Welsh Health Minister becomes University Honorary Fellow
Edwina Hart MBE, Welsh Assembly Member for Gower and Minister for Health and Social Services, was honoured by Swansea University today (Friday, July 18), when she received an Honorary Fellowship.
Mrs Hart, who was born, raised and still lives in Gowerton, was elected as both the youngest and the first female president of the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU, now part of Unite) and was also Chair of the Wales TUC. She was awarded the MBE for trade union services in 1998.
She was elected to the first Assembly in 1999, and became Finance Secretary. In 2000, her role changed to include responsibility for local government, when she became Minister for Finance and Local Government.
She also shared responsibility with the Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, for the design and construction of the Senedd building.
Mrs Hart has served as a member of the Broadcasting Council for Wales, the Wales Millennium Centre, the South West Wales Economic Forum, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, and as Non-Executive Director of Chwarae Teg.
She took on the newly-created Social Justice portfolio after the 2003 Assembly election and became the Assembly's first Social Justice and Regeneration Minister, tasked with bringing the different strands of antipoverty work together.
In 2007, after being elected to serve a third four-year term, she became the Minister for Health and Social Services and within the first few months of taking office she embarked on a major rationalisation of the NHS in Wales.
Her main interest is politics, especially equal opportunities and economic development, but she also has a particular interest in veterans' issues.
Her father was in the RAF and her mother was a WREN and that family military connection has been carried on by Mrs Hart, in her role as the Cabinet's armed forces liaison in Wales.
Mrs Hart retains strong links with Swansea and Swansea University and is proud of the University's high academic standards and its contribution to the local economy.
Speaking after receiving the Fellowship award during a degree ceremony for the School of Environment and Society, she said: "I’m pleased and honoured to receive this Fellowship from Swansea University. It's a very special day for me and my family."
Swansea University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard B Davies, said: "Edwina Hart has a special affiliation with Swansea and a strong interest in the University's activities and its contributions to the local community and economy, including the successful delivery of the Medical School and the Institute of Life Science.
"Throughout her prolific career Edwina has demonstrated a phenomenal drive and commitment not only to raising aspirations in Wales but, in her Ministerial roles, to making things happen. We applaud her approach which could be characterised as: if it is worth doing, it is worth doing now.
"Her contribution to the NHS will have a long-term impact on health and medical care in Wales, and her devotion to Swansea means it is only fitting that she is the recipient of an Honorary Fellowship award from this University today."
For more information about Swansea University Graduation Week and this year's Honorary Fellows, click here.