The University of Hertfordshire: Powering Progress for 70 Years

The University of Hertfordshire has a rich and vibrant history of higher education excellence. In 2022-23 we celebrated our 70th anniversary of powering the potential of the many students, graduates, businesses and staff who have passed through our doors.

We’ve come a long way since our founding in 1952 as a Technical College, on land donated by the then Chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft company, AS Butler. Many of our earliest courses were directly related to industry, with an emphasis on mechanical and aeronautical engineering and the natural sciences.

Those firm foundations led swiftly to our expansion, first into a Polytechnic before achieving our full University status in 1992. The legacy of our history can still be felt across the de Havilland Campus, with many of the original de Havilland Airfield landmarks, such as the beacon and the de Havilland Goblin engine, remaining prominent on-site and continuing to define the character of the University.

Should you visit our campus in the evening today, you may see that historic beacon lit up in celebration of one of the many occasions of importance to our 32,000 students who call more than 140 countries home.

The University of Hertfordshire has stayed true to our roots, sustaining our focus on ensuring the employability of our students, providing over 550 career-focused courses aligned with the needs of industry and the public sector. As Hertfordshire’s only University, we remain committed to the regional skills agenda, just as we have done throughout each of our 70 years.

You can find out more about our key milestones and achievements in the timeline below.

Have you been part of our history?

We'd love to hear share the many stories and experiences from those who have been part of our history. Please email us at if you'd like to share yours.

Herts history in pictures

More information

If you are interested in local and regional history, you may also find the Heritage Hub a good source of information.