He has been awarded a Doctor of Civil Law, in recognition of his services to the university and the higher education sector.
Chris, from Acklington, joined Northumbria University’s board of governors in 2010 and was appointed chairman in 2012.
During his eight years in post, Chris helped Northumbria to transform into a research-intensive modern university with a global reputation for academic excellence.
In 2017 he was appointed chairman of the Committee of University Chairs, the representative body for the Chairs of UK universities, where he worked closely with the Office for Students, and ministers and civil servants in the Department for Education, debating pressing issues such as pension reform and student mental health.
Chris’s terms of office as chair of both Northumbria and the Committee of University Chairs came to an end in 2020.
Chris’s contribution to Northumbria University and the higher education sector comes after a successful career in the Information Communications Technology sector.
He was the British Telecom Group Regional Director for the North East, building on a successful leadership career with BT for 26 years, including managing the local government sector across the UK for BT Global Services.
He holds a number of non-executive directorships including Advance HR, SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), Building Futures East, a social enterprise that works with disadvantaged young people in Newcastle, and The Youth Charter, working to break the violent gang culture in our major cities through sport, education and the arts.
He is chairman of the Alnwick Playhouse Theatre and Community Arts Centre and was closely involved in its £3.3 million refurbishment.
Chris said: “Leading the board of Northumbria was the greatest honour of my life, and I’m so lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to have had the chance of working with such a fantastic team of board members and senior management. I regard this wonderful award as a recognition of our collective success.”
He received his honorary degree during the University’s graduation ceremonies on their City Campus. The recipients of honorary degrees are nominated by the University’s staff for their achievements, their links to the University - and for inspirational qualities.