Jimmy Doherty named the next Chancellor of Writtle University College

January 2022

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Farmer and television presenter Jimmy Doherty has accepted an exciting new role as the Chancellor of Writtle University College in Essex. He will take over from the outgoing Chancellor, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington.  

The Chancellorship is an unfunded honorary role with the holder acting as the ceremonial head of the institution, presiding at major events in the University College year such as graduations and prize-givings.

Jimmy is a long-standing advocate of putting science into practice, he gained a degree in animal biology and a PhD in ecological entomology before launching his own farming career.

In 2003, Jimmy created The Essex Pig Company with the aim of using traditional, free-range meat production practices to rear endangered British breeds and, in 2016, became the Rare Breeds Survival Trust's youngest president to date.

He has worked with the BBC and Channel 4 to educate the public on food production, animals and the agriculture sector. Jimmy's Farm and Wildlife Park in Suffolk features over 80 species and breeds from crocodiles, camels and capybara to pigs, and guinea pigs 

Jimmy said: "I am delighted to join Writtle in this role - we share the same passion for developing opportunities for young people to enter the industry and I look forward to work with the University College, not only in the ceremonial aspects of the role, but also in developing exciting opportunities to extend their learning through research, work experience and community projects".

Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Middleton said; "We would like to thank our Founding Chancellor Baroness Jenkin of Kennington for her outstanding support over the last five years, at a pivotal time in the University College's history.

"We're delighted to announce that Jimmy Doherty will be our next Chancellor. Jimmy embodies Writtle University College's values and has a long-standing commitment to conservation, agriculture and education. We look forward to working together to 'put science into practice'."

Writtle University College shares Jimmy's commitment to conservation and animal welfare. Since its founding in 1893, the University College has grown from its land-based roots to offering further and higher education courses in animal science and management, sport science, floristry and equine courses, in addition to agriculture and horticulture programmes of study.

The University College's countryside campus estate is just two miles from the city of Chelmsford. Learning spaces include state-of-the-art animal physiotherapy equipment and a welfare-focused unit that cares for species ranging from rabbits and reptiles to alpacas, emus and wallabies.

The estate is also home to a specialist equine campus and the UK's only on-campus horse stud, as well as a working farm, extensive sports facilities, laboratories and research greenhouses.

The University College is rated good by Ofsted and, in 2021, received the highest student satisfaction scores in East Anglia in the National Student Survey (NSS 2021 Taught Data).