University honours key figures from London Olympics
Release Date 25 March 2014
The University of Reading is proud to have honoured two of its members who were central to the success of the London Olympic Games.
The Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Reading graduate and Minister for Sport and the Olympics from 2010 to 2012, and Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority who received an Honorary Degree from Reading in 2008, were made Distinguished Fellows at a special ceremony on Monday 24 March.
A Distinguished Fellowship of the University of Reading is awarded to individuals who have achieved exceptional national or international distinction in a particular field. Mr Robertson and Sir John received their award from Sir John Madejski, Chancellor of the University of Reading.
Mr Robertson graduated in Land Management from the University of Reading in 1985. Prior to entering Parliament in 2001, he served as an Army officer in the Life Guards before putting skills honed at Reading into practice by following a career in property and investment management.
Mr Robertson held the Sport and Olympics brief from 2004, first in Opposition and then in Government, taking the London Games through from bid to execution and overseeing an unprecedented period of British sporting success. He is currently Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibilities including the Middle East, North Africa and counter terrorism.
Mr Robertson said: "It is a genuine honour to receive a Distinguished Fellowship from the University of Reading for my time as Olympics Minister during London 2012. My knowledge of Chartered Surveying, gained whilst at the university, was of inestimable value whilst overseeing the construction project, including the Olympic Park, and the Olympic budget.
"The University of Reading has always had a strong sporting tradition so it is unsurprising that so many of its graduates were directly involved with London's Olympic and Paralympic Games."
As Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, Sir John Armitt was responsible for the infrastructure, the facilities and the legacy of London 2012. Sir John has held senior positions in the construction industry, including Chief Executive of Costain plc and Chairman of John Laing Civil Engineering and John Laing International, delivering some of the world's biggest construction projects. He also served as Chief Executive of Network Rail.
Sir John is a long-time collaborator and supporter of the University's Department of Construction Management and Engineering, and received an honorary degree from Reading in 2008.
Sir John said: "It is an honour to receive the award from the University. It reflects the work that the UK Engineering and Construction industries made to the successful delivery of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I personally have had an association with the University and its staff going back many years. Reading is of course recognised for its major contribution it makes through its teaching and research to the built environment."
Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "London 2012 inspired the nation and was hailed as a success across the globe. The expertise, dedication and passion of Hugh Robertson and Sir John Armitt were key to its success. It is an honour and a privilege to be able to recognise their efforts, which have ensured the legacy of London 2012 is one of which we can all be proud."
The University was also delighted to award Distinguished Fellowships to Judith Scott and Geoff Botting, former Vice-Presidents of its Council, to recognise their invaluable service to the University.
The University has already honoured several of its current and former students who were involved in London 2012, including David Watkins, a 1963 graduate of the School of Fine Art and designer of the Olympic medals, and 11 members of Team GB who represented Britain at the Games, including rowing gold medallist Anna Watkins.