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St Mary’s Director of Enterprise and Innovation Awarded OBE

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St Mary’s Director of Enterprise and Innovation Awarded OBE

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Director of Enterprise and Innovation at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Rt Hon Jenny Willott has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Jenny was awarded the OBE for Services to Political and Public Life. Prior to joining St Mary’s, she was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central, serving in the coalition government from 2012-2014.

During her time in government, Jenny first served as an Assistant Whip, before serving as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, and Women and Equalities.

During her time at St Mary’s, Jenny has overseen a number of big developments, including the partnership between Richmond Council and the University over The Exchange. This has seen the University become responsible for the management of The Exchange, which opened to the public in October 2017.

The Exchange is a newly built venue in the heart of Twickenham with a 300 seat theatre, 5 studio rooms, a cafe and a bar. It is the building directly opposite the entrance to Twickenham station. It has seen a highly successful first six months, welcoming major speakers and acts including David Starkey, Germaine Greer, Jason Mansford, Adam Kay, and Robert Winston, with more to follow in the coming months.

She was also heavily involved in setting up the St Mary’s First Star Academy, working with young people in care to help prepare them for University. The academy, which hosted its first cohort of students in Summer 2017, was awarded the Best Prospective Student Engagement Award at the Whatuni? Student Choice Awards in April.

Speaking of her award, Jenny said, “I’m delighted and amazed to be honoured in this way.  It came as a complete surprise!  I loved my time in Parliament and in Government, and I am now enjoying working here at St Mary’s.  St Mary’s is such a special place to work and I am very lucky to have a role that brings me into contact with fantastic staff all across the University.”

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