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In 1997, the college was granted full independent degree awarding-powers by the Privy Council (though, as a member of the University of Wales it could not begin using them) and in 1999 the public name of the university was changed to Cardiff University.
In 2002, ideas were floated to re-merge Cardiff with the University of Wales College of Medicine following the publication of the Welsh Assembly Government's review of higher education in Wales.
It merged with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST) in 1988.
The college adopted the public name of Cardiff University in 1999, and in 2005 this became its legal name when it became an independent university awarding its own degrees.
The case for Cardiff was strengthened by stressing the need to take account of the interests of Monmouthshire, at that time not legally considered part of Wales, as well as the greater sum of money received by Cardiff in support of the college, through a public appeal that raised £37,000, and a number of private donations, notably from the Lord Bute and Lord Windsor.
After this recommendation was published the Cardiff Corporation attempted to secure the location of the college as Cardiff, and on 12 December 1881 formed a University College Committee to aid the matter.This led to its merger with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), forming the University of Wales College of Cardiff.The Principal of the new institution was Sir Aubrey Trotman-Dickenson, who had been principal of UWIST.The University College was incorporated by Royal Charter the following year, this charter was the first in Wales to allow the enrollment of women, and specifically forbid religious tests for entry.John Viriamu Jones was appointed as the University's first Principal, at age 27.In 1901 principal Jones persuaded the Cardiff Corporation to give the college a five-acre site in Cathays Park (instead of selling it as they would have done otherwise); and soon after in 1905, work commenced under the architect W. Caroe sought to combine the charm and elegance of his former college (Trinity College, Cambridge) with the picturesque balance of many of the University of Oxford colleges.On 14 October 1909 the 'New College' building in Cathays Park (now Main Building) was opened in a grand ceremony involving a procession from the 'Old College' buildings on Newport Road.In 1931, the School of Medicine, which had been founded as part of the college in 1893 when the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology were founded, was split off to form the Welsh National School of Medicine, which in 1984 was renamed the University of Wales College of Medicine.In 1972, the institution was renamed University College Cardiff.As Cardiff was not an independent university and could not award its own degrees, it prepared its students for the examinations of the University of London or further study at Oxford or Cambridge.In 1888 the university college at Cardiff and University College of North Wales (now Bangor University) proposed to University College Wales (at Aberystwyth) a joint action to obtain a university charter for Wales, modelled on that of Victoria University, a confederation of new universities in Northern England.