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Donald Cardy (1936-2018)

Don Cardy

Areas of Interest

Education, Engineering

Honorary Award

Honorary Fellow, 1996


Born in Colchester, Don Cardy is an engineer, teacher, lecturer, and formerly Deputy Director of the Colchester Institute. A graduate in Mechanical Engineering at Durham, he spent a brief period in industry before entering the teaching profession, to which he was to devote the rest of his career. He spent 34 years at the North East Essex Technical College and School of Art, which later became the Colchester Institute. During his time there, Don nurtured a vision of providing higher education to all those who want and can profit by it. Together with a group of committed colleagues, he developed the idea both in theory and in practice, and so came to be a significant influence on the early history of the Anglia Ruskin University that we now see today.

In 1996 Donald Cardy was admitted to the list of Fellows of the University in recognition of his contribution to Higher Education within the region of East Anglia.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University to Donald Frederick Cardy, lately Deputy Director, Colchester Institute.

Don Cardy, as he is known by all, has recently retired from his post as Deputy Director of Colchester Institute. There he was responsible for the work of the Schools of Music, Art and Design, and Health and Social Studies. He is Colchester born and bred but went away to Durham where he studied and qualified as a mechanical engineer with a first class degree.

After a spell at Paxmans Diesels which is now part of GEC he has spent most of his professional career amounting to 34 years, teaching at North East Essex Technical College and School of Art, which became Colchester Institute as it is today. Don Cardy has a number of interests, which he will now be freer to pursue in retirement. They include gardening and cycling and another, less well-known, interest in construction of radio-controlled model aeroplanes. True pedagogue that he is, he has used his model helicopters to illustrate certain engineering principles in his lectures.

It is as a good friend of the University and an influence in the shaping of its early history that he is affectionately remembered and honoured by us this afternoon. For this is no ordinary University. We are not bound, as many other universities are, to a particular campus. We have a network of campuses and partnerships with 22 other educational institutions across the region from the Wash to the Thames, from the East Coast into the Boroughs of Outer London. One of the largest of our partners is Colchester Institute of which Don was until recently Deputy Director. The vision of the Regional University Partnership is to be able to offer higher education to all those who want it and can profit by it without having to move great distances from their homes. We would take higher education to the communities of the Region.

Don Cardy was one of the small groups of colleagues who, together with the first Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Mike Salmon, conceived the original idea and then worked it out in practice. It was he along with a few others who worked out the system of regional planning and established the systems necessary to make such an ambitious venture work effectively and satisfy the exigent requirements of the Higher Education Funding Council. He became a byword for producing accurate and relevant information on time.

It is therefore with great pleasure that, on behalf of the Chancellor of the University, I invite our friend Mr Donald Cardy to come forward to receive the Honorary Fellowship of the University in recognition of his contribution to higher education in the region of East Anglia."