Swansea University honours academic, politician and footballer, Professor Laura

Swansea University has awarded an honorary degree to academic, politician and footballer, Professor Laura McAllister.

Professor McAllister was presented with the award today (Thursday 21 July) at Swansea University during the graduation ceremony for the College of Engineering.  

Professor Laura McAllisterEducated at Bryntirion Comprehensive School, the London School of Economics and Cardiff University, where she earned her PhD, Laura McAllister is now Professor of Governance at the University of Liverpool’s School of Management, and a Visiting Professor not only at Cardiff but also at universities in Australia and China.

In her twenties she became involved in the politics of Wales, twice standing as a candidate for Plaid Cymru. But the advent of democratic devolution in 1999 saw a different demand for her expertise. She was a member of the Richard Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly, noted for the quality and clarity of its seminal report. She also chaired an expert group on diversity in local government and was a valued Trustee of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.

The conditions under which politicians work have been shaped by her input to the Independent Panel on AM’s Pay and Support and later the National Assembly’s Remuneration Board.

She is passionate about gender equality, social justice and equal opportunities – especially in sport. She has captained the Welsh national team, winning 24 caps in the process.  She won official recognition for the women’s game in 1992 and Wales’s first participation in the women’s UEFA Championship a year later.

As Chair of the Sports Council of Wales she made an unmistakable mark, insisting, very effectively, on the contribution of sport not just to the winning of medals but to health, education, and social cohesion.

Presenting the award to Professor McAllister was Mr Geraint Talfan Davies, who said: “If ever you wanted to pull the rug out from under that old caricature of academics as the inhabitants of ivory towers, you could not do better than look at the total engagement of Professor Laura McAllister in her own community, and her contribution of higher education to society.”