18 July 2005
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
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