West Nottinghamshire College’s long-standing chair of governors Jean Hardy MBE has stepped down after more than 20 years’ service.
The 60-year-old has retired after 21 years on the college board – with the past 17 spent as chair – to devote more time to her family and passion for travelling throughout Europe with husband Robin.
She also plans to become a frequent visitor to Australia when GP son Simon and wife Joyce emigrate in April so that Simon can take up his new position at a doctors’ surgery in Port Lincoln. The couple are also expecting their first child in February.
In 2011 Jean, from Little Carlton, was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to education.
She said: “Robin and I are really looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild and expect to spend quite a lot of time in Australia over the next few years, as well as enjoying more travel in our motorhome.”
Originally from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, Jean joined the college’s board of governors in 1992.
She became chair four years later – the youngest in the country at the time, and one of only two women to hold the role within a college.
One of her first acts upon becoming chair of governors was ensuring the board was run “more like a business”.
“In those days, the chair of governors at colleges were mostly retired men in suits, so being one of only two women certainly attracted some attention,” she said.
“At the time it was quite unusual – as was taking on the role at a relatively young age – but it was never an issue for me.
“We went from having very long meetings once a term to short, monthly business meetings – and we tried to conduct the business within an hour.”
Jean will be succeeded by current vice-chair Nevil Croston, a partner at Bryan and Armstrong Solicitors.
Fellow governor Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for economic regeneration at Mansfield District Council, becomes vice-chair.
Principal and chief executive, Asha Khemka OBE, said: “Jean has served the college and the local community with distinction.
“I remain indebted to her for the support she has given me but also for the incredible contribution she has made over such a long period of time. I wish Jean a happy and well-earned retirement.”