UCLan acknowledges careers of industry leaders

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Two Honorary Doctorates and an Honorary Fellowship have been conferred during December’s graduation ceremonies

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has recognised the careers of three distinguished people with Honorary Awards.

Prestigious Honorary Doctorates were bestowed on Dr Eric Northey and Professor David Croisdale-Appleby OBE while Dr Susan Scurlock MBE received an Honorary Fellowship during December’s graduation ceremonies.

The trio took to the stage of UCLan’s transformed Sir Tom Finney Sports Hall, on the Preston Campus, to receive their awards. They were joined by more than 1,500 undergraduates, postgraduates and doctorate graduates and their family and friends throughout the two-and-half-days of celebrations.

Dr Northey received his award to acknowledge the significant contribution he has made to the University through his leadership in the establishment and development of the Whittingham Lives Association. With the Cul-de-Sac Theatre Company, the playwright and mental health activist produced three plays for UCLan, which all explored mental illness. He followed this up with a play involving UCLan astronomy and drama students. Recently, he worked with the University and other local bodies to create The Whittingham Lives Association, a multi-faceted arts and heritage project focussing on the culture and legacy of the nearby Whittingham Asylum.

He said: “I feel genuinely privileged to be awarded this honorary doctorate, particularly from UCLan, because it houses such a wide range of disciplines and nurtures curious students. In my experience, UCLan has a very open, ‘yea-saying’ culture, which comes from the quality of staff here. So, at UCLan, you can do complicated, interlocking things which are infinitely more than the sum of their parts. People here often say ‘Yes, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s do it.’”

I feel genuinely privileged to be awarded this honorary doctorate, particularly from UCLan, because it houses such a wide range of disciplines and nurtures curious students.

Professor Croisdale-Appleby received his award to honour the significant contribution he has made to the health and social care sector, particularly through his development of social work education. Recognised worldwide for his campaigns around the injustice of apartheid, he has held several Ministerial appointments since the late 1990s in the integration of health and social care, dementia and mental health. His Croisdale-Appleby Review of Social Work Education was accepted by the Government and forms the basis for the current extensive reform of the profession.

On accepting his award, he told the graduates: “You are highly likely to have fulfilling careers, for that is what this splendid University equips you with the ability to do. All I ask is that you realise the enormous opportunity each and every one of you will have, to bring about change in economic wellbeing, change in social justice, change in the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people who need your help, and change for the benefit of humankind.”

Dr Scurlock received her award to acknowledge the significant contribution she has made to education and engineering. After graduating from UCLan as a mature student, she started her career as Head of Information Communication Technology at a local secondary school. She then left teaching to set up national charity Primary Engineer as she identified a need for engineering to begin in primary schools, with an emphasis placed on teacher training. The programme has now expanded into secondary schools, linking engineers and apprenticeships. Her programmes have reached more than 100,000 children and 3,000 teachers and it is helping to meet the UK’s current skills gap.

She told the graduates: “I hope you all go on to have fabulous careers, you have been inspired to reach this point, now it is your turn to pass it on and inspire others.”

Professor Graham Baldwin presided over his first graduation ceremonies since his appointed as UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor. He told the new graduates: “You are the future; the future chief executives, consultants, and entrepreneurs, the future artists and designers of renown. You are the leaders of tomorrow. Life won’t always be plain sailing but during your studies you have acquired a tool kit that will help you to navigate choppy waters. Your studies have prepared you such that although you can’t direct the wind, you can adjust the sails.”

* Photos: New University of Central Lancashire Honorary Doctorate Dr Eric Northey, New University of Central Lancashire Honorary Doctorate Professor David Croisdale-Appleby OBE, New University of Central Lancashire Honorary Fellow Dr Susan Scurlock MBE.

Rachel Atkinson | 11 December 2019