The University of Southampton (abbreviated as Soton in post-nominal letters) is a public research university in Southampton, England. Southampton is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities in the U.K., and ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. The university has seven campuses. The main campus is located in the Highfield area of Southampton and is supplemented by four other campuses within the city: Avenue Campus housing the School of Humanities, the National Oceanography Centre housing courses in Ocean and Earth Sciences, Southampton General Hospital offering courses in Medicine and Health Sciences, and Boldrewood Campus housing an engineering and maritime technology campus and Lloyd's Register. In addition, the university operates a School of Art based in nearby Winchester and an international branch in Malaysia offering courses in Engineering. Each campus is equipped with its own library facilities.The University of Southampton currently has 14,705 undergraduate and 7,960 postgraduate students, making it the largest university by higher education students in the South East region. The University of Southampton Students' Union, provides support, representation and social activities for the students ranging from involvement in the Union's four media outlets, to any of the 200 affiliated societies and 80 sports. The university owns and operates a sports ground for use by students and also operates a sports centre on the main campus.The University of Southampton has its origin as the Hartley Institution which was formed in 1862 from a benefaction by Henry Robinson Hartley (1777–1850). Hartley had inherited a fortune from two generations of successful wine merchants. At his death in 1850, he left a bequest of £103,000 to the Southampton Corporation for the study and advancement of the sciences in his property on Southampton's High Street, in the city centre.In 1902, the Hartley College became the Hartley University college, a degree awarding branch of the University of London. This was after inspection of the teaching and finances by the University College Grants Committee, and donations from Council members (including William Darwin the then Treasurer). An increase in student numbers in the following years motivated fund raising efforts to move the college to greenfield land around Back Lane (now University Road) in the Highfield area of Southampton. On 20 June 1914, Viscount Haldane opened the new site of the renamed Southampton University College. However, the outbreak of the First World War six weeks later meant no lectures could take place there, as the buildings were handed over by the college authorities for use as a military hospital. To cope with the volume of casualties, wooden huts were erected at the rear of the building. These were donated to university by the War Office after the end of fighting, in time for the transfer from the high street premises in 1920. At this time, Highfield Hall, a former country house and overlooking Southampton Common, for which a lease had earlier been secured, commenced use as a halls of residence for female students. South Hill, on what is now the Glen Eyre Halls Complex was also acquired, along with South Stoneham House to house male students.Further expansion through the 1920s and 1930s was made possible through private donors, such as the two daughters of Edward Turner Sims for the construction of the university library, and from the people of Southampton, enabling new buildings on both sides of University Road. During World War II the university suffered damage in the Southampton Blitz with bombs landing on the campus and its halls of residence. The college decided against evacuation, instead expanding its Engineering Department, School of Navigation and developing a new School of Radio Telegraphy. The university hosted the Supermarine plans and design team for a period but in December 1940 further bomb hits resulted in it being relocated to Hursley House.On 29 April 1952, Queen Elizabeth II granted the University of Southampton a Royal Charter, the first to be given to a university during her reign, which enabled it to award degrees. Six faculties were created: Arts, Science, Engineering, Economics, Education and Law. The first University of Southampton degrees were awarded on 4 July 1953, following the appointment of the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of the university. Student and staff numbers grew throughout the next couple of decades as a response to the Robbins Report. The campus also grew significantly, when in July 1961 the university was given the approval to acquire some 200 houses on or near the campus by the Borough Council. In addition, more faculties and departments were founded, including Medicine and Oceanography (despite the discouragement of Sir John Wolfenden, the chairman of the University Grants Committee). Student accommodation was expanded throughout the 1960s and 1970s with the acquisition of Chilworth manor and new buildings at the Glen Eyre and Montefiore complexes.In 1987, a crisis developed when the University Grants Committee announced, as part of nationwide cutbacks, a series of reductions in the funding of the university. To eliminate the expected losses, the budgets and deficits subcommittee proposed reducing staff numbers. This proposal was met with demonstrations on campus and was later reworked (to reduce the redundancies and reallocate the reductions in faculties funding) after being rejected by the university Senate. By the mid-1980s through to the 1990s, the university looked to expand with new buildings on the Highfield campus, developing the Chilworth Manor site into a science park and conference venue, opening the National Oceanography Centre at a dockside location and purchasing new land from the City Council for the Arts Faculty and sports fields (at Avenue Campus and Wide Lane, respectively).
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