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The University was founded as the Leicestershire and Rutland University College in 1921. On a site donated by a local textile manufacturer, Thomas Fielding Johnson, in order to create a living memorial for those who lost their lives in First World War. In 1927, after it became University College, Leicester, students sat the examinations for external degrees of the University of London. In 1957 the college was granted its Royal Charter, and has since then had the status of a University with the right to award its own degrees
Today the University of Leicester has over 23,000 students and a turnover in excess of £260m per annum. The University directly employs over 3,300 people and indirectly supports the employment of over 4,300 others. Leicester is a modern multicultural city and its student body reflects this fact. The University has been appropriately described as being “elite without being elitist”, an institution that promotes the highest standards but one which is also inclusive and accessible in its academic culture.
Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. Leicester is ranked in the top 2% of universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings and THE World University Rankings.
The Department of Sociology at Leicester is noted, globally, for its longstanding work on social theory, especially figurational sociology, but also for its ground-breaking research on sport, especially perhaps in relation to fan misbehavior and hooligan violence at football matches. But Leicester is also noted for being the first academic department in the world to conduct quantitative surveys of fans at professional sports events, thus producing detailed club profiles of spectator identities from the mid-1990s onwards.
The Department of Sociology currently supports undergraduate teaching and PhDs in the sociology of sport and more recently it has been involved in partnership work with Sporting Equals on combatting racism and other forms of exclusion around issues of grassroots sports participation and governance. John Williams (part of this project team will host a strand at the European Sociological Association Conference in 2015 on this theme.