Michael Cant Awarded Honorary Fellowship

Michael Cant, CEO of Larch Consulting, is today awarded an Honorary Fellowship at Glyndwr University in recognition of his contribution to the University (where he recently completed a term as Chair of the Board of Governors) and of his wider contribution to field of facilities and infrastructure strategy.

Mike’s relationship with the University began when it was still North East Wales Institute of Higher Education.  He was engaged as strategic and Executive Board advisor to develop the forward plan for the Institute Board and Governors and including assessing corporate structure, governance, and building and campus operations as the organisation made its journey to University status.  His work to create a vision that interwove place, purpose and people; brand, buildings and belonging quickly saw him invited onto the Board.

“It was a great privilege”, said Mike, “to be a part of the team as we passed such an important milestone on the journey. The ceremony to grant University title is quite an extraordinary experience, with the investiture of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, the awarding of the new coat of arms from the Somerset Herald in all his splendour, the commissioning of fanfares, and right down to the designing of the ceremonial mace – which at Glyndwr incorporates elements of the University’s research work on structures for the wings of Airbus aircraft.  Glyndwr (Prifysgol Glyndŵr) is a bilingual university, with all ceremonies in both Welsh and English, so my Welsh has certainly improved a great deal, although I admit I was starting from a very low base!”

During Cant’s time as Chair of the Board, the University took some radical decisions about its approach to estate and infrastructure, the most widely-reported of which was the purchasing of The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, which is the oldest international football ground in the world. The innovative and bold repurposing of this space means the University now has a whole range of new facilities and uses, including being able to host major international sporting events, as well as supporting academic and student residential needs.  The ground and its heritage are saved for the town, and the team can still play at its spiritual home, as town, university and team share the sense of ownership and engagement with this space – which is just how the University positions itself within this community.

As part of his responsibilities, Cant also chaired the board of Optic Glyndwr, the research-based technology company responsible for the prototype development of telescope mirrors for the European Southern Observatory (ESO).  The E-ELT (a 40-metre class telescope) will be the world’s largest optical near-infrared telescope, with the mirrors designed to be utilised as part of a structure the size of Wembley Stadium.

Says Mike: “It’s an honour to accept this Fellowship and see that Infrastructure and FM is becoming recognised outside our own field as a valued professional discipline amongst academics, who are often the most demanding clients due to their continual intellectual challenging of our approaches.  This does us good as it obliges us to explain our work with academic rigour, and to demonstrate the value proposition and the outcomes.”

Michael joins an august group of Honorary Fellows of Glyndwr which includes Sir Willard White, footballer Michael Owen, the artist Maurice Cockrill and the illustrator Ralph Steadman as well as a constellation of academics and business leaders.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the first Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University Professor Sir Peter Toyne will also be recognised alongside Mike by the University as  Honorary Fellows this year.