It has its origins in the Cambridge School of Art, founded by William John Beamont in 1858. The school became Anglia Polytechnic after the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology and the Essex Institute of Higher Education joined. It became a university in 1992 and was renamed Anglia Ruskin University (after John Ruskin) in 2005.
It has been listed in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) World University Rankings – being named as one of the top 350 institutions in the world and joint 39th best in the UK . The higher education strategy consulting firm Firetail recognises Anglia Ruskin University as one of the 20 "rising stars" in global Higher Education. It is the only UK university to feature in the top 20.
Anglia Ruskin University has its origins in the Cambridge School of Art, founded by William John Beamont in 1858. The inaugural address was given by John Ruskin (often incorrectly described as the founder; in fact he founded the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford). The original location was near Sidney Sussex College, later moving to its present location in East Road, Cambridge. In 1960 this became the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology (CCAT). In 1989 CCAT merged with the Essex Institute of Higher Education to form the Anglia Higher Education College. The merged college became a polytechnic in 1991, using the name Anglia Polytechnic, and was then awarded university status in 1992.
Initially Anglia Polytechnic University (APU), it retained the word 'polytechnic' in its title because "the term 'polytechnic' still had value to students and their potential employers, symbolising as it did the sort of education that they were known for – equipping students with effective practical skills for the world of work" although in 2000 there was some self-doubt about including the term 'polytechnic' – it was the only university in the country to have done so. Wanting to keep the 'APU' abbreviation, a suggestion put forward by the governors was 'Anglia Prior University' (after a former Chancellor), but the Governors decided to keep 'polytechnic' in the title.
The university eventually reconsidered a name change and chose Anglia Ruskin University (thus incorporating into the title the surname of John Ruskin, who gave the inaugural address of the Cambridge School of Art), with the new name taking effect following the approval of the Privy Council on 29 September 2005.