Andy Hepworth

Andy Hepworth

Areas of Interest

Alumni, Health Care

Honorary Award

Honorary Fellow, 2015


We would like to nominate Andy Hepworth for an honorary degree or fellowship of the University. A former graduate of the University, Andy is nationally recognised for his role in the spectacle lens industry, promotes Anglia Ruskin to the profession, and continues to provide positive contributions to Anglia Ruskin University courses. 

Andy was an undergraduate student at what was then Anglia Polytechnic University from 1993-1996, graduating with a 2.1 in Optical Management. John Ward (now in the Department of Computing & Technology) recalls:

“He was an excellent student, worked very hard but also had an immensely good time.  He was one of the friendliest members of his year group, very gregarious and an excellent sense of humour.  

A really excellent character, one of the first to graduate from Optical Management, which as it turns out has been a catalyst for so much more by way of Ophthalmic study at Anglia since.  Andy has been and continues to be an excellent ambassador for Ophthalmic Dispensing at Anglia.”

After graduating, Andy joined Dollond & Aitchison in Cambridge as a practice manager, and then joined ophthalmic lens company Essilor in 1998. Marketing growth manager for Essilor, Tracy Burden, outlines his career progression within Essilor:

“Andy joined Essilor in 1998 as a lens account manager based on the south east but always had aspirations to have a more technical role within Essilor. Andy applied for the newly created position of Professional Relations Manager in 2003 and was successful in his application.  This is when he joined the marketing Dept, reporting to Jacques Desallais.  As well as developing relationships with colleges and universities, Andy became Essilor's resident technical expert.  His love of the technical detail of spectacle lens design and manufacturer and his passion for talking about it, earned him a place on every Essilor commercial meeting agenda, where he is still billed as one of the top presenters.  His humour is infectious and he refers to himself as being square and a geek.   Andy has a lot of respect from his colleagues, as well as within the industry. Since 2003 his role of professional relations manager has grown although his title has remained the same.”

Within his role at Essilor, Andy has maintained a strong relationship with Anglia Ruskin University, collaborating on research trials of lens products, and making staff and students aware of developments within the lens industry. He is a font of technical knowledge, and most members of staff teaching Optics and Ophthalmic lenses have benefitted from his expertise over the years. Paul McCarthy (Department of Vision & Hearing Sciences) comments:

“Andy has helped us on the foundation degree since its conception over 10 years ago. He regularly delivers presentations to years 2 and 3 during their residential sessions. His lectures not only focus on Essilor products but generic lens features as well. Feedback from the students indicate that his presentations are always well received, being a great benefit to them in their working environment.”

Not only does Andy help on individual teaching modules, but he has also been a staunch supporter of the University Eye Clinic over the years, ensures that Essilor continues to sponsor a student prize each year, and attends graduation to present that prize. 

We consider that Andy Hepworth has and continues to make a significant contribution to the University, and thank the committee for considering this application. 


Andy Hepworth is Professional Relations Manager with Essilor – the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses.

He sits on the board of directors for the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians and on the editorial panel for the International Ophthalmic optics publication Points de Vue.  In 2014 Andy was awarded an ABDO medal – the Association of British Dispensing Opticians - for exceptional services to the optical community, the youngest person to be awarded this honour.

Andy is also a member of the editorial advisory team for Optometry Today and a respected Anglia Ruskin alumnus.  He attended our University between 1993 and 1996, and after graduating with a 2:1 in Optical Management, Andy joined Dollond & Aitchison in Cambridge as Practice Manager.  Then in 1998 he joined Essilor as a Lens Account Manager based in the South East.  However, Andy harboured aspirations for a more technical role, and in 2003 he was appointed Essilor’s Professional Relations Manager.

In this role, Andy became Essilor’s resident technical expert, and his passion for detail quickly earned him a reputation as a leading authority on spectacle lens design, coatings and manufacture.  A core part of Andy’s role was also to develop strong links with colleges and universities, and this enabled him to build on his relationship with us, collaborating on research trials of lens products and keeping both staff and students appraised of developments in the lens industry.

Hi role at the cutting edge of ophthalmic lens development has furnished him with extensive technical knowledge, and many of our Optometry and Ophthalmology teaching staff have benefitted from his expertise in recent years.

Andy has provided close support on our Ophthalmic Dispensing Foundation Degree and he is a regular presenter to students in years two and three during their residential sessions.  He has also been a staunch supporter of our University Eye Clinic, ensuring Essilor have remained as a prize sponsor, and attending graduation ceremonies to present the award.

Andy has made a significant contribution to Anglia Ruskin over many years.  He has been an inspirational role model for our students, and this award gives us the opportunity to recognise both his achievements within the industry and his ongoing support for our students and staff.