Posted 16 May 2018
“The presentation of the coat of arms confirms the strong bond between the university and its founder, whilst the honorary awards mark the contribution of three people who have supported the work of the university and the agri-food and rural industries with which it works."
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Chancellor of Harper Adams University, has given thanks to guests who gathered to celebrate and thank the university’s founding benefactor, Thomas Harper Adams for his “forethought and commitment to agriculture”.
During a ceremony in Newport, Shropshire, to mark 200 years since the birth of Thomas Harper Adams, the Chancellor presented three university honours and the University formally received ownership of the Harper Adams family coat of arms from the Rouge Croix Pursuivant, of the College of Arms.
“As he grew-up and started to work in agriculture, Thomas would also have been very aware of the fragility of food production,” The Princess Royal told the congregation at St Nicholas Church. “The Irish and Scottish potato crops failed in the 1840s, leading to widespread famine. During the 1800s, the number of people working on the land also fell sharply as the new industries opened up in towns and cities and at the same time the population started to grow. Between 1811 and 1872, the population of England had more than doubled. Leading bodies, such as the Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture, discussed how food quality and productivity could be improved with the use of science and technology. Bear in mind when this was, so these expressions of science and technology are not new.
“They determined that education of the agricultural workforce was vitally important. While Thomas was not a member of the chamber he would have seen their regular articles in the local press that were sold in Newport and it is likely that it was very influential in his decision to found the institution. The college he founded opened in 1901 and others rallied to support it and provide scholarships for students to study theoretical and practical agriculture.
“Science and technology was at the heart of the curriculum from the outset. Within a few years, students were coming to the college from far afield as Ireland. Today, the university welcomes students from 33 countries and the symposium on the use of technology in feeding the Commonwealth, held at the university today, marks the increasing role of the University in providing education and research to support global food production.
“The university is working with a range of partners to ensure that the next generation from many countries can have access to high quality education, in fulfilment of Thomas's vision. The challenges of food security today mirror those that Thomas experienced in his lifetime. His legacy provides an opportunity for science and technology, economics and business acumen to flourish and provide essential skills and knowledge to tackle global challenges in agricultural and rural industries.
“The presentation of the coat of arms confirms the strong bond between the university and its founder, whilst the honorary awards mark the contribution of three people who have supported the work of the university and the agri-food and rural industries with which it works.
“Thomas Harper Adams's vision is alive and well and continues to be held in high regard, not only by the members of the university, but by industry and a wide range of international partners. I look forward to the university continuing its work to inspire young people to play their role in leading and developing sustainable rural industries.
“Thank you for joining us today, for helping us to celebrate; celebrate our founder and the modern university and congratulations to all of those who have very much been a part of that journey.”