Port Vale owner scores honorary degree for services to the community
The owner of Port Vale Football Club described the timing of her honorary degree from Keele University as a welcome distraction from the twists and turns of the club’s promotion push.
Carol Shanahan OBE took a break from studying the League Two table to become an honorary Doctor of the University alongside hundreds of students at this year’s graduation ceremonies, the first to be held on campus in over two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carol received an OBE in 2020 for services to the community in Stoke-on-Trent. She is the founder and trustee of the Hubb Foundation – a charity based in the Potteries which operates from schools and community centres, supporting children and their families with food and activities during school holidays. It has delivered more than 170,000 meals to families in need across the city.
She said: "We had been working with children and families during the holiday period for a few years and the MP for the area at the time asked me if I would help because she needed some evidence to show there was a need for support, which we all knew there was. It was my first step into anything like that but it became apparent very quickly if you wanted to make real social change, you had to have academic rigour and we didn’t have that.
"Around the same time, I attended an open day for the Institute for Social Inclusion at Keele and their values and what they were trying to achieve were exactly the same as mine, so between us we knew we could work together. I’m very pleased to be part of the Keele journey and I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with the Institute, which I think is incredible."
Carol, who is also co-owner of successful business Synectics Solutions, said she felt humbled to receive the award – and told graduating students they had the ability to "change the world".
She said: "For a person who only got one O Level, this is a very humbling and wonderful experience. I couldn’t have done what these students have. I’d love to be academic but I just don’t have the discipline to study and apply myself like these graduates. When I went to college I ended up on the national committee for the NUS but I was organising gigs, I was running the bar, basically doing all sorts but not studying. I really admire what these students have achieved – they can go on and change the world with the skills they have picked up from Keele."
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