Wednesday 10 September 2014
Charles Vernon, a highly committed University supporter and recently retired Group CEO of international company Gloster Furniture, has been bestowed with an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his personal, committed contribution to the University's Furniture Department.
Charles, who lives in High Wycombe, was among a distinguished gathering of individuals being honoured at Bucks New University's graduation ceremonies held at the Wycombe Swan Theatre from 8-12 September.
Charles's career in furniture began in 1977 when he joined one of High Wycombe's most famous furniture companies, Parker Knoll, in its computer department. He moved from computing through to production and then sales before joining the main board of Parker Knoll PLC in 1985. He was also appointed Managing Director of Nathan Furniture and Chairman of Lock of London.
In 1993 he moved on to run Gloster Furniture which he took from being a small UK manufacturer of teak (Tectonia grandis) benches into a leading global brand of high quality outdoor furniture. Gloster manufactures in Asia and markets its products in over 50 countries with its own companies on three continents.
Charles said: "As a young man I chose not to complete my university studies and went straight into employment. I am therefore particularly honoured to receive this recognition.
"Bucks New University and its previous incarnations have over the last 100 years produced many excellent students who entered the furniture industry and had a huge impact; Wycombe-trained furniture people have probably had more effect on the industry in the UK than graduates from any other university or college.
"Even though furniture education is being reduced at the University, the opportunity exists for new types of education relevant to our modern industry to be developed and introduced.
"The furnishings industry in the UK is huge, larger than the aerospace sector, and has a bright future and a growing need for well-educated young people."
Charles joined the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers in 1988, has served on the Court since 1996 and was Master in 2012-13. Charles remains deeply involved with the furniture industry and serves on various boards and currently heads up the Furniture Makers Training and Education initiatives. He is a Freeman of the City of London. Charles is also Chairman of and is actively involved in the Right to Dream Foundation, a West African football-based organisation founded by his son.
Professor Ruth Farwell, Vice Chancellor of Bucks New University, said: "We are delighted that Charles Vernon has accepted our invitation to be associated with us in this way. We choose our honorary awardees in recognition of their outstanding achievements in their particular fields, and I am sure that he will be an inspiration to the graduating students and to those who will come after them."
Contact: Bucks New University
(PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF BUCKS NEW UNIVERSITY)
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