Posted 24 September 2012
"This ceremony is the conclusion of one journey that brought not only a wealth of knowledge and experience but also the creation of invaluable friendships to last well into the next stage of our lives."
NFU President Peter Kendall received an honorary doctorate in front of 600-plus students, further VIPs, guests and University College staff at the annual Harper Adams graduation ceremony.
The honour was given in recognition of Mr Kendall’s service to UK agriculture and leadership role within the NFU.
After accepting the award, Mr Kendall congratulated every one of the students graduating during the conferment of degrees, at the conclusion of which he gave a motivational thank you speech, full of positivity for the future of the sector. (See article: Kendall's call to Government in graduation speech).
Also awarded an honorary doctorate was Professor Dick Godwin, in recognition of his distinguished academic contribution to agricultural engineering and significant commitment shown to supporting and enhancing the work of the Engineering Department at Harper Adams. Former Harper Adams Principal Professor Wynne Jones, who retired in 2009, and alumnus and former Governor Clive Gurney were made Fellow of the University College.
Harper Adams Principal Dr David Llewellyn used his speech to reflect on a highly successful year, during which graduate employment climbed above 98 per cent, the University College secured a run of national awards, and strong links were forged internationally. He also looked forward to a bright future: “As many of you will know, we are in the process of applying for University Title and hope that this will be concluded over the next academic year. We would not have been able to put forward our case without a performance based on such a strong academic community and considerable external assistance.
“We are indebted to the support given to us by many companies and organisations that provide practical assistance, placement opportunities, scholarships and awards. Your help and encouragement, for students and staff, is not only welcome but will grow in importance over the coming years.”
At his first graduation ceremony as Chairman of the Board of Governors, Roger Mercer said: “It is a huge honour for me to be standing here today as Chairman of Governors of Harper Adams University College, the largest provider of higher education for the agri-food chain and rural economy.
“It's also a very special day for me as I am a past student and graduated from this college in 1974 as a member of the second intake of HND. This was in the days when the NDA was still running. There were no ceremonies, just a list on the wall through the door of the main building. My time here has stood me in good stead over the years and it will for all you students graduating today.
"At Harper we continue to invest heavily in the student experience, with investments this year in new student residences, extension to student communal facilities, new poultry research facilities and capital developments in Ancellor Yard - the latter thanks to generous donations from Frontier Agriculture and the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust. We have in the pipeline plans to provide new teaching facilities on the site of the old dairy buildings, new young stock rearing facilities and redevelopment of the engineering block.
“We also continue to invest directly in our students. Much of this work is undertaken by the Development Trust, which awarded 170k of scholarships in February 2012. We are really grateful to a large and growing number of companies and individual donors and sponsors who provide scholarships for our students.”
“A vote of thanks to Mr Kendall, the Principal, Board, staff, parents and friends was given by student President Kevin Broe, on behalf of the graduating class. Mr Broe added: “This ceremony is the conclusion of one journey that brought not only a wealth of knowledge and experience but also the creation of invaluable friendships to last well into the next stage of our lives. And it marks the beginning of a new era when we must use the knowledge we have gained over the last few years to shape the changes and developments of the future.”
See slideshow below