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One of the photographs on display at the exhibition

Former staff members, former students, former college board members and other friends gathered at the former Lews Castle College last night (Thursday 27 September) to 70 years of learning, training, and research in the Outer Hebrides

This month they have been celebrating the work and achievements of the college, from its creation in 1953 in the original Lews Castle building to the launch of the newly merged college UHI North, West and Hebrides this summer.

The evening involved an exhibition that is part of display on-line as well which is all a chance to look back at the success stories of students, alumni, staff and partners and look forward to a bright future as the university promises to offer more opportunities to our students and more support to strengthen the businesses, partnerships and communities.

Two former principals were present – Mick Roebuck and David Green.  Also present was Catriona Nicolson, the niece of the first principal, the late Lt-Col John MacSween.

Speaking to those present, Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive of UHI North, West and Hebrides, said it was a celebration of all those involved in the creation and development of this college from 1953 onwards.  The original three threads of the technical college were navigation, textiles and construction – now there are 12 distinct curriculum areas.

The original inspiration of the college – to provide education after school on the islands to enable people and communities to develop and thrive – remains that of the new organisation.

The college has been innovative in many ways over the years – from its involvement in the development of the Millennium Institute and later UHI to its use of technology for remote and on-line learning. Prior to the pandemic UHI was the biggest user of video-conferencing technology in Europe.  In a recent OECD report, this aspect was highly praised for its support for stronger communities.  Despite the changes of name, “the college has continued to be leading in many ways…the college has absolutely retained its purpose and mission.

“I hope the future is as bright as the past is illustrious.”

The 70th Anniversary website is being created by a steering group of former staff and students dedicated to celebrating 70 years of learning, training, and research in the Outer Hebrides. 
They say: “We are marking this big anniversary by asking staff, students, and friends from across the decades to share their stories.


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