Yorkshire Sikh Forum honours Huddersfield’s Vice-Chancellor

Professor Bob Cryan CBE receives an award from the Yorkshire Sikh Forum for his contribution to business and education in the county

Pictured with the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan CBE (second right), are officials from the Yorkshire Sikh Forum (l-r) Balwant Singh Bassi, Nirmal Singh Sekhon MBE, Simmy Singh Sekhon 

Leading members of Yorkshire’s Sikh community bestowed an award that recognise the contribution made to the county by key figures in fields such as business and education.

One of the recipients is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan CBE; and when his schedule meant he was unable to attend the function at which the awards were due to be conferred, a party from the Yorkshire Sikh Forum (YSF) paid a special visit to the University to hand over his trophy in person.

For two of the party, it meant a return to familiar territory.

The secretary of the YSF, Simmy Singh Sekhon, a solicitor and chief executive of the family firm of property developers, is a law graduate of the University of Huddersfield. He was accompanied by his father, Nirmal Singh Sekhon MBE, chairman of the company and of the Forum. Another of his sons, Narinder Singh Sekhon – now a leading barrister based in Leeds – is also a Huddersfield graduate.

“I chose for both of my sons to receive their education at Huddersfield, and I always recommend it to others,” said Nirmal Singh during his visit to meet Professor Cryan. The YSF visitors also included the Forum’s vice-chairman, Balwant Singh Bassi.

Simmy Sekhon explained that the YSF – founded in 1989 – sought to recognise the achievements not only of Sikhs themselves, but also members of the wider community.

“There is a close link between the mainstream community and the Sikh community and we wanted to build those bridges,” he said.

“Professor Cryan is recognised not just here in Huddersfield but nationally, throughout the field of education for his achievements at this university.

“They not only help to prosper Huddersfield, but the whole of Yorkshire,” continued Mr Sekhon. “We are grateful for that and wanted to show our recognition of Professor Cryan. We are very proud of his leadership of this university.”

After receiving the Yorkshire Sikh Forum award, Professor Cryan said how grateful he was. “My only regret is that I was unable to attend the special ceremony,” he added.

The function at which the YSF awards were announced was attended by a wide range of dignitaries, including the Lord-Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire.

About Professor Bob Cryan
Professor Bob Cryan CBE was appointed to his first Professorial Chair at the age of 30 and at the time he was the youngest Professor of Engineering in the UK. He then went on to become the youngest Vice-Chancellor in the UK when he took up his post at his hometown University, the University of Huddersfield, in January 2007, a University that now has over 22,000 students from over 120 countries.
Bob holds two first class honours degrees (Engineering, Mathematics), an MBA and two doctorates (PhD, DSc) and he is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering Technology and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Bob is a Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire and in 2013 he was awarded The Guardian Inspiring Leader Award. In 2014 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and made a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.
In 2015 he received The Daily Telegraph Educate North Inspiring Leader Award and was included in the group of 50 World leading Engineers appointed as Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering
After graduating with a first class honours in engineering from Huddersfield, Bob went on to complete a British Telecom-sponsored part-time PhD programme, whilst working as a lecturer at Huddersfield.
In 1992 he was appointed Director of the Centre for Communications Systems Research at Manchester Metropolitan University. He was appointed to a Personal Chair, and Head of the Department of Electrical, Electronic Engineering & Physics at Northumbria University in 1994.
In 1996 he was appointed Head of the School of Engineering at Northumbria University. He moved to the University of Wales, Swansea in 1999 to be Chair of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He also held the Siemens Chair of Communications and the post of Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.
In 2002 he returned to Northumbria University as Pro Vice-Chancellor, becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2005, with responsibilities including both teaching and research.
Bob believes that teaching should be underpinned by research and he is an active researcher who has co-authored over 200 publications
Bob is tremendously proud of the University of Huddersfield and has ambitious plans for it, particularly around research, postgraduate provision and internationalisation. With the support of his senior team, Bob has built the University’s future strategy around being an inspiring, innovative University of international renown.
Bob has been recognised through many awards including: the Higher Education Academy’s first ever Global Teaching Excellence award and a Gold rating in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework, a Queen’s Anniversary Prize (2015); The Daily Telegraph Educate North New University of the Year 2015/16; the Times Higher University of the Year 2013/14; the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade) 2013; and the Times Higher Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2012/13.

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