Issue date: 26 November 2004

ISSUE DATE: 26/11/04

The University of the West of England will award the honorary degree of Doctor of Education to Karen Jane Morgan OBE. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design on Friday 3 December at 11.30 at Bristol Cathedral.

Karen Morgan was born in Ayrshire, Scotland and educated at St Leonard’s School, St Andrews, Fife. She read Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a first class honours degree. This was followed by a year in Sweden teaching English as a foreign language. In 1968, she joined ICI Limited and worked initially in the Central Purchasing Department at the Head Office in London for a period of four years. She then spent seven years with ICI Paints Division (Planning and Corporate Development, Marketing and Sales) before returning to Head Office (Business Environment Department) until her resignation in 1981.

After her spell at ICI, Karen Morgan became involved with a number of small companies in fields as diverse as engineering, marine engineering and design, yacht chandler, interactive video, and personal development. She was also active in the financial services field, as a director of several building societies and finance companies. She remains an associate of Solomon Hare LLP.

Beyond business, a major theme of Karen Morgan’s activities has been Higher Education. Her roles have included: member of the Council for National Academic Awards, 1982-88; Commissioner, Fulbright Commission, 1983-87; Chairman of the Management Committee of the University of Southampton Development Trust, 1986-87; member of the National Advisory Body for Public Sector Higher Education, Management Education Group, 1987-88; member of the Committee of University Chairmen, 1998-2003 (Deputy Chairman 2001-2002); member of the Commission on University Career Opportunity, 1999-2000; and, member of the Joint Equality Steering Group, 2001-2003.

Karen Morgan is currently a member of: the Research Committee of the Higher Education Funding Council for England; the Leadership, Governance and Management Committee of the Higher Education Funding Council for England; Equality Challenge Unit Management Board; Colston’s Collegiate School Governing Body; and, the Governing Council of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Director of At-Bristol. In 1989 Karen Morgan was appointed a Governor of Bristol Polytechnic, now the University of the West of England, and she became Deputy Chairman in 1994, Chairman in 1998, and then Pro Chancellor in 2004.

Most recently Karen Morgan has worked with environmental bodies, serving on the board of the National Rivers Authority from 1989 until 1995 and its successor body, the Environment Agency until 1998. She is currently: Deputy Chairman of WaterAid; a Director of Wessex Water Services Ltd; and, a member of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the NERC Science and Innovation Strategy Board.

In 1999, Karen Morgan was awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours List for services to the protection of the water environment. In 2003, she became a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators and she is also a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol.

Karen Morgan’s Who’s Who entry lists her interests as music, ski-ing, sailing and travelling.

The Honorary Degree is awarded in recognition of Karen Morgan’s outstanding contribution to the governance and life of the University of the West of England.


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