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We are very proud to be named after Sir Peter Ustinov (1921-2004). He was known and loved by millions throughout the world as a distinguished actor, comedian, writer and entertainer. Yet he was also a long serving UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a volunteer for UNESCO and President of the World Federalist Movement.

While born in London, Sir Peter was truly international, with Russian, French, German, Italian and Ethiopian blood (Haile Selasie was a visitor to his parents’ home) and spoke several languages, including French, German, Russian, Italian, Greek and Turkish. He began his acting career on the stage in 1938, and his made his first film in 1941. A renaissance man, he soon branched out into writing, directing and producing. In 1961 he won his first Oscar for Spartacus, winning a second supporting actor Oscar for Topkapi in 1965.

On behalf of UNICEF and UNESCO he travelled the world to publicise their work, and lobbied governments to recognise the rights of children. Sir Peter was knighted in 1990 and become Chancellor of Durham University in 1992, and the Graduate Society was renamed Ustinov College in his honour in 2003.

The Sir Peter Ustinov Foundation, based in Frankfurt, Germany, was founded in 1999 by Sir Peter and his son Igor Ustinov who still chairs the charity arm of the Ustinov family to this day. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Peter and the values of the Ustinov family, the work focusses on granting children – irrespective of their cultural, social, religious or financial background – a chance of an independent and optimistic future primarily through granting access to education. We work together with the Foundation on a number of projects.

University student
It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously

Sir Peter Ustinov


Ustinov College has celebrated a number of milestones since the renaming of the Graduate Society in 2003.

2003     Appointment of first Principal of Ustinov College, Professor Sue Scott, and first Vice-Principal & Senior Tutor, Theresa McKinven
2003     Sir Peter Ustinov tours Graduate Society in the morning, and renames the society Ustinov College in the afternoon
2004     House Committee renames itself Graduate Common Room
2005     First edition of The Ustinovian, then a four-page word document
2005     Appointment of Dr Penny Wilson as Principal and Reader in English Studies
2005     Ustinov College moved to Howlands Farm. Dryburn Court, including family accommodation at Keenan House, was opened
2005     Bill Bryson visits Ustinov to formally open the new site
2006     Ustinov Seminar established
2006     First College Formal dinner was held in the Howlands Building
2007     Ustinov Intercultural Forum established
2008     Café discussion groups, including the Café Politique, Scientifique and des Arts were established
2009     First College Honours were awarded to mark significant contributions to the Ustinov community
2010     Alumni event to commemorate 45 years of the Graduate Society
2011     Ustinov Intercultural Forum hosts an Art Exhibition at Old Fulling Mill
2012     Appointment of Professor Maggie O'Neill as Principal and Professor of Criminology
2012     Sir Thomas Allen visits Ustinov to unveil the bust of Sir Peter Ustinov and portrait of Dr Penny Wilson
2013     10th Anniversary of the renaming of Graduate Society as Ustinov College
2014     Appointment of Professor Glenn McGregor as Principal and Professor of Geography
2015     50th Anniversary of the Graduate Society
2016     Joint Art Exhibition with Teikyo University of Japan in Durham 
2016     Ustinov College represented at the Collegiate Way Conference in Canberra, Australia
2016     Ustinovians attend the Matariki Global Citizenship Workshop in Uppsala, Sweden
2017     Ustinov College moves to Sheraton Park, Neville's Cross
2017     Matariki Global Fellowship Exchange setup between Ustinov College and Matariki partners
2018     15th Anniversary of the renaming of Graduate Society as Ustinov College