Sir Patrick Walker: A tribute

Date 25.10.2021

Diane Hayes, former Senior Pro Vice Chancellor and Clerk to the Governing Council at the University of Northampton and Chair of the University of Northampton Retired Staff Association, pays tribute to Sir Patrick Walker, who died on 13 October.

“Sir Patrick Walker was a remarkable individual to work with and someone who made a very significant contribution to the development of governance at the soon to be University. The skills and experience he gained during his many years of public service, culminating in his appointment as Director General of MI5, transferred well to his role as Governor and then Chairman of the Governing Council at what was University College Northampton.

“During Sir Patrick’s time as Chairman, I was Clerk to the Governing Council and worked closely with him in the appointment of the former Vice Chancellor, Ann Tate in 2002. He led the Governing body in their oversight of the application and inspection process for University Title and Research Degree Awarding Powers which was achieved in 2005. It is Sir Patrick’s name which appears on the official letter from the Privy Council which confirmed the success of the application.

“Sir Patrick was an astute and clear thinking man. On occasions he wouldn’t say a lot, whilst a debate was ongoing, but could be relied on to always sum up the situation, and give straightforward and sound advice when everyone else had had their say.

“Sir Patrick’s term of office as Governor and Chair of the Council expired at the same time as we became the University of Northampton and to recognise his role as Chairman during this crucial event in the University’s history, a portrait was painted by former colleague, the late Jeff Spedding, and he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2006. I was honoured to be invited to deliver the oration at the conferment of his honorary award.

“Since his retirement as Chairman, Sir Patrick became Deputy Chairman of North Northants Development Company and retained his relationship with the University with the work undertaken by NNDC.

“His wife Susan was a frequent visitor to the University during his time as Chairman and I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to her and the family at this sad time.”