Features | By Hamdi Khalif

Professor Sir Paul Curran’s 10+ years of distinguished leadership


Professor Paul Curran joins City as its President


Professor Paul Curran joined The City University as it was known then as its President in August 2010. He is quoted as having described his new position as more of a task than a role for he was primarily appointed to reposition the University internationally. His ambitious strategy, which would come a couple of years later, placed quality at its heart. When asked what makes City special upon his appointment, he said: “City is distinctive because it is committed to academic excellence, focused on business and the professions and located in the heart of London. No other institution has these characteristics and our Vision and Strategic Plan will be founded on them. As for why it is also so special: that is easy, it is the people”.


City joins the Square Mile campus


Cass Executive Education opened at 200 Aldersgate Street, making it one of the largest Executive Education facilities in the historic financial district of the City of London.


City named the greenest university in London


The People & Planet League recognised City as the most sustainable university in London and the fifth in the UK. Since taking the crown in 2015, City continued to top the sustainability league table for three more years before the league was discontinued in 2019.

Olympian opens largest student sports facility in central London


Paul’s promise to City’s overall quality was realised in significant investment to its estate. The first to benefit from this was CitySport. A hub for both fitness and fun, CitySport re-opened with 75 per cent increased capacity making it the largest student sports facility in central London. It was officially opened by Olympic cycling gold medallist Dani King.

City 1st in London for student satisfaction


In 2015, the National Student Survey (NSS) ranked City as the top university in London for student satisfaction. City also saw a larger climb than any other university under Paul’s leadership and the NSS result helped the 2017 The Guardian University League to recognise City as 4th in London and 18th in the UK.


City joins the University of London


Under Paul’s leadership, City was welcomed into the fold of the University of London, one of the oldest universities in the UK. Established as a secular alternative to Oxford and Cambridge, the University of London was the first UK university to admit students regardless of their gender, race or religion. After several unsuccessful attempts to join the University of London, City was finally admitted with Paul’s direction and determination and as a result, students and staff alike can now benefit from the opportunities that a University of London membership offers.

Knighthood for the President of City


Paul received a knighthood from HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday 6th May 2016. He was recognised in the New Year Honours for his wide-ranging achievements in higher education and your commitment to academic excellence. Speaking after the ceremony, he said: “The knighthood is a great honour, not only for me but for all of City’s staff, students, alumni, partners and friends. Today’s investiture proved to be an amazing and a profoundly humbling experience. I am immensely grateful for the life-changing effect that higher education had on me, for the encouragement of my many colleagues and for the support of my wife and daughter, who have been with me every step of the way”.


A new mascot for sports students


City Wolf was born in 2017 and despite rumours at the time, it was never intended to replace the iconic King Carrot as the official Students’ Union mascot. Instead, the gender-neutral mascot was designed to help create a distinct identity for sports and sports students at City, something you were keen to implement. It was hoped that the ‘pack mentality’ would help foster a spirit of community and competition.

City recognised for academic excellence


The Higher Education Funding Council for England awarded City a Silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework. City was praised particularly for its high-quality teaching and the satisfaction and exceptional employment record of its students. This was undeniably due to City’s unwavering focus on academic excellence and investments in its academic staff, estate and infrastructure, which all helped to create a nurturing environment for students to learn and succeed.

HRH The Princess Royal opens new entrance


On Tuesday 28th March 2017, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, officially opened City’s new entrance on Northampton Square. In her role as Chancellor of the University of London, Her Royal Highness toured the newly renovated entrance and met with staff and students from across City. Paul was delighted to have Her Royal Highness open the new main entrance and said: “Our new entrance, spiral sculpture and stone floor feature are confident symbols of the tremendous progress we have made at City over the last few years, including the joining of the University of London last year”.


The Business School awarded PRME status by UN


City’s Business School was recognised for its efforts in sustainability by the United Nations who named it a PRME champion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018. The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) are a voluntary United Nations supported initiative with over 650 members worldwide. Between 2017–2019, Bayes Business School as it is now known, was the only business school in London with a PRME champion status.


City celebrates 125 years


The Northampton Institute (City’s predecessor) was founded in 1894 with the objective of promoting “the industrial skill, general knowledge, health and wellbeing of young men and women belonging to the poorer class”. 125 years on, City reflected on the institution’s founding principles and celebrated both the local and global impact it has made as an institution.

The Duchess of Sussex visits City


City hosted The Duchess of Sussex’s first official visit in her role as Patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). The Duchess was warmly greeted by students and staff of City before she was met by Paul and the ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General, Dr Joanna Newman. The Duchess explored ACU’s work to promote inclusion and access to education for underrepresented groups and heard from its students about their research in the fields of sustainability, global health, peace and reconciliation, which she herself is deeply passionate about. Paul was honoured to welcome the Duchess to City and said: “City is one of the UK’s most popular universities for international students and staff, notably those from Commonwealth countries, so we were particularly proud to host her visit. Our membership of the ACU, the world’s first international university network, is something in which we take great pride”.


A new building for City law students


As part of Paul’s vision to improve City’s estate to support student learning and experience, a new building for The City Law School opened on Sebastian Street. Highly impressed with this new addition, Paul said the building “stands out as a superb location for students, academics and practitioners at all stages of legal education and research. After such a long time in gestation and a huge amount of work from The City Law School, PaF and other colleagues, I am delighted to see that our aim of bringing the two components of our great Law School together in one purpose-built home will be achieved in only a matter of days”.