A LECTURER who fought to save and develop the science department at Huddersfield University has been recognised with a prestigious award.
Professor Mike Page, scientist and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Huddersfield University, is to be the first ever recipient of the new Doctor of the University honorary award (DUniv).
Prof Page has a global reputation for research in the area of physical organic chemistry.
But one of his proudest achievements is that he helped to expand the study of science at the university.
Many universities and colleges throughout Britain have axed their chemistry and physics departments, in the face of declining student numbers, but Prof Page took steps to ensure that science not only survived but prospered at Huddersfield.
"We ensured that our labs and equipment were up-to-date and we organised open days, so that students from schools and colleges could come and spend a day in the lab and do things that they couldn’t at school,’’ he said.
"We showed them some of the things that are exciting about science.
"New areas of study were introduced. The long-standing chemistry department – which has time-honoured links with local industry – was complemented by fields such as biochemistry, biological sciences and pharmacy.
"Ensuring that the study of science flourished has been good for Huddersfield and good for the country.
"Almost everything you can think of in terms of a modern economy is touched by science in some way or another, whether it is medicine or material science and technology, or subjects such as bio-fuels and the environment."
Prof Page said he and his colleagues at Huddersfield had tackled the issue of falling numbers by forging close links with schools and colleges, promoting the study of science and making sure that the curriculum on offer at Huddersfield was attractive.
Science student numbers at Huddersfield have since more than trebled.
Prof Page added that the university worked closely with employers to make sure that ‘sandwich’ placements were maintained and that Huddersfield science graduates had a good employment record.
Prof Page was born in Sussex and educated at universities in Brighton, Leicester, Glasgow, Massachusetts and Stirling. He came to Huddersfield as a lecturer in 1973 and became Professor of Chemistry in 1985.
His other posts have included head of the department of chemical and biological sciences and Dean of the school of applied sciences.
Since 2004 he has been deputy vice-chancellor and has particular responsibility for planning, resources, admissions, marketing and communications.
He retires from the post soon and in November will receive an emeritus professorship and become the first recipient of the Doctor of the University award.