Chief Executive of RSA awarded Honorary Doctorate

Date 16.11.2015

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce), has been awarded with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Northampton.

Matthew received his Doctorate on Tuesday 14 July, at an evening ceremony held in Northampton’s Royal and Derngate Theatre. Matthew joins over 2,000 successful University of Northampton students who will be receiving their certificates throughout the week.

Matthew’s distinguished career has spanned the worlds of practical politics, policy research, public service, journalism and broadcasting.

Educated at Emanuel School and the Universities of Southampton and Warwick, Matthew began his political life as a County Councillor in Warwickshire. Joining the staff of the Labour Party Head Office, he rose rapidly to become Director of Policy and Assistant General Secretary, playing a major role in the landslide General Election victory of 1997.

He then became Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, a highly regarded progressive ‘think tank’, but returned to active politics as Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit leading the work on Labour’s manifesto for the successful 2005 General Election. In 2006 he took up his current post at the RSA where he has focused strongly on the promotion of social enterprise.

Matthew is a frequent writer and broadcaster. He is a presenter and contributor on many topics, but is most familiar as a regular panel member on Radio 4’s ‘The Moral Maze,’ where his measured, well thought-out and, above all, humane views make a striking contribution to the debate.

Matthew had two pieces of advice for University of Northampton graduates: “Even though we live in a globalised world, local is more important. Wherever you go, whatever you do, keep this University and place in your head and your heart.”

He continued: “You may be breathing a sigh of relief that after 20 odd years you’re coming off the education treadmill, but my advice is this: those learning muscles that you have strengthened over your time here, keep building them and don’t let them sag. Don’t ever stop learning. Some of you may have finished full-time education, but you are only just starting a lifetime of learning.”

On receiving his award, he commented: “I was really honoured when the University of Northampton approached me and offered me an honorary degree. I like innovation and the University is committed to innovation, having chosen social enterprise as one of its key themes and that’s something else I am really committed to. I have a lot of admiration for the institution and what it’s aiming to do and so I was really excited and delighted to accept the offer.”

Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton, commented: “In addition to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the graduating class of summer 2015, we are also recognising high profile individuals who have made a positive impact on others. The recipients of these honorary awards will inspire our graduates as they begin the next exciting stage in their lives, making their own mark on the world.”


Pictured left to right: Professor Nick Petford (Vice Chancellor), Matthew Taylor, Andrew Scarborough (Chair of the Board of Governors).