Harper Adams University

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Harper Adams University
MottoUtile Dulci (Latin)
Motto in English
Useful and agreeable
Established2012: gained University Status
1998: gained University college status
1901: Founded as Harper Adams College
ChancellorThe Princess Royal
Vice-ChancellorDavid Llewellyn
Students5,375 (2018/19)[1]
Undergraduates4,740 (2018/19)[1]
Postgraduates635 (2018/19)[1]
Other students
60 FE[2]
Location, ,
TF10 8NB
United Kingdom

52°46′47″N 2°25′39″W / 52.779651°N 2.427517°W / 52.779651; -2.427517
Colours          Blue and gold
WebsiteHarper Adams University
Harper Adams University logo.svg

Harper Adams University is a public university located close to the village of Edgmond, near Newport, in Shropshire, England. Established in 1901, the university is a specialist provider of higher education for the agricultural and rural sector.

The university provides more than 50 foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes to students from over 30 countries. The university is set within a 550 hectare (1360 acre) working farm.[3]


The university's main building

"Harper Adams College", which would become the University, was founded in 1901. Its first Principal was Headworth Foulkes (1901–1922). Thomas Harper Adams, a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer, died in 1892, bequeathing the estate with was the original foundation. The College had just six students to begin with.

In 1909 a specialist poultry husbandry was created.[4]

During the First World War, Harper Adams remained open, and in 1915 the first women were admitted into the College on wartime farm courses. Harper Adams was the first institute to do so, and in 1916 women were admitted as full-time students onto a wide variety of courses. Approximately, 200 staff and former students served during the war and 40 are known to have died as a result.[5] In 2015, 10 additional names were added to the university's memorial board, after previously unrecorded alumni were also discovered to been killed in action.[6] A board in the Old Library listing the names of those killed was dedicated in March 2015, crafted by Peter Nunn of the university's estate department, whilst a new memorial garden was also created outside the library.

The agricultural depression of the 1920s onward led to a drop in student numbers. In 1922, Charles Crowther (1922–1944) 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 girls arrived at the College. Bill Price (1946–1962) become Principal in 1946 and student numbers steadily rose to 222. The Jubilee Hostel was opened in 1951.[7]

Reginald Kenny became Principal in 1962 until 1977. In 1964, the funding of the College was 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 was later appointed Principal in 1977 until 1994. Degree courses were first introduced at Harper Adams in 1981. The university was one of the first institutions to introduce a BSc. sandwich course. The CNAA granted Harper Adams the authority to validate its own courses. In 1985, the science building was opened by The Princess Margaret.[7]

A wintertime view from the university's west lawn.

Student numbers passed 1000 for the first time in 1991. In 1994, three new student residences were opened. Professor Wynn Jones became Principal in 1996, and later that year the Privy Council granted the university degree awarding powers. In 1998, Harper Adams 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. Dr David Llewellyn was appointed Principal in 2009.[8] In the September, a new £2.3 million dairy unit was opened[9] and in December, a £3million award-winning Regional Food Academy (RFA) was officially opened by The Princess Royal.[10] In 2010, Nick Herbert opened a Postgraduate and Professional Development Centre, and in the same year the Faccenda student centre and a new student hall of residence were opened. An anaerobic digester opened in 2011, expects to offset the carbon emissions of the university three times over annually. It won a Renewable Energy Infrastructure Award and hosts an award-winning anaerobic digestion facility.[11]

The university's Bamford Library opened in September 2003.

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.[12]

In 2012, Harper Adams had the title 'university' conferred upon it. This ended the institution's long history of being a college and consequently, Harper Adams became Shropshire's first university.[13]

The university runs a joint veterinary school with Keele University.[14] The development comprises a veterinary hospital, a clinical skills centre, and the Keele campus-based Veterinary School hub facilities. Developed by CVS on the Keele University Science and Innovation Park, the facilities will be ready for the first student intake in autumn 2020.[15]



The campus is on farm land on the outskirts of Edgmond near Newport, Shropshire. Over the last decade more than £45 million has been invested in the campus.

  • University Farm: Harper Adams operates a 635 hectare (1569 acres) commercial farm on campus.
The university's Bamford Library opened in September 2003.
Boughey Hall, Harper Adams University
Harris Hall, Harper Adams University
  • Main Building
  • Weston Building
  • Faccenda
  • Bamford Library
  • Foulkes Crowther
  • Postgraduate and Professional Development Centre
  • A-Block
  • B-Block
  • Frank Parkinson Farm Education Centre
  • Jubilee Adams
  • Tudor Lodge and North West Building
  • Aspire Centre
  • C-Block
  • Doctor's surgery
  • Frontier Crop Centre
  • Queen Mother Hall (QMH)
  • Elizabeth Creak Laboratories
  • Jean Jackson Entomology Building
  • Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre
  • Agri EPI Centre Midlands Innovation Hub
  • Regional Food Academy
  • Saputo UK (formerly Dairy Crest) Innovation Centre


Undergraduate students reside on campus in one of 15 halls.[16]


Academic departments[edit]

Undergraduate courses are offered via 11 academic departments:

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Sciences
  • Applied Biology
  • Business and Agri-Food
  • Countryside, Environment, Wildlife and Geography
  • Engineering
  • Food Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Real Estate, Property and Land Management
  • Veterinary Nursing
  • Veterinary Physiotherapy
  • Zoology



In 2014 Harper Adams University has been recognised for the quality of its research by the Research Excellence Framework.[17]

Areas of research include; management of soil and water, crop disease resistance, agricultural technology, livestock carbon footprint reduction, genetic approaches to improving food quality, bioenergy and renewable sources, agricultural landscape biodiversity, pedagogy and animal welfare.[18]

Research facilities

Facilities for the university's research work include:

  • Elizabeth Creek Building
  • Princess Margaret Science Laboratories
  • Jean Jackson Entomology Building
  • Crop and Environment Research Centre
  • Dairy Crest Innovation Centre
  • Poultry Research Unit
  • Regional Food Academy

Hands Free Hectare[edit]

for some years the "Hands Free Hectare" project has been working towards robotic farming operations.[19]

Ranking & Awards[edit]

National rankings
Complete (2021)[20]41
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[21]17
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[22]Gold

Notable awards:[edit]


Sunday Times[edit]

  • UK University of the Year, runner up 2020[24]
  • Top 20 Universities, (ranked 17th) 2019,[25]
  • Best Modern University, 2017 and 2019 [25]
  • Top 50 UK Universities 2011.[26]
  • Best University College (The Sunday Times): 2008, 2009. 2010, 2011, 2012

Times Higher Education[edit]

  • UK's Best Modern University (Times Higher Education), 2017.[27]
  • 1st Student Experience (Times Higher Education), 2017


  • Whatuni University of the Year, 2017.[28]
  • Whatuni Winner Job Prospects, 2020[29], 2017.[28]
  • Whatuni Winner Courses and Lecturers, 2020, 2019,2017, 2016, 2015.[30]
  • Whatuni Winner Student Support, 2017.[28]


The 2020 Graduate Outcomes survey showed 98.8% were in work or further study 15 months after completing their studies.[31]

Student life[edit]

Students' Union[edit]

The Students' Union ("SU)" provides entertainment in the student bar including comedy nights and live music.

The university has a number of student social facilities including;

  • Graze Café,
  • Kaldi Café,
  • Costa Coffee,
  • The Feed Store,
  • The Welly Inn,
  • Main Bar
  • Conference Dining Hall.


Harper Adams has a variety of sports clubs, including rugby, shooting, football, hockey, fencing, netball, polo, basketball, motorsport, off-roading, rowing, running, field sports, equestrian and mountain biking. The university competes in the British Universities and Colleges Sport leagues and championships.[32]

Harper Adams University Men's 1st VIII at BUCS Summer 2016


Harper Adams University Boat Club (HAURC) is located at Pengwern Boat Club on the River Severn in Shrewsbury.[33] Members compete in the BUCS Rowing League, local regattas. The club's registered blades are dark blue, cyan and gold.[34]


Harper Adams University Clay Shooting Club (HAUSC) is the largest club in the university with over 100 members.[35] The club competes in local competitions, BUCS League, the Countryside Alliance Cirencester Cup Competition and also holds private matches against the Royal Agricultural University and St Andrews University. The HAUSC is consistently placed amongst the most successful shooting clubs in the UK. In 2011 and 2012, the HAUSC won the national title at the BUCS Clay Pigeon Shooting Championships.[36]


The Motorsport Team has its own VW Golf GTi rally car and Ford Fiesta R2 National.[37][38] In January 2017, the team announced a partnership with the M-Sport World Rally Team. The team regularly competes in BRC events.[38]


The university holds four themed balls throughout the year; Fresher's Ball (September), Christmas Ball (December), St Patrick's Ball (March) and the Summer Ball (June).

Coat of Arms and flag[edit]

The arms of the university are those of the Harper Adams family, which were formally transferred to the university by letters patent presented in May 2018 Rouge Croix Pursuivant, of the College of Arms in May 2018.[39] As a banner of arms these are in use as the university flag.

The arms appear in stained glass in the main building.[40]

Royal Visits[edit]

The following Royal visits have been made to Harper Adams University;

There have also been visits from HM The Queen, HM The Queen Mother and HRH Princess Margaret.[46]

HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of Harper Adams University
HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of Harper Adams University


The ceremonial head of the university is the Chancellor:

Vice-Chancellors and Principals[edit]

On becoming a university the academic and administrative head of the institution has been known as the Vice-Chancellor, and the following people have held that role

As a college and then a university college the academic and administrative head of Harper Adams was known as the principal, and that role was held as follows:

  • Dr David Llewelyn (2009–2013: role was renamed Vice-Chancellor on full university status being conferred)
  • Wynne Jones (1996–2009)
  • Tony Harris (1977–94)
  • Reginald Kenney (1962–77)
  • Bill Price (1946–1962)
  • Charles Crowther (1922–1944)
  • Hedworth Foulkes (1901–22)

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable governors[edit]

Honorary degree and fellowship holders[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

  • Charles Crowther (1876–1964), Principal of Harper Adams Agricultural College from 1922 to 1944, father of Geoffrey Crowther, Baron Crowther
  • F. P. Raynham (1893–1954) In 1909 he was an office worker at the Harper Adams Agricultural College, he then became a British pilot[69] from the early days of aviation
  • William Thomas Price, CBE, MC, Principal, Harper Adams Agricultural College, CBE in 1960 New Year Honours
  • Anthony George Harris, OBE, Principal, Harper Adams Agricultural College, OBE in 1991 Birthday Honours
  • Izzy Warren-Smith, Senior Lecturer, Rural Economics and Management, Harper Adams University College (for services to the rural economy) Midlander of the Year 2003
  • Elphin Wynne Jones, OBE, Principal, Harper Adams University College, OBE in 2009 New Year Honours
  • David Llewellyn (born 1960) Vice-Chancellor[70] of Harper Adams University since 2009
  • Simon Leather, Professor of Entomology[71] at Harper Adams University, aphid specialist


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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°46′47″N 2°25′39″W / 52.779651°N 2.427517°W / 52.779651; -2.427517