MORE than 25 years after receiving her first degree from the University of Huddersfield, the politician Baroness Williams of Trafford was back to receive a new award. But she told the audience that lessons she learned when studying for her original BSc degree were still relevant to her work – such as when discussing health issues in the House of Lords.
In 1991, Susan Williams – who was made Baroness in 2013 – graduated in Applied Nutrition. It remains relevant, especially as she considers that obesity is a major challenge for Government and for society, she said, adding that she loved her time at Huddersfield.
Baroness Williams was speaking after receiving an Honorary Doctorate of the University, conferred at one of the 32 awards ceremonies taking place over nine days.
An oration was delivered by Dr Jamie Halsall, a Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences.
He said that she has had one of the most distinguished and varied political careers of any graduate of the University of Huddersfield.
He told how the Baroness, currently a Minister of State for the Home Office, has been involved in local government, regional devolution and economic regeneration and she has served as a Government whip in the House of Lords.
At the start of her career she worked as a nutritionist for a charity specialising in help and support for sufferers of multiple sclerosis.
But then – energised by a campaign to preserve grammar schooling in her district of Greater Manchester – she entered politics, and in 1998 she was elected as a Conservative to Trafford Council.
When the Conservatives won control of Trafford Council, Susan Williams was its leader between 2004 and 2009.
In 2010, she stood for Parliament, in the Labour marginal of Bolton West, losing by just 92 votes, after six recounts. But her campaign and her performance in local government led new Prime Minister David Cameron to invite her to join the House of Lords, as Baroness Williams of Trafford.