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Jack Fielder: In memory of a Hertfordshire educator

PUBLISHED: 14:12 24 July 2010 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 February 2013

Jack Fielder

Jack Fielder

To commemorate a devotion to learning and teaching in Hertfordshire, Steve Corbett tells how a university scholarship is honouring the memory of soldier, Councillor and Doctor of Law, Lt Col Jack Fielder

STUDENTS hoping to one day become teachers have much reason to thank former Army and intelligence officer Lt Col Jack Fielder. Highly respected for his notable military and political careers, Jack, who lived in Much Hadham, sadly died on September 24, 2006. But, thanks to the work he did in the field of education in the county, his memory and influence will continue to live on.
The University of Hertfordshire has now established a scholarship fund in Jack's memory. A veteran of World War II, Jack served in Normandy and was a Regular Army Officer for the Dorset Regiment and Intelligence Corps, retiring from duty in 1969. Elected to Hertfordshire County Council, he went on to become leader of his political group and chairman of the further education committee.
It was in 1981 that Jack became a Governor of Hatfield Polytechnic and he played a major role in the smooth development from polytechnic to the University of Hertfordshire in 1992.
The Fielder Centre, one of the university's key conference facilities, was opened in his name in 1993 and in 2005 Jack received an Honorary Doctor of Law degree for his contribution to the development of education in the area. On receiving his degree in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban two years ago, Jack confirmed that 'My major interest has always been vocational education
and training.'
To acknowledge Jack's contribution to education, and to continue in the spirit of his work, the Jack Fielder Scholarship will be awarded to high-performing undergraduates in the area of teacher education. In connection with Hertfordshire County Council, the university aims to raise 25,000 to establish a scholarship endowment fund to support future generations of academically gifted students.
The university has a successful track record of securing funding for scholarships and has one of the most active scholarship programmes in the UK. The programme offers financial rewards to exceptional students to assist them with the cost of studying at university. It also gives companies, organisations and individuals the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of talented individuals who are our future carers, creators and innovators.
The University of Hertfordshire has more than 125 students who are supported by its scholarship programme to date, spanning disciplines as diverse as marketing, music, computer science, sport, social work, palliative care and astrophysics, to name but a few. These are all sponsored through the generosity of a broad spectrum of donors, from Tesco, T-Mobile and Clydesdale Bank, to local companies such as Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Brocket Hall and Willmott Dixon.
Last year Antonio Portas came to Hertfordshire from Portugal to study his Masters degree in Astrophysics and was awarded the scholarship supported by Queen guitarist and Doctor of Astrophysics, Brian May. When told of his success, Antonio admits he was taken aback. 'I couldn't believe it, and felt daunted and flattered at the same time,' he says. 'It was also reassuring to know that my hard work had paid off, and that I was being awarded for my efforts.' Dr May, who like Jack, also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire, says, 'The pure pursuit of knowledge is stimulating and rewarding to all mankind - I am proud to help this work continue to flourish.'
Receiving a scholarship has also made a huge difference to current Tesco marketing scholar, Natana Sandy, who will be undertaking a work placement at their head office in Cheshunt next year. 'I am from a single parent family and have one brother and three sisters, one of whom is also at university,' she explains. 'When I heard the news I was completely overwhelmed and couldn't believe what I was hearing. I called my Mum straight away and she was so proud of me.'
The proposal to establish a new scholarship in Lt Col Fielder's memory was welcomed by Jack's wife, Kathleen Fielder, who, along with other members of the family, made the first donations to officially establish the fund in March. Since then, the generosity of friends, family and colleagues has seen the fund reach nearly 10,000.
Professor Tim Wilson, the Vice Chancellor of the university has shown utmost support for the fund, saying, 'The scholarship will be a fitting acknowledgement to an individual who was committed to developing education in the county and to the University of Hertfordshire. The fund will ensure that the important work carried out by Jack is remembered and celebrated for generations.'

Article taken from November issue of Hertfordshire Life

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