Roberts presented with honorary doctorate

Andrew Roberts, Managing Director of Pennine, has been presented with an honorary doctorate by the University of Bolton.

The award, which has seen Mr Roberts becoming a Doctor of Education, recognises his outstanding contribution to local schools, colleges and the university over some 25 years.

Dr Roberts is chair of governors at Bolton College which he attended as an engineering student in the 1970s. He is also an independent governor of the University of Bolton and has served on the governing bodies of several local schools.

In addition he is a trustee of the White Horse Project, a Rossendale-based charity which supports young people in gaining life and academic skills and experience.

Dr Roberts has joined an elite band of people who have had their achievements recognised by the university through honorary degrees.

They include the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, former government minister Baroness Warsi and sporting stars Ryan Giggs, Amir Khan and Tracey Neville.

Vice chancellor George Holmes, who presented Andrew with the award at the university’s annual graduation congregation commented: “Andrew has worked tirelessly to support the delivery of educational opportunities for the widest possible groups of individual learners in Bolton. His vision, passion, determination and skilful chairmanship of the Bolton College Board has made him one of the most distinguished figures in the further education field in the UK.

“He led the historic reunification of Bolton College and its higher education sibling The University. Without Dr Roberts’s contribution the new University of Bolton incorporating Bolton College would not have been achievable.

“For this and moreover for his energy and talents in the field of education, the university was pleased to confer our highest academic distinction upon Andrew; that of Doctor of Education.

“It is well deserved and earned; he should use his new title with pride”.

A delighted Dr Roberts commented: “It was a tremendous honour to receive this award and without doubt one of the proudest moments of my life. I’m immensely grateful to the University of Bolton for considering me worthy of such a prestigious title.”

Coincidentally this also marked the 40th anniversary of his own “graduation” from the college with a City & Guilds qualification in radio and electronics servicing in 1978.

With the college’s assistance he then secured an apprenticeship at Pennine where he rapidly progressed, working his way up to become managing director. In 2003 he led a management buyout from Pennine’s founding directors and has subsequently been instrumental in driving the company’s diversification strategy.

This has seen it embrace a broad range of additional specialisms which now span unified communications, mobile and internet telephony, cloud and IT services.

The honorary degree is just the latest in a line of awards to be bestowed on Andrew. In 2011 his “outstanding contribution, commitment and dedication to the Telecommunications industry” was acknowledged when he was commended by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in his then role as President of City & Guilds.

He was then appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology two years later.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine