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Monday 18 July 2005

 

Donald Wix

Public Orator, Peter Davenport presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 18 July 2005 at 10.30am


Donald Wix was borne in Suffolk and attended the Woodbridge School before transferring to Loughborough Grammar School to complete his sixth form studies. Having made an early decision to become a school- teacher he moved on to St Marks and St Johns College, in London, where he gained his teaching certificate He then joined the finest finishing school in the country, the Army Education Corp and completed his national service.

His first appointment on demobilisation was to Limehurst Secondary School, in this town and destined to become Garendon High School on a new site at Thorpe Acre. He remained at Garendon throughout his career. He served the school but particularly the students as friend and mentor in his capacity of Head of Humanities and Resources until his retirement in 1989. This rapport with many ex-students continues to flourish.

Along the way from 1953 he set up the largest Adult Evening Centre in the Town, this in time became the Community part of the successful Burleigh Community College. On a personal front he was the first teacher in the county to be awarded the Diploma in Education Technology and was awarded a Masters Degree in Education by Leicester University. In the latter years of his career he had joined the School Governors and on retirement he was elected Chairman of Governors. Sixteen years later he is still in post leading staff and school through the trials and tribulations that recurrently beset this sector. Outstanding results in all assessments have been a reward he has shared with students and staff.

Outside of his professional career Don has been equally industrious in his work in the community. A good all round sportsman himself he has contrived to encourage others particularly young people, to play rather than watch He has achieved this through his skills as an organiser and dogged determination, developed on the rugby field no doubt.. Local rugby clubs, tennis clubs, tall –ships sailing clubs have all benefited from the hours of work that he has dedicated to organising teams and major events. However it is rowing, particularly the Loughborough Boat club, that has been the major beneficiary of his efforts. Regatta Secretary for 47 years, and still Club secretary.

Throughout his career Don has been a student of local history. He has been joint author of 14 books as well as a contributor to magazines and the press. Earlier books included a series on the Town and surrounding villages with memorable old photographs and informed commentary. More recently he has produced a series of patiently researched histories of local institutions including the Amateur Swimming Association and the Loughborough Hospitals. These latter texts are a result of long- term collaboration and friendship with Dr Ian Keil of this University. One book merits particular note. “The first 25 years of Charnwood Borough” may not have the ring of a bestseller about it; however local teachers and students soon spotted that it covered the essentials of the popular A/s level subject “Community and Civic responsibilities” and they have adopted it.

Finally, Dons own civic responsibilities show no sign of slackening. A founder and Chairman of the Loughborough Museum established 5 years ago and now thriving he has more recently taken over the Chairmanship and co-ordination of the Loughborough Singing week- an international event held every three years and the brain-child of another Hon Grad Andrew Fairbairn. He also sits on the Town Team for the development of the Town Centre.

Throughout his long and rewarding career Donald has shown a commitment to make things happen but above all else is his regard for the futures of young people within this community.

Therefore Chancellor, I present Donald Wix to you and the University for the degree Doctor of Letters honoris causa.

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Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2005

H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, July 2005
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