Writtle College honorary graduates

August 2015

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

A Turner Prize-winning artist, a stalwart of the Essex farming community and a dedicated supporter of Writtle College will be honoured at our Graduation Ceremonies this year.

Essex-based sculptor Professor Grenville Davey, who won the Turner Prize in 1992, and Lise-Lotte Olsen, a former Chair of the Board of Governors at Writtle College, will be given Honorary Degrees this year.

Robert Howie, who farms and runs business ventures with his four sons at the family farm in Essex – well-known for the Wicks Manor premium bacon and sausages brand as well as Shaken Udder milkshakes – will be presented with an Honorary Fellowship.

Graduates will receive their awards – including BSc or BA degrees, Masters and Doctorates, which are validated by the University of Essex – at the ceremonies on Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 September at Chelmsford Cathedral.

Dr Geoff Hosey, Honorary Professor of Biology at the University of Bolton, will be the Guest of Honour on the Wednesday. TV horticulturist Alan Titchmarsh MBE, Writtle College’s Patron, will be at the Graduation Ceremony on the morning of the Thursday – his fifteenth year of attending. Dr Phil Askew, Writtle College alumnus and the landscape architect behind the Olympic Park, will attend the afternoon ceremony.

Grenville, who works from his studio in Great Yeldham, was artist in residence at the Isaac Newton Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, in 2012. Held in high regard by the art world, his engagement in practice is at the intersection of art and science.

Lotte, from Blackmore, was a member of the Governing Body of Writtle College for 16 years and Chair of the Board of Governors from 2007 to 2015. Being a Governor is a voluntary role and Lotte devoted a considerable amount of her time and effort supporting the College. During her stewardship as Chair, the College achieved a good Ofsted report for its Further Education provision and was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers.

Robert heads a long-established Essex farming family. Wicks Manor started out as a conventional arable farming partnership but, with his four sons joining the business, the farm now includes the Wicks Manor quality bacon brand, a significant exporter of produce to the Far East, and Shaken Udder premium milkshakes. A graduate of the College, Robert has held senior positions in numerous agricultural organisations.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from courses in Animal Science, Sport and Equine will be honoured at the ceremony on Wednesday morning. Agriculture, Conservation, Floristry and Horticulture students will be presented with their awards in the morning ceremony on Thursday, with students on Writtle School of Design courses – including Landscape Architecture & Garden Design, Art & Design and Interior Architecture & Design – in the afternoon ceremony.

The Duchess of Kent awards – which honour support and academic staff for their exceptional contribution to the College – will be awarded to Management Accountant Pauline Eagar, Senior Lecturer in Floristry Julia Ryde and 14-19 Development Officer Esther Blakey.

The Students’ Union RAG (Raise and Give) charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Farming Community Network, will each receive cheques for £1,750 raised from the year’s activities.

Dr Stephen Waite, Principal of the College, said: “The Graduation Ceremonies are always a very proud day for students, their parents, and staff.

“These students are graduating in a year that saw the College granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers, which gives us the ability to award our own Higher Education qualifications from 2018. Alongside the personal and professional achievements of students, both in College and outside, this promises to make the Graduation Ceremonies a very special celebration.

“We are pleased to honour such inspirational people through the conferment of this year’s Honorary Degrees and Fellowship, are grateful to our Guests of Honour for their support and recognition of the College’s students, and are proud of all our staff, particularly those who have gone above and beyond their job roles and been nominated for Duchess of Kent awards.”