Mon 18th Nov 2013
Chamber CEO receives Inaugural Honorary Fellowship at College Graduation
Local industry leaders recognised at Belfast Met’s annual celebration
Belfast Metropolitan College awarded its first ever Honorary Fellowship Awards to local industry leaders during its annual higher education Graduation ceremony.
Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) received the prestigious award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the local tourism economy, while The Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Ann McGregor MBE, was recognised for her excellence in business development and enterprise.
The forward-thinking industry leaders were awarded the College’s highest accolade it can bestow during two of three ceremonies which celebrated the achievements of over 1,000 students.
With over thirty years’ experience in the tourism industry, Alan Clarke steered NITB through a period of change and high levels of investment, culminating in the ni2012 ‘Our Time, Our Place’ campaign and the global repositioning of Northern Ireland as an important tourist destination. He led the launch of a significant number of additional new tourism facilities, attractions and events throughout the region and paved the way for international events coming to the country for the first time, including the Irish Open, the Giro D’Italia and the current Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture celebrations.
In a similar vein, Ann McGregor MBE has been a prominent driving force in the development of business and enterprise in the region. With a network of close to 1,500 companies, she has led local business through challenging times in the midst of a recession, constantly persevering through the changing economic landscape. The NI Chamber ensures businesses develop, grow and enhance their position in the global market place through dynamic and innovative programmes, particularly in the export market.
The annual graduation, the largest event in the College’s academic calendar, welcomed 2,000 guests to Titanic Belfast and its Titanic Quarter Campus as graduates from the Faculty of Technologies and Academic Studies, the Faculty of Health, Care, Sport and Leisure and the Faculty of Leadership, Science and Service Industries were conferred.
Joining the two Chief Executives in receiving the inaugural Honorary Fellowship Award from Belfast Met was former South Pole adventurer and spinal injury pioneer, Mark Pollock, in recognition of his outstanding personal achievements.
Graduates and their guests also had the chance to hear from three local entrepreneurs who shared their stories of success. Simon Cole, co-founder of Automated Intelligence, Mary McCall, Founder of TreatTicket.com and Eleanor McEvoy, Founder of Budget Energy, disclosed their advice to graduates who are facing their next step in their career, education and personal journeys.
Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College, congratulated the new graduates and Honorary Fellows:
“Belfast Met is extremely proud of each of our graduates and we would like to thank and congratulate every one of them on their dedication and passion for learning. We are delighted to offer a special occasion that allows our graduates to celebrate their achievements with those who have supported and assisted them throughout their studies, from family and friends to lecturers and support staff in the College. We wish our graduates every success in their futures and hope their learning journeys with us continue for years to come.”
“It is an absolute privilege to award our first ever Honorary Fellowships to three truly outstanding individuals. We hope that each of the Honorary Fellows’ innovation and transformation of the world around them inspires our learners as they move into the next stage of their personal and professional lives.”
Ann McGregor MBE, Belfast Metropolitan College Honorary Fellow and Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, continued:
“I am honoured to receive this significant award from Belfast Metropolitan College. The Northern Ireland economy is continuing to change and develop and we must constantly innovate in order to keep our business ideas fresh, relevant and successful. I hope that each learner at the College reflects on this and continues to be dynamic so they can adapt to their future education, careers and personal journeys.”
Alan Clarke, Belfast Metropolitan College Honorary Fellow and Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Tourist Board, added:
“Belfast Metropolitan College has a fantastic reputation for the creative industries, including Travel and Tourism courses, so it is with great pride that I receive this Honorary Fellowship. I hope that the 2013 graduates, and all future gradates, will gather inspiration from the transformation of the Northern Ireland landscape that NITB played such a large part in, and use this to help build upon the futures that each of them have now started to create.”
Belfast Met’s Honorary Fellowship Award recognises individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who have achieved excellence in their field, career or personal journey. The Fellows are regarded as a role model for students and graduates as they continue their education and career development pathways at Belfast Met and beyond.