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Age: 84, five of those as a university.

How many lives? More than four. Changed from the Dorset Institute to Bournemouth Polytechnic to Bournemouth University in three years. Before that was Bournemouth College of Technology and Weymouth College of Education.

Address: Poole, Dorset, near site of an ancient burial mound.

Ambience: The seaside town - no longer dominated by the blue-rinse brigade - has become surprisingly stylish and cosmopolitan. The university has a clean, modern campus which has also been described as a big "concrete rabbit hutch with additional sci-fi buildings added on". Large numbers of students have cars, which makes parking tricky.

Vital statistics: The university is proud of its niche courses in public sector management systems and building conservation technology. It claims to have launched the first undergraduate programmes in financial services, taxation and revenue law, public relations and heritage conservation.

Easy to get into? Fairly. Multimedia Journalism requires two Bs and a C at A-level, Heritage Conservation three Cs and Tourism three Cs.

Added value: Good for sailing and other water sports and for occupational guidance. Purpose-built student centre houses excellent nursery facilities and doctor/dental surgery. Chaplaincy provides for your spiritual needs - everything from Christianity to Islam.

Glittering alumni: Stuart Miles of Blue Peter and Rick Adams of The Big Breakfast.

Transport links: Rail and road links to most big cities in the United Kingdom, plus ferry services.

Buzzphrase: "It's all gone bandy" (It's all gone wrong).

Who's the boss? Professor Gillian Slater, mathematician, formerly of South Bank, Sheffield City and Manchester polytechnics.

Teaching rating: Satisfactory in main areas of business and management education. But was judged last year by official assessors to have major shortcomings in its learning resources for Iberian languages, German, and French.

Research strengths: Specialises in applied research in, for example, the information superhighway, cooking, tourism and hospitality. Perhaps most prestigious is the national centre for computer animation.

Financial health: Has survived a tough year.

Night-life: Unique, following students' union conversion of the city's old fire station into a new entertainments building. Lots of night clubs in town.

Cheap to live in? Not particularly. Accommodation may be cheaper than in some towns but cost of living is quite highn

Next week: Bradford University