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The first 10 years 1969-1979

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The Open University Charter
Image : Open University Charter
Date: 2013
Clip: Charter Ceremony
Duration: 00:01:22
Date: 1979

On 23rd April 1969 Her Majesty The Queen approved the creation of the Royal Charter of The Open University. The 23rd April has since been celebrated as the official birthday and Charter Day of the University.

The image on this page shows the OU Charter, stored in the University's Archive. Read the full text of the current wording of the Charter on the main OU website.

On the 23rd July 1969 the first meeting of the Congregation of the University was held at the Royal Society. The Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Jennie Lee were present at the event, where the Charter was officially presented by the Privy Council and Geoffrey Crowther was installed as the first Chancellor.

It was on this occasion that Lord Crowther gave a speech describing the mission of the University - a mission that remains in place 50 years later.

"We are open, first, as to people...

We are open as to places...

We are open as to methods...

We are open, finally, to ideas...'

This video shows a short clip of the ceremony. Further information about Geoffrey Crowther and an audio recording and transcript of his full speech can be found on the Geoffrey Crowther featured item page.

The first 10 years 1969-1979 (page 1 of 5)