Sir Anthony Seldon has big plans for the University of Buckingham which include ‘beautifying’ the town and branching out to Bicester.
The vice-chancellor, who took the helm in September, is finalising his 10-year plan which will include adding hundreds of extra students.
He is delighted with how relationships with the town have strengthened and he is looking forward to enhancing the university’s stature.
“The university is going to be expanding in a number of areas,” said Sir Anthony, who has written or edited dozens of books.
“We want to expand in Buckingham itself and I am very much hoping that the community is going to be supportive of these plans.”
Sir Anthony said he has held ‘outline talks’ with people in Bicester about a campus there. The university, which has around 2,000 students enrolled, has a medical school in Milton Keynes and a new office opens in London next month.
But he is most pleased about the way Buckingham has embraced the university, after a rocky period.
He said: “The support from the town and the town council has been tremendous.
“I have been told that – in the not too distant past – relationships were not good, but they are now very good and I am keen to make them closer still.
“I want Buckingham to be the university which has the best relationship with its local community in Britain.”
Sir Anthony, who joined the university after nine years as master of Wellington College, says the 10 year plan represents ‘exciting times’.
He wants to update some of the ‘ugly’ university buildings and improve the campus aesthetics.
He said: “We want to beautify the whole area, as well as develop it. We want to make much more of the river – I want to put a walkway around the whole bow of the river.”
He emphasised that the university is the ‘biggest employer in the town’, contributing £70 million to the local economy.
“I think we are only at the beginning,” he said. “There is pride, progression and gain for local businesses, if the community will let us – that is absolutely pivotal.
“It’s not to say that we are always going to get things right, but the students do very well. They were too noisy at the annual ball – we need to look at that.
“But in general, I think things are going very well.”