House of Commons speaker receives Honorary Fellowship from UCLan

17 December 2021

The Speaker of the House of Commons swapped his Parliamentary robe for an academic one as he received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) today, 17 December.

New UCLan Honorary Fellow Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP receiving his Fellowship from UCLan Chancellor and Lancashire Ambassador, Ranvir Singh

The Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley, was recognised for the significant contribution he has made to politics and to the UK Parliament and took to the stage of UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre to accept his prestigious academic award.

He said: “I’ve got to say it feels fantastic to be receiving an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire. Being part of UCLan today means so much to me as a proud Lancastrian.

“UCLan is a place where challenge is welcomed, opportunity is fostered and diversity celebrated. When I Iooked at the other recipients of this award it once again reinforces this message. Lancashire truly has a diverse mix of people with a wide range of talents that have contributed to developments not just in Lancashire but further afield.

“As the first Lancashire Speaker of the House of Commons, I am proud of my home county and of course my hometown of Chorley. It is a great pleasure to accept this award.”

Sir Lindsay served as a Labour Councillor on Chorley Borough Council between 1980 and 1998, including spells as Deputy Leader and Mayor of Chorley. He was elected as the town’s MP in 1997 and has won Chorley’s General Election seat a total of seven times. He was elected to the highest authority of Speaker of the House of Commons in 2019.

Addressing the students, he said: “It’s your day, enjoy today, you are the super achievers, achieving against all the odds during a pandemic and I salute you for the way you have dedicated yourselves in your studies, it’s amazing.

“I hope that you’ve had the best of Lancashire and what Lancashire could offer to you. This must’ve been a wonderful experience for you as there’s no better county than the red rose county.”

Former UCLan Vice-Chancellor Dr Malcom McVicar, who was at the helm of the Institution between 1998 and 2013, was also acknowledged during the week of graduation celebrations on the Preston Campus.

On 15 December, he received an Honorary Doctorate to recognise his outstanding achievements in the higher education sector.

During his 15 years in charge, Malcolm accelerated the growth of student numbers and oversaw the expansion of the Preston Campus, along with creating UCLan’s Burnley and Cyprus Campuses. He oversaw the development of prestigious programmes such as medicine, dentistry and architecture.

He commented: “It was a great privilege to have been the Vice-Chancellor and leader of the staff team of this University for 15 years – interesting and challenging years, years of expansion, with new subjects and new opportunities for our students, years in which the central position of the University in the city of Preston, the county of Lancashire and the wider region was cemented and recognised. Years in which the University was able to deliver its mission of providing excellent teaching and research for our diverse community – a community which was, and is, truly international.”

Speaking to the students, he added: “Access to higher education is more crucial today than ever. These are dark times. There are growing challenges to the values of a civilised and tolerant society. Universities provide a light for knowledge, education, personal freedom and respect which is ever more vital in the growing   gloom. They are cornerstones of that society.

“So, as you go forward into the rest of your lives, take some of that light with you, use it to shine truth and honesty into the dark corners, use it to strengthen your resolve to live your lives independent, proud and in control of your own minds.”

Around 2,500 students took to the graduation stage during the week and they enjoyed their post-event celebrations inside the new multi-million-pound Student Centre.

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