14 July 2005
Public Orator, Michael Pearson
presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Thursday
14 July 2005 at 3.00pm
Chancellor, Ladies &
Gentlemen, Members of the University
What is it about this small
town in the middle of England? It’s not exactly where you’d
expect to find one of the country’s leading Universities.
Surrounded by large and wealthy
cities, with few natural resources of its own.
Yet it has managed to re-generate
itself – long before that term became fashionable – for
a very long time.
Old and dying industries
have been successfully replaced by new and growing enterprises.
And my apologies if anyone
is offended by the application of the term ‘enterprise’
to this institution.
I happen to believe that
it is a good clue to our nature.
Although he wasn’t
quite our founder, Dr Schofield, principal of the then Loughborough
College for nearly 30 years, made this place what it is and I’m
sure he would have approved also.
Moreover, he would have approved
of this candidate for a doctorate before you today.
Despite the importance of
money and facilities, institutions are created and developed into successes
People with commitment to
their communities and the lives of those within them.
People with vision, who can
see that change is inevitable and decide to take the opportunities it
People, in short, like Bill
Have you noticed how often
that family name crops up in Loughborough?
You’ve probably travelled
along Alan Moss Road.
You may have had cause to
use Moss solicitors or bought a car from Archie Moss or lived in a hall
built by William Moss and sons.
Indeed, our own constitution
was drafted by his father (an honorary graduate himself) who helped
win the race to be the first college of advanced technology to gain
its royal charter in 1966.
But we don’t issue
honorary degrees to families – we need very good reasons to honour
anyone in this way.
And two of those reasons
are service to the community and service to the University.
Bill’s service to his
community includes his long association with his family firm of Towles
plc, well-known in the town as an enlightened and happy place to work.
He was chairman and joint managing director of the firm.
Among other roles he has
undertaken are chairman of the Loughborough Building Society, chairman
of the Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance and vice-chairman of Loughborough
Endowed Schools. He is a canon of Leicester Cathedral, an honour he
National Service saw him
in the royal artillery as captain and he later served in the territorial
And for light relief, he
chaired the Kegworth Carnival Committee – where he put his risk
management skills to good effect, just in case rain spoiled not only
the carnival day, but the balance sheet as well.
The University celebrates
today the success of its educational mission in the graduation of its
But this University is a
big organisation; it spends nearly half a million pounds every day.
It has to take some difficult
decisions and balance academic priorities with hard business facts.
I’m told that tightrope
walking is good training for this role!
Effective monitoring of our
control and management systems is very important – and that’s
the principal role of the audit committee, which Bill chairs so well.
It’s governance work
which underpins the success of the university.
When you talk to people who know Bill, they use words like astute, conscientious
His advice is frequently
sought, known to be wise and freely given.
The University has benefited
greatly from that astute and trusted advice, and Bill’s unfailing
This is our way of saying
thank you to him, and to Ruth, his wife, for supporting him and tolerating
the demands we make on his time.
And I’d like to add
my personal thanks for his support for me.
Therefore, Chancellor, I
have the privilege of presenting to you and the University, William
Moss for the degree of Doctor of the University, honoris causa.