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Thursday 14 July 2005


Bill Moss

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 by people.

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 offers.

People, in short, like Bill Moss.

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 particularly appreciated.

National Service saw him in the royal artillery as captain and he later served in the territorial army.

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 students.

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 and helpful.

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 help.

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.


Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2005, July 2005
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