Friday 4 February 2011

Professor Tony Covington

Tony will become the world’s very first Doctor of Science (DSc) graduate in Leather Technology.

Tony, who has nearly 250 publications to his name and already has a first degree and PhD, will be officially awarded his DSc this summer – becoming the first academic at the University to achieve this coveted honour.

Professor Covington, originally a chemist who joined The University of Northampton in 1995, said:

“This DSc is a reflection of the international excellence of our department in the University. It is the culmination of more than 30 years’ work in leather science; it is the highest possible academic award and recognition of substantial contribution to scientific knowledge and my standing in the international field.

“What this accolade really does for me is trump everything I have achieved before. Previously I had 33 letters after my name but I’m now requesting new business cards and replacing all those with just three – DSc!”

Professor Covington, one of only a handful of Leather Science Professors in the world, submitted a reflective portfolio of 46 papers for scrutiny by an internal committee of the University and then external examiners in the lead-up to his award success.

Last year The Royal Society of Chemistry published his first book, entitled ‘Tanning Chemistry. The Science of Leather’, which represents 30 years of study and expertise.

Other career highlights for the Professor include being President of the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS), the technical arm of the global leather industry, at the time of its Centenary in 1997 and being awarded the Union’s Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry in 2009.

“That felt like the Nobel Prize of leather,” added Professor Covington, “Another definite highlight was meeting Mother Theresa. I was working as a consultant for the United Nations and during a three week trip to Calcutta my host thought he would surprise me. We drove through side streets of the city and came to a high walled house. He knocked on a huge door and there she was. Meeting someone so famous can be intimidating but I remember Mother Theresa being so tiny and charming; as we were leaving, she handed me her business card, which, instead of giving her credentials, had a small prayer written on it.”

Professor Covington, now retired, continues to support his colleagues as a resource in teaching and research – and, in his spare time, is a proud Governor of Lings Primary School in Northampton.

“After all my research and qualifications, I am finally going back to school!” Tony concluded.

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