19 December 2005
Public Orator, Professor
Stuart Biddle presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony
held on Monday 19 December 2005 at 2.30pm
honoured guests, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen
Successful people in business
are often admired, not just for their business successes per se but
often for their motivation and persistence in reaching their goals and,
in some cases, for really ‘making a difference’. Indeed,
today’s honorary graduate can be described as matching all of
these criteria. Not only did Peter Harrison create, nurture, and develop
a highly successful business, but he has made a huge contribution to
the wider community, including sport and Loughborough University, with
a special focus on disability sport. In short, he is a man who has made
a real difference in not one, but many, spheres of life.
Peter Robert Harrison was
born in Cheadle in Cheshire. He left school at 16 and later qualified
as a Chartered Accountant. With many years of experience in business
with Ford Motor Company, Firth Cleveland, and Crest Nicholson Group,
Peter acquired Chernikeeff in 1978, one of the companies in the Crest
Nicholson group. Over the next 22 years, he developed Chernikeeff into
the largest privately held computer networking and internet integration
company in the UK.
In 2000, using proceeds of
the sale of the company, Peter established The Peter Harrison Foundation.
Being an enthusiastic participant and supporter of sport throughout
his life, Peter believes that sport and education provide key stepping
stones to self-development, creation of choice, confidence building,
and self-reliance. Through his Foundation, Peter Harrison has created
opportunities for those who may be disabled, disadvantaged or who may
otherwise not have such possibilities to develop their self-potential.
This has been done through the distribution, in only a few years, of
over £5 million to some 150 charities and organisations. Projects
have included the Royal Yachting Association’s ‘Sailability’
programme, The ‘Count me In’ disabled sport project in Merseyside,
the GB Wheelchair Basketball Association for their junior development
plan, and the Street Football League, a scheme increasing the number
of teams in a football programme for the homeless, disadvantaged and
marginalised groups in inner cities. The Peter Harrison Foundation has
also sponsored several Loughborough University student disabled athletes,
including a current Paralympic gold medallist.
In 2005, with £750,000
of funding over 5 years from the Foundation, The Peter Harrison Centre
for Disability Sport was established in the School of Sport & Exercise
Sciences at Loughborough University. The Centre was created to maintain
a national focus for disabled sport and physical activity, ensure that
significant research findings are translated into practical outputs
and guidelines, provide resources and training, and ensure that disabled
sport plays a significant part in government and other policy initiatives.
Chancellor, for his outstanding
service to business, sport and disability, I have the honour to present
to you, and to the whole University, Mr Peter Harrison for the degree
of DOCTOR OF TECHNOLOGY, honoris causa.