Glyndŵr University today announced their new chancellor as Sir Jon Shortridge.
Sir Jon is noted as one of the key architects and builders of devolved government in Wales and takes on the role at the Wrexham-based university at a key time for higher education in Wales.
He was, until his retirement in 2008, the leading civil servant in Wales as Permanent Secretary of the Assembly.
Speaking at a press conference at the university’s new Centre for the Creative Industries Sir Jon said: “I’ve always had a high regard for Glyndŵr University. It’s got a great self confidence about it and its achieved great things in recent years through its strong relationship with the community in north east Wales.
“This is very much a representational role and one which I hope to fulfil to the best of my abilities, drawing upon my knowledge of the issues affecting Wales and Glyndŵr University’s future from my time as Permanent Secretary.”
Professor Michael Scott, Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, said: “Sir Jon has been a tremendous supporter of Glyndŵr University over the last ten years and I am thrilled that he is the university’s new Chancellor.”
Professor Scott also paid tribute to the university’s outgoing chancellor Lord Barry Jones.
The new chancellor, Sir Jon, was made an honorary fellow of the university in 2011, and pursues a wide range of interests including acting as chair of Community Service Volunteers, the UK’s largest volunteering charity.
Having obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and an MSc in Urban Design and Regional Planning from Edinburgh University, he joined the civil service as a social researcher in 1969.
He then moved to the Welsh Office in 1984, later acting as Private Secretary to two Secretaries of State for Wales.
From 1988 to 1992 he was head of the Welsh Office’s finance division and subsequently reorganised local government in Wales before being appointed Director of Economic Affairs in 1997, with responsibility for establishing the National Assembly for Wales.
He was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Wales Office in 1999, going on to assume the same position at the newly-formed Assembly.
While he retired from that role in 2008, he returned briefly to the civil service in 2009 as interim permanent secretary at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and subsequently at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
Sir Jon was knighted in 2002 and now lives in Shrewsbury. He is married, with two children and four grandchildren.