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21st June 2024 Evan Leonhard (2023, MSt English)

Rector Trainor receives honorary degree from Williams College

Rector Trainor receives honorary degree from Williams College

Rector Trainor receives an honorary degree from Williams College. Photo by Bradley Wakoff courtesy of Williams College

Exeter’s Rector, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, received an honorary degree from Williams College in Massachusetts at their annual commencement ceremony in June.

It was the latest event in a long history of collaboration between Exeter and Williams. The Williams at Exeter Programme in Oxford (WEPO) has been an integral facet of Exeter College since the programme’s foundation in 1985. Every year, the programme brings 26 Williams undergraduates to study at Exeter, allowing them to become official members of the University and are active participants in all the usual aspects of college life. In 2017, Exeter began sending a cohort of its own undergraduates to Williams for an annual two-week winter study programme in January.

Ahead of the event Rector Trainor commented: ‘The honorary degree that Williams College is awarding me in June symbolises the continued vitality of the Williams-Exeter Programme in Oxford (WEPO), which is nearly forty years old and going strong, having survived even the pandemic without an interruption. I am particularly pleased to receive the honorary degree because I attach great importance to WEPO, which has brought Exeter a long succession of excellent students, stimulating Williams academics as Directors, and highly valued Exeter Fellows associated with the programme. Williams, one of America’s greatest liberal arts colleges, is an excellent partner for Exeter, and I believe that both institutions benefit substantially from WEPO.  It is an honour for me to be further associated with Williams through the honorary degree.’

The award celebrates Rector Trainor’s distinguished career as a scholar and university administrator, as well as his active involvement with the WEPO programme. He began his career as a research fellow and lecturer here in Oxford with a clutch of college affiliations before moving in 1979 to the University of Glasgow, where he was later Professor of Social History and Vice Principal. He was named Vice-Chancellor at the University of Greenwich in 2000, the Principal of King’s College London in 2004, and arrived as Rector of Exeter College in 2014. Rector Trainor’s tenure at Exeter has been marked by numerous notable advances, including the completion of Cohen Quadrangle and the recent renovation of the College library.

Rector Trainor has also received honorary degrees from the University of Kent (2009), the Rosalind Franklin University of Science and Medicine (2012), the University of Glasgow (2014), and the University of Greenwich (2022).

President Maud Mandel and Rector Rick Trainor

Rector Trainor was presented with his honorary degree by President of Williams College, Maud Mandel. Photo by Bradley Wakoff courtesy of Williams College

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