed a piece to celebrate the important role that Hilda Constance Allen played in educating women to become teachers, thus helping to ensure that education became available to more people across the city.

The University's most iconic building is named after Hilda Constance Allen building.

Next was an exploration of Hope through the 20th century, as war and sectarianism brought new challenges.

Swing music from The Phil Shotton Big Band set the scene, as the role the University played during the Second World War was explained.

With staff and students evacuated to the Lake District, the college buildings were transformed into a hospital.

Moving beyond the war years, the University celebrated the founding of its third college - Christ’s College - in 1964.

The colleges went on to form the only Higher Education ecumenical institution in Europe.

The next setting celebrated the University’s love for the natural environment and its international partners across the globe. To commemorate the special anniversary, a Ginkgo Biloba tree – also known as the ‘Tree of Hope’ - was planted and unveiled by the Chair of the University Council, Canon Peter Winn.

In keeping with the Chinese heritage of the tree, there was a performance of the ancient Chinese string instrument the Guzheng (Chinese zither) by musician Xiaoxiao Hou.

The ‘Liverpool Hope’ Rose, which has been created by acclaimed growers Peter Beales, was also unveiled by Vice Chancellor Professor Gerald Pillay.

Continuing the international theme, there was more music accompanied by an Indian dance performance by PhD student Santosh Nair.

The swinging sixties was the theme for the Gold party, which brought the night’s celebrations to a close, with more live music from the iconic era and gold-themed cocktails.

There was also a nod to performances at the University during that decade from some of the biggest names in pop music, including Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart and the Bee Gees.

The gold-theme reflects the University’s recent accolades, including the TEF Gold award, which recognises Hope as a university, “of the highest quality found in the UK” … “delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students”.

Professor Pillay said: "The evening was a wonderful celebration of our 175th anniversary, and a special way of telling the Hope story in a truly different, engaging way.

"It was rewarding to see so many friends and supporters of the University have such a pleasant evening in the sunshine and celebrate our past and future together with us."

Published on 04/07/2019