Professor Tony Powell MA

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of the University, 2005


Professor Tony Powell has played a key role in the development of the University over a period of 18 years, having enjoyed a career in higher education spanning 42 years. A mathematician by training and computer scientist by vocation, educated at Cambridge and Birmingham Universities, he guided the evolution of Anglia Ruskin University through the early day amalgamation of the Essex Institute of Higher Education in Chelmsford and Cambridgeshire College of Arts & Technology in Cambridge, rising to the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor.

In 2005 Professor Tony Powell received the award of Honorary Doctor of the University.


"The Senate of Anglia Ruskin University has great pleasure in recommending the award of the degree of Honorary Doctor of the University to Professor Anthony John Powell, MA, formerly Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Vice Chancellor of this University and mathematician, computer scientist, teacher, writer and chef cuisinier; a man of quiet wisdom, traditional goodness and absolute integrity, well-known to the world as "Tony."

Tony attended school at the highly-reputed King Edward VI Grammar School in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, before going on to St Catharine's College in the University of Cambridge. Here he majored in mathematics obtaining an MA, before moving to the Department of Education in the University of Birmingham, where he successfully completed a teaching qualification, Post Graduate Certificate of Education. His first career teaching post was as Assistant Lecturer/Lecturer in Computing at Northampton College of Advanced Technology (in London) which became the City University in 1964, two years after Tony began there! After a further two years, he moved to the nearby Queen Mary College, part of the University of London, to become Lecturer in Computer Science, where his career developed over the next ten years.

However, the "call of The Midlands" eventually drew him back to take up a senior post as Head of Computing & Mathematics at what was then Wolverhampton Polytechnic, but later became the University of Wolverhampton. Within a few years, he took on further responsibility through his additional appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Science, then became Head of the School of Computing & IT and the Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology.

Then, in 1986, Tony made a pivotal career move when on 1 January 1987 he took up the post of Deputy Director at Essex Institute of Higher Education, in Chelmsford. This centre of learning was then re-badged as Anglia Higher Education College on amalgamation with the Cambridgeshire College of Arts & Technology in Cambridge, then given the name of Anglia Polytechnic when Tony became Deputy Director [Planning & Resources]. Finally, the unified organization was designated as Anglia Polytechnic University, a further example of his unusual gift for prompting HE establishments to change their name! During this whole evolutionary process, Tony played crucially important roles in working with previous Vice Chancellors, with the Regional Partnership throughout East Anglia and in bringing APU to the attention of local communities, to nurture the development process to enable the APU, now Anglia Ruskin University, we know today.

Tony has also been involved across the region with other educational establishments as a Governor at Chelmsford College of Further Education, City College Norwich, South East Essex Sixth Form College (SEEVIC), Thurrock College and Writtle College, but has recently decided to reduce this workload and continue with SEEVIC alone.

However, in spite of these myriad activities, Tony also retained his academic heart. He was involved in academic research funded by the Software Engineering Research Council for many years at QMC in London, researching Pedagogic Algorithmic Languages and the Automated Office and later worked in Telesoftware and then Management Information Systems in Wolverhampton. He is also the author of a number of very specialized books, for example Introduction to Fortran Programming (published by Harrap) and Introduction to Algol 68 through Problems (published by Macmillan) and has been an External Examiner for other centres of higher learning and education like: Sheffield City Polytechnic, Trent Polytechnic, Polytechnic of North London and the Institute of Quality Assurance. Also, he has membership of various professional bodies as a Chartered Engineer and as a Fellow of the British Computer Society, the Institute of Management and the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications. Nevertheless, Tony, number cruncher extra-ordinaire, is also a very human being. He has a dry and quick sense of humour, akin to that of his favourite comedians Morecambe & Wise and some have said that he even bears a physical resemblance to Mr Morecombe! Also, he has a special management style, with the grace, charm and efficacy of Dale Carnegie in the face of challenge and was also considered by his staff as the most excellent boss! Tony departed from APU with his wife Diana (formerly APU's Head of Research, Development and Inspection Unit) and because of the disposition of their family in two hemispheres will, doubtlessly, begin to spend much time travelling between Australia, France and Chelmsford.

Academic and administrator esteemed by all, Tony is man of fidelity, integrity and true gravitas, and will be, even unconsciously, a most effective ambassador for Anglia Ruskin University in the future, especially in the higher education circles where he is such a well-known figure. It is for all these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Chairman of the Governors, to confer on Professor Anthony John Powell, MA, the award of Honorary Doctor of the University."