Former Edge Hill Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rhiannon Evans MBE was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University today in recognition of her service to higher education.

Professor Evans was a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University from 1994 to 2008, significantly developing the institution’s higher education provision by establishing the first Access to University and Women Returner courses in the area.

Addressing her fellow graduands in the Faculty of Education ceremony, Professor Evans referred to her time at Edge Hill as the most enjoyable and inspiring years of her working life.

“One of the great privileges of being a Pro Vice-Chancellor is that you get to work with people in many different roles and see the huge commitment and extraordinary talent that there is in this University.

“Edge Hill has been at the forefront of the training of teachers for more than one hundred and thirty years, and you will know that you are recognised as excellent by schools and Local Authorities up and down the country,” she said.

Professor Evan reflected on her own graduation from the University of Sussex and how her Vice Chancellor’s speech inspired her life’s work.

“On my own graduation day, I recall most clearly the Vice Chancellor telling us ‘you are privileged young people. Only four percent of your generation will have the opportunity to go to University. Use it well.’ My working life has been shaped by that realisation. That I was one of the privileged.

“Working with others I have tried to create new education ladders of opportunity for adults who missed out and for young people who are less privileged. While government policy was changeable, Edge Hill remained committed to widening participation and has been recognised as such through various awards.

“I hope that you in your role as teachers will find a way to take forward into your schools Edge Hill’s legacy of transforming lives and creating opportunities,” she said.

Moving to the North West from Brighton in 1979, Professor Evans was a senior lecturer and head of faculty at Wirral Metropolitan College. She has served on numerous national and regional committees and founded the Rhiannon Evans Poetry Scholarship on her retirement to reward and celebrate students who display promise as creative writers.

In the 2009 New Year’s Honour List, Professor Evans was awarded an MBE for services to higher education and widening participation.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.