Aberystwyth University announces new Fellows for 2018

12 July 2018

Lance Batchelor, the CEO of Saga plc, was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University in 2017
Lance Batchelor, the CEO of Saga plc, was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University in 2017

An award-winning poet and playwright, a web entrepreneur, a leading judge, and an actress and singer are amongst those who will be honoured during this year’s degree ceremonies at Aberystwyth University.

Graduation Week 2018 takes place over four days, from Tuesday 17 until Friday 20 July, in the Great Hall at Aberystwyth University’s Arts Centre.

Six Honorary Fellowships will be presented to individuals who have, or have had a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.

One Honorary Doctorate degree will be presented.  These are presented to individuals who have been outstandingly successful in their field, or who have a long record of renowned research and publication.

Two Honorary Bachelor degrees will also be presented.  These are conferred on individuals who are members of Aberystwyth University staff without an entry-level degree in recognition of long-service, contribution and dedication to the Institution; and members of the local community who have made a significant contribution to Aberystwyth and the area.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Aberystwyth University’s Vice-Chancellor said: “Graduation is a real highlight of the University calendar; an occasion when we celebrate the success of our graduates and welcome their families and supporters to Aberystwyth. It is also an opportunity to honour those who have made exceptional individuals in their respective fields, as Fellows of the University.

“We also celebrate the valuable contribution made by members of our local community. We look forward to recognising the enormous contributions of a philanthropist who has organised and led no fewer than fifty humanitarian missions to help the innocent victims of war, and an actress and singer whose career over five decades has included performances on stage, television, film, and radio, with the awarding of Honorary Batchelor Degrees.”

The 2018 Aberystwyth University Honorary Fellows are (in order of presentation):

Ann Sumner

Art historian, exhibition curator and museum director, Professor Ann Sumner was Head of Fine Art for Amgueddfa Cymru - Museum Wales from 2000-07, and Director and Professor of Fine Arts and Curatorial Practice at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham from 2007-12, before being appointed Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Leeds. Educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, she undertook her PhD at Newnham College, Cambridge. She began her career at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and held curatorial positions at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Harewood House Trust and the Holburne Museum, University of Bath.  She was recently appointed Chair of the Methodist Modern Art Collection.

Professor Ann Sumner will be presented during Ceremony 1 on Tuesday morning, 17 July by Professor Robert Meyrick, Head of the School of Art.

Menna Elfyn

Award winning poet and playwright, Professor Menna Elfyn is one of the foremost Welsh-language writers. Writing with passion of the Welsh language and identity, her work has been published for five decades. She has published fourteen volumes of poetry, many children's books and anthologies, stage plays, adaptations and scripts for television, radio plays, libretti, and several television documentaries. She is the most translated of all modern Welsh-language poets, her work having been translated into over twenty languages. She was the Welsh-language Children's Poet Laureate in 2002-03. Professor Menna Elfyn is Director of the Masters Programme in Creative Writing at University of Wales Trinity Saint David and a Literary Fellow at Swansea University.

Menna Elfyn will be presented during Ceremony 2 on Tuesday afternoon, 17 July by Eurig Salisbury from the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies.

Euryn Ogwen Williams

The broadcaster and seminal figure in Welsh media, Euryn Ogwen Williams was brought up in Leeswood near Mold in Flintshire. He graduated from the University of Wales Bangor in Philosophy and Psychology. From 1964-1981 he produced and directed a wide range of programmes for BBC, ITV and independently. When Welsh language broadcaster S4C was set up in 1982 he became its first Director of Programmes, and from 1988 until 1991 was the channel’s deputy CEO. In March 2018 he led an independent review of S4C for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  He has published two volumes of poetry and many papers on the changing media scene. He lectures and advises on media and is a regular contributor to television and radio programmes. 

Euryn Ogwen Williams will be presented during Ceremony 3 on Wednesday morning, 18 July by Dr Jamie Medhurst from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies.

John Dawes

Former rugby union player and coach, John Dawes OBE, won his first Wales cap in 1964 aged 23.  An Aberystwyth alumnus (Chemistry, 1962), he went on to win a further 21 caps for Wales over the subsequent decade - six as captain; including of the Grand Slam winning side of 1971.  He captained the 1971 British Lions tour of New Zealand, where they became the first and only team to date to win a series in New Zealand. After retiring as a player, he was the coach of the Wales national side from 1974-1979, winning the Five Nations Triple Crown four times in five seasons, including two Grand Slams. He also coached the British Lions tour to New Zealand in 1977. He was made an OBE in the 1972 New Year’s Honours List for services to sport. He holds a proud record for any Welshman - as a player or coach he never lost to an England side.

John Dawes will be presented during Ceremony 4 on Wednesday afternoon, 18 July by Dr Rhys Thatcher from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.

Milwyn Jarman          

His Honour Judge Milwyn Jarman QC was born into a farming family at Llanllwchaearn near Newtown, Powys.  After attending Newtown High School and Montgomery College of Further Education, he came to Aberystwyth to study law. He took a masters at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, before reading for the Bar exams at Gray's Inn. He then became a pupil barrister in Chambers at 34 Park Place (later 9 Park Place), Cardiff, from where he would practice for the next 27 years, developing a speciality for business and property, planning and public law cases, and eventually becoming Head of the Chambers.  He became a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2000 assigned to the Wales and Chester Circuit, and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2001. He was appointed as the Specialist Chancery Judge for Wales in 2007, and sits as a judge of the High Court in the Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court and as an Upper Tribunal Judge.

His Honour Milwyn Jarman QC will be presented during Ceremony 5 on Thursday morning, 19 July by Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Pro Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Bonamy Grimes

Web entrepreneur Bonamy Grimes MBE grew up in west Wales and attended Aberaeron Comprehensive, where he was amongst the first cohort of pupils to study computer science at both O-level and A-level in the 1980s. He went on to co-found flight price comparison website Skyscanner from his attic in London in early 2002. Since then the company has grown to be the largest travel search company in the world with over 700 employees and offices across the globe.  He received an MBE for services to technology and travel in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2016. In November 2016 Skyscanner was sold to the online travel agent Ctrip for £1.4 billion. Having stepped down from day-to-day involvement in the company, Bonamy now mentors several start-up businesses in the UK and is involved in a range of charity projects.

Bonamy Grimes will be presented during Ceremony 6 on Thursday afternoon, 19 July by Dr Bernie Tiddeman, Head of the Department of Computer Science.

Honorary Doctorate Degree

John Thompson

John Thompson graduated in Computer Science from Aberystwyth in 1992, and started his career in technical research working for the UK Ministry of Defence. In 2001, he co-founded Commerce Decisions Ltd where as CEO he worked closely with his brother Ian (an Aberystwyth Business Studies graduate) to create software that supported global customers undertaking complex procurement projects. The software has been used on 12,000 projects worth a combined £265bn. John sold the company to QinetiQ plc in October 2008 in a deal worth £12m. In 2012 he created UserReplay Limited; a technology to assist website owners to understand and resolve issues causing frustration to consumers. He is now chairman and advisor to a number of early entrepreneurial technology companies.

John Thompson will be presented during Ceremony 6 on Thursday afternoon, 19 July by Professor Qiang Shen, Director of the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science.

Honorary Bachelor Degrees

Sue Jones-Davies

Sue Jones-Davies graduated from Bristol University in 1971, before embarking on a career as an actress and singer. She has worked in TV, film, radio and theatre, in both English and Welsh. On stage she appeared in the original London production of Jesus Christ Superstar. On television she acted in How Green was My Valley, the ITV series Rock Follies, and played Megan Lloyd George in the BBC series The Life and Times of David Lloyd George.  Her most notable film appearances were in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) and Solomon and Gaenor (1999) which received an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign Language Film.  In the 1970s she sang with The Bowles Brothers Band, and now sings in the Welsh-language acoustic band Cusan Tân.  She teaches yoga in the Aberystwyth area, where she is part of the Yoga i Bawb group, which aims to bring yoga to all parts of the community.  She is an Aberystwyth town councillor for Plaid Cymru and was Mayor of Aberystwyth from 2008-2009. 

Sue Jones-Davies will be presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree during Ceremony 3 on Wednesday morning, 18 July by Dr Anwen Jones, Head of the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies.

Eric Harries

Retired Station Manager of Aberystwyth Fire Station, Eric Harries organised and led 50 humanitarian missions from Aberystwyth to Bosnia, Croatia, Belarus and Romania over an 18 year period from 1994-2013.  Compelled to help the innocent victims of war, he started a campaign engaging with the local community and the media to raise awareness of the vital need for humanitarian assistance and supplies, and co-ordinated collections and fundraising across Ceredigion.  He then used his annual leave to drive his van on the 3,500 mile journey to take food, toiletries and medical supplies to the areas affected by war.  His philanthropic efforts benefitted the lives of countless people.

Eric Harries will be presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Science Degree during Ceremony 7 on Friday morning, 20 July by Dr Elin Royles from the Department of International Politics.

Meic Stephens

The author and scholar Professor Meic Stephens was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University on Thursday 3 May 2018 at a special ceremony in Cardiff. Sadly, Professor Stephens died on Tuesday 3 July.

Contacts

Alice Earp
Communications and Public Affairs
Aberystwyth University
01970 622578 / ale@aber.ac.uk