Royal Norfolk Show chief 'privileged and humbled' to receive honorary degree from UEA
PUBLISHED: 14:16 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:29 23 October 2019
A driving force behind the Royal Norfolk Show and a champion of the county's agricultural industry has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Greg Smith, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), received the accolade at the annual Easton and Otley College graduation ceremony, at the campus outside Norwich.
During his speech, he praised his family, friends and colleagues and paid a special tribute to his wife Rebecca before congratulating all of the graduates on their achievements and giving them all some life advice. He said: "Trust yourself, don't be afraid to make mistakes, but learn from them and move on.
"Don't be afraid to be successful and sprinkle success wherever you go, be kind and have fun."
He concluded by thanking the UEA and Easton and Otley College for "bestowing me this honour", adding: "I feel deeply privileged and very humbled. This means so very much to me."
Mr Smith, who received his honorary doctorate of civil law from Prof Mark Searcey from the UEA, also thanked college principal Jane Townsend and her staff who he said "had worked tirelessly for the benefit of the college and students". He then discussed how important the future of land-based education is to East Anglia.
Ms Townsend said: "Greg has been a prominent friend of the college and he is passionate about educating the next generation of the food and farming industry. We feel very fortunate to have someone of his calibre working with us and we are delighted to be honouring him in this way."
Before becoming chief executive of the RNAA in 2012, Mr Smith worked as a market research consultant and was managing director of Ipsos MORI until 2009.
He was also a member of the Army Reserve from 1981-2016, becoming two-star policy lead for reserve forces and youth in the Ministry of Defence - the UK's senior reservist.
As well as his current role overseeing events at the Norfolk Showground he is also chairman of Active Norfolk, a member of the Norfolk and Suffolk Agri-Food Industry Council and a governor at Norwich School, where he studied in his youth.
The graduation ceremony at Easton and Otley College also awarded higher education qualifications to 94 people, and a series of special awards including student of the year, which was won by 24-year-old Phoebe Russell from Kings Lynn.