An influential pottery company boss has been awarded an honorary degree for his contribution to the regeneration and development of Stoke-on-Trent.
Paul Farmer OBE is among the inspirational leaders who have been recognised with the honour from Staffordshire University.
Paul – who is the managing director of Etruria-based Wade Ceramics – has been made a Doctor of the University (DUniv).
He has been at the helm of the ceramics business – which employs more than 200 people – for more than 20 years following a management buyout in 2000.
He has overseen the company’s transition into a new £8m factory at Festival Park – the first new greenfield ceramics factory in the region for more than 50 years.
And in October 2018, Wade Ceramics reopened the former Aynsley China site in Longton.
Paul’s successful leadership of Wade Ceramics saw him awarded an OBE for International Trade and Services to the Ceramics Industry in Her Majesty’s 2014 New Year’s Honours List.
He was also president of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce from 2016 to 2019 and is now honorary treasurer.
The award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Paul in recognition of his role as “one of the most respected and influential business leaders in Staffordshire” and the significant role he has played in the regeneration and development of the local economy.
The award also acknowledges his “daring” management style and innovative approach to business, which has seen a significant boost to employment in the region.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this award from Staffordshire University. From my personal perspective, I’m every bit as proud to receive the Honorary Doctor award from Staffordshire University as I was to receive the OBE.”
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Staffordshire University had planned to recognise its latest honorary degree recipients at its awards ceremonies last year, but the celebrations were postponed due to the pandemic.
Staffordshire University vice-chancellor and chief executive professor Liz Barnes CBE DL said: “We’ve recently heard about those people with connections to Staffordshire University who were recognised in the New Year honours and decided we couldn’t wait any longer to recognise the tremendous work of our new honorary graduates.
“When normal service resumes, they will get to don their cap and gown, celebrate their achievements and share their wisdom with our graduating students. As a Connected University community, we can’t wait for that happen!”