TRIBUTES have been paid to the former principal of what is now the University of Worcester, Dorma Urwin OBE, who has passed away.
She was the principal of the then University College Worcester from 1992 to December 2002.
Her time at the college was one of most positive change and development. In 1997 she led the College to earn Taught Degree Awarding Powers and thus secure well-deserved University College status. She commissioned the building of innovative new facilities, including a sports hall, digital arts centre, drama studio and new halls of residence.
She also oversaw the successful integration of the former College of Nursing into the College and was deservedly made an OBE for her services to higher education.
Professor David Green CBE, her successor at the University, said: “We were all very sad to learn of the passing of Dorma Urwin. The flags at the University have been flown at half-mast as a symbol of our sorrow at this news.
“Dorma was very well known throughout higher education and was known at the college for her kindness as well as her devotion to education and inclusion. Her passion for education, student success and the College was both completely clear and powerfully strong.”
When Dorma left the xollege she and her husband, Tony, retired first to Devon and then to France. Staff and former students have shared their reflections and memories, to help mark and celebrate the profound contribution that Dorma made to the development of what is now the University of Worcester.
Sian Hobday, head of vice chancellor’s office and secretary to the University Leadership Group, said: “I consider myself privileged to have worked alongside Dorma Urwin as her personal assistant throughout her 10 years at Worcester. As well as being an inspirational, charismatic and visionary leader, she was caring, sensitive and approachable, with a great sense of humour.”
Anne Hannaford, Director of Arts and Culture, said: “Dorma was a wonderful role model, and someone I greatly admired and liked. She had great dignity and presence in her role as principal, so much so that I found myself feeling a little in awe of her when I first started.
“As I came to know her better however, that feeling changed into respect and warmth, and developed into a relationship that I truly valued.”
Dick Bryant, former Vice Principal of the then college, added: “Many colleagues, including those still currently working at the University, who knew her well from personal contact, will remember Dorma for her inspiration, vision, enthusiasm, and an ability to motivate colleagues in all their various roles in the College.
“Warmth, humour and approachability were hallmarks of her leadership.”