Leading agriculturalist awarded Honorary Fellowship
Professor Elan Closs Stephens with Tom Jones OBE
14 July 2022
A leading agriculturalist, who has played a prominent role in public life in Wales for more than 40 years, has been recognised with an Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University.
Tom Jones, OBE, from Dolanog in Powys, graduated with a degree in History and Welsh History from Aberystwyth in 1970.
Since then he has held senior level positions in the voluntary sector, broadcasting, agriculture and rural development, including as the first Chair of the National Lottery Charities Board in Wales and founding Chair of the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust. He is currently the High Sheriff of Powys.
Tom Jones OBE was presented as Honorary Fellow by Professor Iain Donnison from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences on Thursday 14 July 2022.
The full conferral presentation is available below, in the language in which it was delivered.
Presentation of Tom Jones OBE by Professor Iain Donnison:
Dirpwy Ganghellor, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor, darpar raddedigion, gyfeillion. Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno Tom Jones yn gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.
Pro Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, prospective graduates and supporters. It is an honour and a privilege to present Tom Jones as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
Tom Jones is a leading agriculturalist from Dolanog, near Llanfair Caereinion, in Powys.
He has played a prominent role in public life in Wales for more than 40 years, after graduating with a degree in History and Welsh History from Aberystwyth in 1970.
After graduation, Tom went home to farm. However he also continued to build on the skills he learned whilst at Aberystwyth, especially his experience on the Students Union Council to represent others, and so over the decades he has held many senior level positions in the voluntary sector, broadcasting, agriculture and rural development. For example, Tom has held senior office in the Farmers Union of Wales, served as President of the Wales Young Farmers Movement, and was a Governor of the Welsh Agricultural College, before it became part of Aberystwyth University, and now a constituent of IBERS. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.
In the early 1990s Tom was a member of the Edwards Review of National Parks. That review stressed the need for ‘quiet enjoyment’ of special landscapes and the increasing concern about the loss of tranquil rural areas. Thirty years later those concerns have only increased and feed into one of the key land use debates of our time that can be summed up as ‘land sparing’ or ‘sharing’, which equates to how do we balance the productive use of land and environmental conservation.
Tom has also ‘represented’ beyond agriculture, for example he was the first Chair of the National Lottery Charities Board in Wales and founding Chair of the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust.
Tom was also Commissioner for Legal Aid for England and Wales for 10 years, and a UK member of the European Economic and Social Council for 13 years where he was Rapporteur on rural development policies. He is Vice President and former Chair of Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the author of three Welsh language books.
In 2021 Tom was elected as the head of European Rural Community Alliance, an organisation committed to support the rural communities of Europe. The group aims to use the connections between different rural communities to develop connections, share experience, mutual learning and take collective action to strengthen their position.
Tom is currently the High Sheriff for Powys being appointed earlier this year. Through this and earlier roles he has an interest in how we connect the rural and urban. Since the industrial revolution rural and urban economies and communities have diverged, but now with concerns on where our food comes from, making our economy more sustainable, reconnecting with the natural world and green spaces; restoring balance between urban and rural has become another challenge of our time.
From his student days at Aberystwyth University, Tom has been representing communities both locally and globally; and making partnerships work for the benefit of both those that live in the countryside and the city.
Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor, mae’n bleser gen i gyflwyno Tom Jones i chi yn Gymrawd.
Pro Chancellor, it is my absolute pleasure to present Tom Jones to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
Aberystwyth University Honours 2022
During Graduation 2022, the University will present ten Honorary Fellowships to individuals who have or have had a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.
This year’s Fellows include leading figures from the arts, broadcasting, law, agriculture, and the science and technology sectors.
The 2022 Honorary Fellows are (in order of presentation):
- Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens DBE, Electoral Commissioner for Wales and Non-Executive Director of the BBC Board and its member for Wales
- Myrddin ap Dafydd, author, publisher and Archdruid of Wales
- The Hon Justice Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Court of Appeal Judge, Malaysia
- Harry Venning, award winning cartoonist, illustrator and comedy writer
- Dr Zoe Laughlin, co-founder and director of the Institute of Making
- Rhuanedd Richards, BBC Wales' National Director
- Jonathan Whelan, IT consultant, author and Fellow of the British Computer Society
- Tom Jones OBE, agriculturalist and founding Chair of the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust
- His Honour Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, former Senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court, “the Old Bailey”
- Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, former Director and Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council
Tom Jones OBE