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The Outstanding Achievement award aims to recognise an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the economy at a local or regional level.
The judges took into account factors including enterprise, innovation, job creation and the impact the efforts of the individual or organisation has had on the business sector, the local and regional economy and the wider community.
This award is made at the discretion of the judges and was not open to direct entries.
Dave Muller and Richard Lister
Dave Muller, for many years principal of Suffolk New College, and Richard Lister, vice-chancellor of the University of Suffolk, are jointly recognised for their key roles in the project leading up to the establishment of the university last year as a stand-alone institution.
Announcing the award, EADT editor Terry Hunt said: “August 1, 2016, was a truly momentous day for Suffolk.
“It was the day on which, at long last, our county could proudly say it had its own, fully independent university. It was the day when the University of Suffolk came into being. No longer is Suffolk burdened with the tag of being one of the very few English counties without a university.
“Less than a year later, these are obviously still very early days, but we know very well the positive impacts our university will have on so many aspects of life in our county.
“It will raise the bar as far as educational aspiration among our young people is concerned. It will help to stop the damaging ‘brain drain’ of talented youngsters who leave Suffolk to study and never return.
“It will boost the local economy by many millions of pounds each year. It will be pivotal in the renaissance of Ipswich, already making good progress under the Ipswich Vision banner. And it will be a focus of great pride for everyone who is passionate about the very best of Suffolk.
“The creation of the university of Suffolk on August 1 last year was the realisation of a dream for many people. It followed years, decades even, of hard work, overcoming setbacks and obstacles, against what sometimes appeared to be overwhelming odds.
“Many people played a big part in bring that dream to reality, and I would like to make a special mention at this point of the late James Hehir, who was so important in the early years of the university project. Jim’s passion and determination for it to happen was vital.
“But tonight we are recognising the towering contributions of two very special people. Without their vision, passion, determination and single-mindedness, I believe it’s fair to say that Suffolk might still not have its own independent university.
“Everyone in our county really does owe a huge debt of gratitude to these two men, who are truly founding fathers of the University of Suffolk.”