Press Releases 2014-2015

University ‘Father Figure’ Awarded Honorary Doctorate


Dr Gerald LewisA ‘father figure’ of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) who has led the institution through its recent period of merger has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate.

Dr Gerald Lewis MBE was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1939. He attended Swansea University and graduated with a BSc in Chemical Engineering followed by a PhD in Chemical Engineering.

After leaving university in 1964 his first appointment was with Esso Chemicals at their Southampton Refinery, providing technical expertise for the production of intermediary chemicals used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber.

In 1966 he travelled to Chicago, USA, to work for Amoco Chemicals Corporation (a subsidiary of Standard Oil of Indiana, later taken over by BP). He took on a role in their Research and Design facilities providing design and licensing expertise for the construction of petrochemical plants worldwide, primarily to make terephthalic acid – a major ingredient used in the manufacture of polyester.

Dr Lewis returned to the UK in the early 1970s to work for BP Chemicals at their Baglan Bay site in Port Talbot, supplying technical advice and service to a range of chemical manufacturing plants. He retired in 1999.

While at BP Chemicals he was selected, via a national vote, to the main Council of the Institution of Chemical Engineers for a period of 4 years and was also elected to the national in-house consultative council for the BP pension scheme for nearly two decades.

After attending night school at Swansea Institute of Higher Education (a predecessor institution of UWTSD), Dr Lewis obtained a Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance from the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants, and an external LL.B from the University of London.

Dr Lewis has been a Governor of Swansea schools Olchfa Comprehensive, Parklands Primary and Mayals Primary He was appointed a Governor of Swansea Institute of Higher Education in 1996, eventually becoming Chairman of the Board. On the creation of Swansea Metropolitan University (SMU) he was elected Chairman of the Board of Governors and, following the merger between SMU and UWTSD, he was elected Co-Chairman of the new UWTSD Council – retiring from this latter position in the Autumn of 2014.

Dr Lewis continues to be involved in Higher Education as a member of the Councils of UWTSD and the University of Wales. He was awarded an MBE for voluntary services to education in Wales in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list of 2014.

Professor Medwin Hughes, UWTSD Vice-Chancellor, said: “Every organisation needs leaders, corporate individuals who have strong values and strong principles, who are prepared to stand for what they believe and help change for a better world.

“We now have an opportunity to honour somebody who has made an enormous contribution to this civic university, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He is the father of the university house. He stands as the senior representative of the original Swansea Metropolitan University who led in the development of the merger with UWTSD. This is an opportunity for us as a University to thank and recognise the enormous contribution that Dr Gerald Lewis made, not just in merger but also in moving forward plans for our Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter and bringing S4C to Carmarthen.”

Dr Gerald Lewis said: “I would like to thank the Council of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Vice-Chancellor for awarding me with this very prestigious honour. I first stood on this stage to receive my degree fifty-five years ago, and how Swansea has changed in that time.”

Addressing the graduates, Dr Lewis said: “At this time of year we celebrate educational achievement and I would like to congratulate all of those who are graduating. It is such an exciting time and who knows where your achievements will take you. In my case, my qualification allowed me to work overseas. Your degree is also a passport to opportunities. My advice to you is to grasp these opportunities with both hands.”

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 01792 483695 / 07872 423788 or email