Honorary Fellowship presented to former Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales
Pro Chancellor, Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, with Emyr Jenkins, the first Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, who has been honoured as Fellow of Aberystwyth University
18 July 2019
The first Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, who has given a lifetime of service to the arts in Wales, has been honoured with a Fellowship of Aberystwyth University.
Born and educated in Machynlleth, Emyr Jenkins graduated in Physics from Aberystwyth in 1961.
He then went on to work for the BBC in Cardiff presenting news bulletins on radio and television in Welsh and English, commentating on events, and from 1971-78 working as program organiser for Wales.
As the inaugural Chair of Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin in the early 1970s, he played a key part in the campaign for Welsh medium education.
In 1978 he was appointed Director of the National Eisteddfod, a post he held for fifteen years.
Then, in 1993 he became Director of the Welsh Council of the Arts and the following year became the first Chief Executive of the devolved Arts Council of Wales, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.
Emyr Jenkins was presented as Honorary Fellow by Dr Anwen Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Aberystwyth University on Thursday 18 July 2019.
The full conferral presentation is available below, in the language in which it was delivered.
Presentation of Emyr Jenkins by Dr Anwen Jones:
Dirprwy Ganghellor, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor, graddedigion a chyfeillion. Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno Emyr Jenkins yn gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.
Pro Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, graduates and supporters. It is an honour and a privilege to present Emyr Jenkins as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
Mae cyfraniad Emyr i’w gymdeithas ac i’w genedl wedi bod yn un sylweddol ac nodweddwyd ei waith a’i yrfa gan dri pheth; sgiliau trosglwyddadwy, ymroddiad cyson a chlir i ddatblygiad y celfyddydau a’r cyfryngau creadigol yng Nghymru a’r parodrwydd i rhoi ei sgiliau yn hael at wasanaeth ei genedl a’i gyd-Gymry.
Emyr was born and educated in Machynlleth before coming a little further south to Aberystwyth to study Physics and gain a BA Honours undergraduate degree in 1961. An outstanding example of the veracity of employability statistics for bilingual graduands, Emyr immediately took up an exciting role as Director of a BBC Sound Studio in London where he spent some time in the Radio Drama department. In 1962, he returned home to Cardiff and to Wales and became a familiar voice reading radio and television news bulletins in both Welsh and English and commentating on important events in Wales’s cultural calendar, such as the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol and the Wales BBC Orchestra concerts on the network channels.
Ym 1968 symudodd i gadair y rhaglen gylchgrawn deledu nosweithiol 'Heddiw' a hynny mewn cyfnod gwleidyddol ddiddorol a dadleuol iawn yn arwain at yr Arwisgiad ym 1969. Ond ym 1978, fe’i penodwyd i swydd arloesol, newydd sef Cyfarwyddwr cyntaf yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol. Un o uchafbwyntiau’r cyfnod hwn oedd gweithredu fel ysgrifennydd i'r ddirprwyaeth a aeth i weld William Whitelaw yn y Swyddfa Gartref i ddadlau dros sefydlu sianel deledu iaith Gymraeg. Yn union fel y bu ei benodiad yn Gyfarwyddwr yr Eisteddfod yn garreg filltir bwysig yn hanes diwylliannol Cymru, bu hefyd yn ddylanwadol wrth osod marc tyngedfennol arall ar fap Cymru am i’r cyfarfod hwnnw gyda Whitelaw arwain at sefydlu S4C – rhodd amheuthun i Gymru.
Emyr’s commitment to the Arts in Wales continued and in 1993 he was appointed Director of the Welsh Arts Council and, then, a year later, became the first Executive Director of a devolved Arts Council. In 1998, Emyr retired but he was active at a voluntary level both before and after retirement and held many key public roles such as first Chair of the Mudiad Meithrin, member of the University of Wales Press board and first Chair of the Sherman Theatre.
Bu Emyr yn ddylanwad arloesol ar ddiwylliant Cymraeg a Chymreig ar hyd ei yrfa ac mae amlygrwydd y gair ‘cyntaf’ yn ei rhestr cyrhaeddiadau yn tystio i’r modd y bu iddo arwain yn ei ddewis feysydd ac ymroi i dorri cwys newydd i Gymru, mor effeithiol ac mor gyson. Heddiw braint yw cael datgan bod Emyr yn gyntaf ac yn flaenaf gyda ni yma ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth.
Dirprwy Ganghellor, mae’n bleser gen i gyflwyno Emyr Jenkins i chi yn Gymrawd.
Pro Chancellor, it is my absolute pleasure to present Emyr Jenkins to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
Aberystwyth University Honours 2019
Nine individuals are being honoured by Aberystwyth University during the 2019 graduation ceremonies, which take place at the University’s Arts Centre from Tuesday 16 until Friday 19 July.
Honorary Fellowships are 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.
The 2019 Aberystwyth University Honorary Fellows are (in order of presentation):
- Alan Phillips, retired peripatetic music teacher who worked for Ceredigion Music Service for 35 years
- Professor Frank N. Hogg OBE, the first Principal of the College of Librarianship Wales
- Ruth Bidgood, Welsh poet and local historian
- Professor R Geoff Richards, Director of one of the world's leading orthopaedic research institutes, the AO Research Institute in Davos (Switzerland)
- Emyr Jenkins, first Director of the National Eisteddfod and former Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales
- Professor Virginia Gamba, leading expert in the field of disarmament research and policy formulation
- Ian Hopwood, who has worked in the development field for over 40 years in UNICEF HQ and in field assignments in Africa, Asia, and the Arab Gulf States
- The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, former First Minister of Wales and Leader of the Welsh Labour Party 2009-18
- Judith Diment, a leading global figure in the campaign to eradicate polio