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Monday 19 December 2005

 

Peter Robert Harrison

Public Orator, Professor Stuart Biddle presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 19 December 2005 at 2.30pm


Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, 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.

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Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2005

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