A Convocation of the University of Wales

Posted on 8 November 2017
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Established by Royal Charter in 1893, the University of Wales has been regarded as a national institution which has been at the heart of Welsh educational and cultural life.

Through the University’s support for the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS), Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (The Welsh Dictionary), Gregynog Hall (bequeathed to the University in the 1960’s) and the University of Wales Press, it helped to promote and celebrate the language, heritage and culture of Wales.

Over the years the University has adapted in order to be in a position to respond to the needs of students, both in Wales and further afield. In October of 2011, the governing bodies of the University of Wales, Swansea Metropolitan University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David made a commitment to irrevocable constitutional change and merger. This process is still ongoing, and in August of this year, both Universities approved a deed of union which delivered on the original policy objective of integrating two historic Universities, thus creating a new University for Wales.

With the 2017/18 academic year signalling historic changes for the Institution, the University is to hold a special event which will celebrate the contribution that it has made to the Welsh Higher Education sector, and the country as a whole, over the past three centuries, and demonstrate the legacy that it leaves for future generations.

As part of the event, to be held at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff on the 8th of November, the University of Wales will bestow degrees on an honorary basis upon six individuals to recognise their individual achievement in areas of academe, such as the arts, literature, science, commerce and industry, professional life and service to the public or to the University. The six individuals being recognised include:

Mr Alun Thomas - Doctor of Science (Economics) Honoris Causa
A chartered accountant by profession, Alun Thomas retired in 1996 as a partner in the London office of Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte. Currently the Chairman of Shaw Healthcare Limited, he has held significant voluntary posts over the years both within and outside Wales including at the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust and the Welsh School in London. He has formerly held positions as Vice Chairman of London Welsh RFC and both the Honorary Treasurer and Vice-President of the National Museum of Wales. Alun Thomas has also held the most significant and highest office within the University of Wales. Having previously served in the roles of Honorary Treasurer and Vice Chairman, he recently stepped down as Chair of the University’s Council after six years in the role.

Dame Claire Clancy DCB - Honorary Doctor of the University
As Chief Executive and Clerk to the National Assembly of Wales, Dame Claire led the development of a fledgling democratic body into one which is now a world leader in terms of the support it provides for Assembly Members. She retired in April after serving a decade in the role. During her tenure the Assembly became a full law-making parliamentary body through the referendum on further powers in 2011, followed by additional devolution of powers through Wales Acts in 2014 and 2017. In June, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition for her role in public service in Wales. 

Professor Colin H Williams - Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa
Professor Williams has for many years been internationally recognized for his expertise in language planning and policy and in the geography of language, in particular the Welsh language. The author/editor of numerous publications, he has served as an advisor to government agencies in Europe and North America. In April 2000, Professor Williams was appointed as member of the Welsh language board by the National Assembly, a post he held until 2011. Having held many visiting professorships and Scholar positions at Institutions around the world, in June 2015, following a successful academic career as Research Professor and Director of the Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, he was elected a Visiting Fellow at St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge.

 Mr Daniel Huws - Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa
A former Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Daniel Huws is the leading authority on Welsh medieval manuscripts – both those written in Welsh and those written in other languages in Wales. He is noted in particular for his meticulous studies of individual manuscripts, and these, alongside portraits of significant Renaissance collectors, made up his work Medieval Welsh Manuscripts (2000), now recognised as the key scholarly guide in the field. Mr Huws has published numerous articles and chapters on his extraordinary scholarship, and for the past 25 years has been working on A Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes up to 1800, a comprehensive catalogue which, when published, will be an indispensable foundation for Welsh literary and historical studies.

Professor Dianne Edwards CBE FRS - Doctor of Science Honoris Causa 
Professor Edwards is a distinguished botanist renowned for her study of early plant life on Earth. She is currently Distinguished Research Professor at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University where she has spent most of her research career as a palaeobotanist. Actively involving herself in public life in Wales, and keen to share her passion for botany through education activities, she was one of the founders of the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. She was also a former Council Member of the Countryside Council of Wales helping to promote the importance of conservation.  In 1999 she was awarded a CBE for Services to Botany, and has received many distinctions and awards in her field.

Mr Llŷr Williams - Doctor of Music Honoris Causa
An acclaimed performer of Beethoven, world renowned Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams is widely admired for his profound musical intelligence and the expressive and communicative nature of his interpretations. Following a widely acclaimed debut recital at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2003 his career flourished both as a soloist and accompanist – he was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist and was one of the first to be awarded the prestigious Borletti Busoni Award. He has since worked with many international Orchestras and given recitals in most major centres in the UK and throughout Europe, as well as visits to Mexico and Japan, and made his American debut at the Carnegie Hall. He is Artist-in Residence at the Cowbridge Festival and Galeri Caernarfon, Artist-in-Association at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has been one of the regular official accompanists at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition since 2003.

The University is delighted to recognise the achievements and contributions that each individual has made in their respective fields, and is very proud to welcome them all as Honorary Graduates of the University of Wales.

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