New college chairman looks to the future after ex-mayor steps down

Stephen Pugh, chair of corporation at Suffolk New College

New Suffolk New College chair of corporation says he thinks further education is the future - Credit: Suffolk New College/Pagepix

Suffolk New College has welcomed a new chair of corporation after incumbent former mayor Roger Fern stepped down.

The two-time mayor of Ipswich, who first joined the college in 1961 as an economics student, rose through the ranks to become chair in 2013 – having also worked as a headteacher of four primary schools in and around Ipswich.

He will now take on the role of vice chair to allow him to spend more time with his family, while new chair of corporation Stephen Pugh will take over his duties. 

Former Ipswich mayor Roger Fern

Former Ipswich mayor Roger Fern, who is stepping down as chief of corporation at Suffolk New College - Credit: John Nice

Mr Fern, whose children also studied at the college, said he will continue to care for the college "as much as I possibly can for as long as I possibly can".

He said: "Without exception, the college is well thought of, so, it has been a real privilege to represent them and I look forward to continuing to be supportive in my new role.

“Many people regard further education as a second choice – but I don’t, and neither does my family.

"Like many people living in the region, my family has been heavily involved with the college from generation to generation. Without it, they wouldn’t have had the success that they are enjoying today.”

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Mr Pugh, who has previously worked for major local companies including Fisons and Adnams – as well as national brand Burberry – said he wants to show that further education is the future.

He said: “This is a really exciting era for the college and I’m delighted to be able to make a significant contribution to our future development.

“During my time here (working with the finance committee and as vice chair) I’ve seen how the role of the college is to offer the best education we possibly can and to help people of all ages advance – that’s what it’s all about.”

“In the last year, I think our senior leadership team - and all of our staff – have done a fantastic job – and I’m looking forward to working more closely with everyone."

Viv Gillespie, principal of the college, thanked Mr Fern for his enthusiasm and expertise and said she is "delighted" to announce Mr Pugh as his successor.

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