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The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will present the first in a series of free lectures at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) taking place to honour a Shropshire pioneer.

Professor Mike Thomas will discuss ‘The Role of the University in Both Higher Education and the Community’ on Wednesday March 16, as part of the Baxter Lecture Series.

The series is dedicated to Puritan Minister Richard Baxter who put forward the idea of a university in Shrewsbury in 1646 and recognises that UCS is catching up on what could have been almost four centuries ago.

People are invited to hear Prof Thomas’s insights and put questions to him at Guildhall, UCS’s learning and research base at Frankwell Quay in Shrewsbury, from 7pm to 8.30pm.

The lecture will cover some of the complex issues that differentiate a university from other higher education providers and the role of the university as an anchor institution which can support and enhance regional, economic, cultural and community life.

Prof Thomas joined UCLan in the summer of 2014 from the University of Chester where he was Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic) for four years.

He is a member of the National Council for Enterprise in Education and Entrepreneurial University Leadership Programme among other organisations, charities and boards.

His university leadership roles have been the culmination of a rich and diverse career in which he has pioneered treatment for people with eating disorders, held management posts in industry and the public sector, practised as a mental health nurse and served in the Armed Forces.

The next lecture in the Baxter series will focus on ‘Economic Development in the 21st Century: Challenges for Shrewsbury - Reconciling Continuity with Change’. The lecture by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Prof Tim Wheeler, will take place on Wednesday July 27, from 7pm at Guildhall.

The final lecture in the series will be presented by UCS Deputy Provost, Paul Kirkbright, on Wednesday December 7. The lecture titled ‘Ambitious Economies, Ambitious Universities’ will also be held at Guildhall from 7pm.

Mr Kirkbright said: “It is an honour to be joined by Prof Thomas and Prof Wheeler in this series of lectures and to dedicate them to the forerunner of UCS, Shropshire university proponent Richard Baxter.”

To book places for the lectures email or call 01743 297185.

Alternatively, people can visit the information point at Guildhall (SY3 8HQ) which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4pm on Fridays or Rowley’s House on Wednesdays between 11am and 2pm.

For further details on UCS events go to:

For more information on Prof Thomas see:

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