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Dafydd Iwan to be honoured by Welsh university

04 Jul 2023 6 minute read
Dafydd Iwan (Credit: FAW)

The Welsh singer and politician Dafydd Iwan will be honoured by a Welsh university for his contribution to public life.

The Welsh language campaigner rose to fame writing and performing Welsh language folk music and ballads and was the president of Plaid Cymru from 2003-2010.

Dafydd is currently the Football Association of Wales’ cultural ambassador and proudly led the singing of the official campaign song Yma o Hyd to support the national team at the World Cup in 2022 and to raise the profile of Wales and the Welsh language.

Bangor University will award Daydd with an honorary degree this summer alongside a number of inspiring individuals from the worlds of science, law, sport, the arts and popular culture for their contribution to public life.

Graduations will take place in the University’s historic Main Building from Monday 10 to Friday 14 July.


As well as Dafydd Iwan, this year’s honorary graduands are:

Steve Backshall MBE is one of television’s best-known wildlife presenters, naturalists, writers, and adventurers. He is an honorary lecturer at Bangor University where he teaches students about conservation, zoology and the wildlife filming industry. Steve’s lectures are among the most popular with plans afoot for live feeds from Steve’s filming locations and field trips.

Dr Tina Barsby OBE is a Bangor alumna and plant geneticist renowned for her scientific achievements and experience in the agricultural crop sector. She is the CEO of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the first female Chief Executive in the Institute’s 90-year history. An Agricultural Botany graduate from Bangor University, she was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year Honours List for services to agricultural science and biotechnology.

Richard Broyd OBE is a businessman, conservationist, and philanthropist. Recognising the plight of beautiful country houses facing ruin, he founded Historic House Hotels. His first purchase was 17th century Bodysgallen Hall in Llandudno which ignited a passion for Wales. Richard donated the entire company and its assets to the National Trust, the largest single gift ever received by the charity. He maintains strong ties with North Wales and is an ardent supporter of Welsh charities, notably the Ffestiniog Railway and the reconstruction of the Welsh Highland Railway.

Dr Pauline Cutting OBE, a veteran war-zone surgeon, has lived in North Wales for the last 40 years. In the mid-1980s, she was a volunteer surgeon with Medical Aid for Palestine. At the Bourj al Bourajneh refugee camp, she fought to save lives amid constant bombardment. Dr Cutting was isolated from the world but eventually communicated the situation to journalists through a makeshift radio antenna. Her pledge ‘to live or die’ with those in the camp, reverberated around the world. Although retired, she still works one day a week as an emergency physician at Ysbyty Gwynedd’s A&E department where she was the hospital’s first consultant in emergency medicine.

Professor Iwan Davies was Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University from 2019 – 2022. He steered the University through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among his significant achievements was the announcement of an independent North Wales Medical School supported by Welsh Government. He is a leading authority on international commercial law with a particular interest in asset finance, IP and personal property law. A graduate of Aberystwyth, Cambridge, and Cardiff Universities, he is also a barrister, having been invited and called to the Bar for distinguished legal academic scholarship.

Gwyn Evans is former conductor of Beaumaris Brass Band. He has taught thousands of children in the surrounding area to play brass instruments for more than 25 years. He has led the Beaumaris Band to success in top British competitions, at the same time raising the quality and skills of young people whilst motivating them to take an interest in brass bands. In writing and adapting musical arrangements for the Beaumaris Band Gwyn is always keen to promote Welshness and Welsh musical culture and has taken it around the world.

Dr Salamatu Jidda-Fada is a Nigerian-born conservation scientist and educator. She was a research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation, and visiting researcher in the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University. Still based in Bangor, Salamatu works as a conservation consultant in promoting a greener Wales and is active in promoting environmental awareness amongst ethnic minority communities and the wider Welsh society. Stemming from her work as founder of the North Wales Africa Society, Salamatu contributed to the Welsh Government Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Group as a member and is the Vice Chair for Adult Learning Wales. She is also an advisory member of the RSPB Cymru and is the first black person to be elected as a Councillor for Bangor City Council.

Caradog ‘Crag’ Jones was the first Welshman to reach the summit of Everest in May 1995 at the age of 33. He graduated with a BSc Marine Biology & Oceanography degree from Bangor University in 1982. Following his successful climb, he gained popularity by hosting television programmes for young climbers and supporting Welsh climbing and walking groups. Currently working as a fisheries consultant, Crag continues to pursue climbing and expeditioning and has also taken up downhill mountain bike racing.

Dr Dafydd Owen led the multidisciplinary preclinical team that discovered PAXLOVID, the first FDA-approved oral treatment for Covid-19. He has 25 years of experience as a medicinal chemist in the design and synthesis of drug-like molecules at Pfizer Research & Development in the UK and US.

Emeritus Professor Gareth Ffowc Roberts, is a former Pro-Chancellor of Bangor University and a former member of its Council. A Mathematics graduate from Oxford University, Gareth worked extensively in education in Wales before becoming Principal of Coleg Normal, Bangor. After the college merged with the University of Wales, Bangor, Gareth became a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Education. He played a key role in establishing the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and oversaw Welsh medium provision at the University.

Bangor University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Edmund Burke said: “Graduation ceremonies are the highlight of the academic year, celebrating the achievements and hard work of our students.

“We are really delighted to award honorary degrees to individuals who have made highly valued contributions to public life and who serve to inspire today’s young graduates as they embark on their careers.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

‘Crag’ Jones first of us up Everest, I wonder if my brawd knows him ?

James W. Soares Jones
James W. Soares Jones
1 year ago

I am happy to read about the accomplishments of these Welsh folk. Cymru am Beth!

1 year ago

Healthy list of people awards. No politicians or other dodgy “professions”. Da iawn Bangor.

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