Born in Isleworth, Richard was brought up and educated in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Aged twelve he returned to England, attending two schools before joining Shell's Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company Limited as a very junior clerk. After National Service in Kenya during the Mau Mau insurrection, he returned to the Shell International Chemical Company, before moving into marketing. Later Richard joined W Vinten Limited, which manufactured speciality products for television broadcasting. He spent the next thirty years in various capacities there, leading to his considerable involvement in developing business/education links in West Suffolk. His encouragement of Vinten employees to study helped lay the foundations for West Suffolk College's HNC/HND curriculum portfolio.
Richard was Chairman of the Governing Body of West Suffolk College between 1985 and 2002, the most formative period in the College's history. Richard was also Director of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, was active with the USAF Anglo-American Committee at RAF Mildenhall, the Speakers' Club and was also a Lay Member of the Industrial Tribunal Service. He has made a selfless and highly significant contribution to the College and to its local community and has now retired from these roles.
In 2004 Richard Stewart was made Honorary Fellow of our University.
"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University to Richard Victor Stewart, Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, genial former enthusiastic sportsman, theatre buff, public speaker, supporter of a plethora of local organizations and Member and Chairman of the Board of Governors of West Suffolk College during seventeen years.
Richard was born in Isleworth, Middlesex, but his mother soon whisked him away to Buenos Aires (in Argentina) to join his father who was part of the British-owned Central Argentine Railways company which built and ran the railway system at that time. He started his formal education at the age of eight as a boarder at the renowned St George's College in Buenos Aires and at twelve years of age 'came home' to England, attending first Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith and then Bedford School. From there, he joined Shell's Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company Limited, as a very junior clerk.
But in 1951, Richard was called up for National Service in the Royal Artillery at Oswestry and completed his training in the RASC in Aldershot, before being flown out to Kenya at the time of the Mau Mau insurrection. His positive memories of NS, focus on opportunities for sport, the development of an appreciation of good administration and learning how to type! ... and with lasting memories of the beauty of the White Highlands.
After NS he returned to the Shell International Chemical Company and was involved briefly in shipping and distribution of petroleum products, before moving into marketing for ten years (during which time he became a leading light in the prestigious Rosslyn Park RFC). Later, he confesses that the lure of a paid-up pension from Shell led him to change firms and join a small company selling agricultural chemicals in Spain and South America. However, an opportunity then arose to become Sales Office Manager in the manufacture of speciality products for television broadcasting and aerial reconnaissance at W Vinten Limited. This proved subsequently to have been a pivotal career move, as he spent the next thirty years of his life in various capacities there, including attending West Suffolk College for a diploma course in Works Management, since the firm was keen on training its staff and encouraging their involvement in the local community. This led Richard to considerable involvement in the Suffolk LEA initiation of developing Business/ Education links in West Suffolk and to his involvement with Training Services (Mid-Anglia). Indeed, his growing enthusiasm with industrial education and training as Personnel Manager at Vinten, facilitated the College having access to the William Ellen Vinten Trust which contributed to capital equipment for Engineering students and heightened Richard's awareness of the need for improving and developing local vocational Higher Education provision that West Suffolk College could provide for companies like his own. His encouragement of Vinten employees to pursue sub-degree programmes in engineering (like HNC and HND) helped to lay the foundations for the College's portfolio in this curriculum area, which was later developed by Richard and much enhanced by his pioneering initiative in creating the senior management post of Head of Business Development (immediately after the College's incorporation) which facilitated the development of even more local employer links.
Richard's long service as Chairman of the Governing Body of West Suffolk College between 1985 and 2002 has been during the most formative period in the College's history. In the time leading up to incorporation in 1993, his advice and guidance to senior managers in preparing the college for its successful shift from LEA control, was a major factor in the College's growth and success. His encouragement of fellow Governors to involve themselves in all aspects of the College's work, has been exemplary and most effective, resulting in a corporate structure that is, most successfully, taking the College into its next phase of development. Richard has given his time freely to the governance of the College, but he has also served the local community in other ways. He has long been a director of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds and was active with the USAF Anglo-American Committee at RAF Mildenhall, the Speakers' Club and now, as a Lay Member of the Industrial Tribunal Service. He has made a selfless and highly significant contribution to this College and to its local community.
Men and women of competence, integrity and wisdom from the community, are a vitally important resource upon which the Regional University Partnership relies heavily, as volunteers to serve as Members on its Boards of Governors. The Governors are leaders within the University, role models in the community and bearers of great responsibility in the world-at-large. Therefore, we are grateful, indeed, to Richard for his many years of devoted service to West Suffolk College and Anglia Polytechnic University.
It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice Chancellor, to confer on Richard Victor Stewart, FCMI, an Honorary Fellowship of this University."