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Chris Newenham

A man is wearing a suit and is crouching down. He holds a jar of jam and in the background you can see strawberry plants.

Areas of Interest

Business, Environment and Agriculture

Honorary Award

Honorary Degree of Writtle University College


The Senior Leadership Team of Writtle University College has great pleasure in accepting the recommendation of the Academic Board to award Chris Newenham an Honorary Fellowship of the University College.

Chris Newenham is Joint Managing Director of Wilkin & Sons Ltd, famous for its Tiptree jams, having worked there for 16 years. He is an alumnus of Writtle and was nominated for his passionate support of the University College.

Chris came from County Cork to study an HND in Commercial Horticulture at Writtle in the late 1980s and returned to undertake a BSc in Agriculture. He later completed an MBA at the University of Essex and was a Nuffield Scholar in 2006, investigating whether China represented an opportunity or threat to the UK fruit industry.

As an alumnus, he has retained a great fondness for the University College. He has been a tireless champion and ambassador for us and an enthusiastic supporter of education and training. He has facilitated a wide range of visits and activities to support and enhance the student experience and knowledge of the sector. He has also been an important supporter of the establishment of a National Land Based College (a virtual college championing the land-based sector) and Writtle University College’s involvement in this.

Chris was appointed as a Governor in March 2009 and has served two four-year terms, finishing in March 2017. Prior to that, he acted as a non-board member of the Estates and Property Committee for two years and, in his time, was also Student Governor. Chris has served as the Chair of the Finance & General Purposes Committee and has been a Vice Chair of the Board of Governors, as well as being involved in external scrutiny visits by both the QAA and HEFCE.

Chris joined Wilkin & Sons Ltd as Farm Manager in 2001 and became custodian of over 1,000 acres, including 300 acres of intensive fruit. Since being promoted to Director, and then Managing Director, he has supported the Essex Agricultural Society’s annual Food and Farming Day held at the University College, an event designed to educate 3,000 primary schoolchildren from across Essex about the journey of food from field to fork. He has also supported other University College events, including Employability Days.

In recognition of his services to education and horticulture, it gives Writtle University College much pleasure to confer on Chris Newenham an Honorary Fellowship of the University College.