First British university launches campus in New York

24 September 2013

First British university launches campus in New York

GCU will become the first British University to open a base in New York

The first British University to open a base in New York will arrive in the city on September 26.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) will unveil its plans for a satellite campus in New York at a reception hosted by its Chancellor, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, one of the world’s most decorated citizens for his pioneering work in micro-lending and alleviating world poverty.

Chancellor Yunus, who also holds America’s highest civilian honours – the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom – will announce the arrival of GCU New York to approximately 250 guests at a reception in the Stephan Weiss Studio.

Among the key figures attending the launch will be the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister with responsibility for North America, Mr Alistair Burt, and Dr Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and an honorary graduate of GCU. Also in attendance will be Christy Turlington Burns, founder of "Every Mother Counts" (EMC), a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world.

The University’s decision to open in New York – at 64 Wooster Street in the city’s SoHo district – is a key element of its global growth and transnational education strategy, and follows the successful launch of GCU London in 2010, which has reached maximum capacity in just three years of operation.

The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, said: “This is an exciting period in GCU’s history and we are delighted to be at the vanguard of Scotland’s and Britain’s contribution to enterprise, innovation and learning in one of the great cities of the world.”

“Extending our global network is vital to GCU’s future growth and New York will play a pivotal role in this. GCU New York will provide an important opportunity for us to work with new academic and business partners; will significantly raise our international profile; and will offer valuable exchange opportunities to students and staff on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“GCU will be the first British university to open a campus in New York and it will be modelled closely on our highly-successful GCU London campus. We were also the first Scottish university to launch a base in the capital and, like London, GCU New York will adopt a pioneering approach, evolving business relevant content and new teaching methods to complement the digital age.” 

GCU New York will initially offer a range of non-credit and non-degree-related executive education programs and masterclasses in key areas of strength, including the business of fashion, luxury brand management and finance and risk management. Following the granting of a charter by the New York State Education Department, GCU New York will offer a range of postgraduate programs including courses from the ground-breaking GCU British School of Fashion, which was launched in London earlier this month.

The British School of Fashion already enjoys the support of Britain’s best-known fashion institutions as well as a host of influential figures in the international fashion industry who are Honorary Professors of GCU. At its launch, the CEO of Marks and Spencer Marc Bolland described the British School of Fashion as the “best of British in its truest sense”. GCU New York aims to combine this ‘best of British’ approach with traditional Scottish higher educational and social values to help create its quality benchmark.

As well as satellite campuses in New York and London, GCU has partnerships in Oman and Bangladesh (the Caledonian College of Engineering and the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing), and associations with universities in North and South America, South Africa, the Middle East, India and China. The University, which can trace its origins back to 1875 through its founding colleges, also has a strong international presence at its main campus in Glasgow, with more than 100 countries represented among its 17,000-strong student body.

Underpinning Glasgow Caledonian University’s wide range of activities is its deep-rooted social conscience and commitment to the ‘common good’ enshrined in its old Scots motto ‘For the Common Weal’. This commitment is manifested through the University’s community outreach programs in Glasgow and its satellite campuses, and will be an important feature of GCU’s presence in New York City.

In Glasgow, for example, student volunteers work with more than 7,000 children and 2,400 parents through the award-winning Caledonian Club to help improve access to higher education, while a similar scheme operates out of GCU London.

Glasgow Caledonian University has also facilitated bringing the Grameen Bank micro-lending system to the UK – the lending scheme pioneered by Professor Yunus which has helped lift millions of people out of poverty worldwide – and which now operates in around 100 countries, including Grameen America in New York. In Bangladesh, the University supported the establishment of the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing to provide educational opportunities for rural young women from Grameen families, to raise nursing standards to international levels and to help develop local communities through outreach activities.

GCU is also a signatory to the United Nations PRME initiative (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and is the first Scottish university to join the UN Global Compact, the largest voluntary corporate initiative in the world.

The University’s commitment to the common good and to local communities is vital, according to GCU’s Chancellor: “I have always felt the university is a world of knowledge, trying to find new ways of solving global problems,” said Professor Yunus, “but at the same time I strongly feel that this knowledge has to spill over into the neighbourhood before you solve the problems of the world. The challenge you face right next door to your campus is the most important one.”

Alistair Burt, UK Foreign Office Minister, said: "I am honoured to share in the excitement of launching Glasgow Caledonian University’s new campus. I hope that they are the first of many British universities to open in New York.

“GCU now not only connects three great cities – Glasgow, London, and New York – but also a growing global academic network from South America to South Africa, the Middle East, India and China. GCU's commitment to fostering lifelong learning across the globe is a noble endeavour, to which I am proud to show my support.”