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The Open University at 50

For the past fifty years, we’ve made it our mission to open up education for all. As the largest UK academic institution, we’ve empowered over two million students across 157 countries to transform their lives through learning – helping to make the impossible, possible.  

To mark our landmark birthday, we’re building an exciting programme of events and activities that will shine a light on the staff, students, donors and partners who have shaped our much-loved institution.

Join us in celebrating. Help spread the word. #OU50

The Open University at 50

Our unique story

We’ve had an incredible journey so far. Visit the OU’s Digital Archive to look back at highlights from the past fifty years.

Your stories

What’s it like to be part of OU history? Get inspired by our student stories and share your own unique experiences.

Commemorative merchandise

Coming soon! Take home a piece of history by shopping our range of special edition OU-branded merchandise, stationery and clothing.


Join us for a series of unique events to celebrate our love of learning. You’ll hear from our famous faces, students and world-class academics. More events to be announced soon!

50th Anniversary Inaugural Lectures

Join us for a special programme of inaugural lectures celebrating our world-leading new professors.

Our Tree of Learning and you

Are you part of our alumni family? Here's your chance to add your personalised OU shield to our special 'Tree of Learning' sculpture.

50th Anniversary Activity Calendar

Jan 1-31


January is #BrainteaserMonth so if even if you can’t make it down the gym to burn off the festive excess, you can flex your grey matter with a spot of lateral thinking. Over the course of the month our social media channels will be filled with brainteasers – from puzzles to ethical dilemmas to storytelling challenges - to help celebrate our 50th birthday and promote the OU’s academic expertise.

Jan 22

Crichton Conversation with Allan Little: The Power of Conversation, sponsored by The Open University Scotland


As part of the Crichton Conversation programme, The Open University are delighted to be sponsoring this event. Allan Little is one of Scotland's most distinguished journalists.

Jan 28

Inaugural Lecture: Back from the future, forward from the past: The journey that is lifelong learning

Milton Keynes

Professor Devendra Kodwani, Executive Dean of The Open University's faculty of Business and Law, will introduce the OU's 50th anniversary inaugural lecture series with a lecture on lifelong learning and the role of universities.

See all events