Tiptree jam boss scoops Writtle University College honorary award

From left, chair of governors Julia Smith, Chris Newenham, who received an honorary fellowship, vice

From left, chair of governors Julia Smith, Chris Newenham, who received an honorary fellowship, vice-chancellor Professor Tim Middleton and Baroness Jenkin. Picture: WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE - Credit: Writtle University College

Writtle University College graduates were joined by an alumnus who went on to head up the farm at a renowned Essex jam maker as they celebrated their success at two ceremonies at Chelmsford Cathedral this month.

Chris Newenham, joint managing director of Tiptree jams company Wilkin & Sons Ltd, and Jonathan Jukes, curator of Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum in Coggeshall, who were given honorary awards.

The ceremonies, on September 8, were the first for new vice chancellor Professor Tim Middleton, who joined in August.

“The last year has seen Writtle College become Writtle University College – the culmination of an immense amount of work to achieve University College status and Taught Degree Awarding Powers,” he said. “There is a genuine excitement about our future as we grow and develop to become, in time, a new kind of university-level institution, with a clear focus on student success across our course portfolio in land-based and allied sectors. Our new name has already strengthened our reputation, vision and ambition.”

The success of its distinguished alumni would be celebrate at the university college’s 125th anniversary next year, he said.

Jonathan Jukes was given an honorary doctorate degree and Chris Newenham an honorary fellowship.

Chris, who has worked at Wilkin & Sons for 16 years, is an alumnus of Writtle and was a governor there for more than eight years.

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“When I was looking for a commercial horticulture course in 1985 I found, like you did, an institution that was head and shoulders above the rest,” he told students. “Thanks in no small part to the tutelage, advice and commitment of the staff I gained a HND in commercial horticulture and, later, a degree in agriculture and a masters in business administration.

“I had no idea what direction life would take me after Writtle but I had a solid grounding, excellent contacts and a burning desire to work hard and achieve.”

For the first time, Writtle bestowed the title of Emeritus Professor. Dr Steve Waite, who retired in July, was awarded the title in recognition of his role as founding vice-chancellor and his contribution to the land-based sector. He plans to continue his research in field biology and plant ecology.

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