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Ancient statutes seal Wye and Imperial merger

THE merging of Imperial with Wye College signals a shift towards more novel agricultural and environmental research and education.

Imperial College at Wye, with an annual turnover of about £12 million, was created on 1 August after a ceremony in which Lord Brabourne, chairman of Wye College, handed ancient 15th century statutes and the Royal Charter of 1948 to Imperial rector, Lord Oxburgh, to keep in College archives.

Professor Tim Clark, new provost at Wye and formerly pro-rector (educational quality), and professor of pulmonary medicine at Imperial, unveiled the merger plaque in the foyer of the Kempe Centre.

Professor John Prescott addresses staff and guests as Imperial College at Wye is formed
"My challenge is to make the merger work to the benefit of all parties and develop Imperial College as a major player in all facets of biological scientific science, from basic bioscience through to agriculture and medicine," he said.

Lord Oxburgh, thanking Professor John Prescott, retiring principal at Wye who had worked constructively to make the merger a success, added that the academic scene in Britain is changing so rapidly, the future for Wye would have had to be different to that of the past.

"It was clear that agriculture was a discipline of increasing importance whether viewed from the narrowest focus of European Union policy or the problem of feeding the worlds increasing population during the next two decades," he said about Wye, founded in 1447 by Cardinal John Kempe as a place for secular priests.

"There are tremendous opportunities to bring together the strengths of Wye in food, agriculture and rural environment with those complementary activities in the TH Huxley school and department of biology at Imperial. This powerful combination will stimulate interdisciplinary research and new initiatives which in turn will promote undergraduate and postgraduate teaching."

*** © Imperial College 2000. This article originally appeared in IC Reporter, the staff newspaper of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. Please contact the editor Tanya Reed(Email:, Telephone: +44 20 7594 6697) for permission to re-use any or all parts of this article. ***