News | 25 April 2022
Kirsty Williams CBE, the former leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats who served as Minister of Education in the Welsh Government from 2016 to 2021, has been presented with an honorary doctorate by Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Ms Williams, a member of the Senedd from 1999 until 2021, received her degree on Monday (25 April) in a ceremony at the Wales Millennium Centre alongside other former Cardiff Met students graduating from 2021.
While some universities opted for virtual graduation ceremonies during the Covid-19 pandemic, Cardiff Met – having canvassed student opinion – felt this would be too much of a compromise.
As a result, those who graduated in 2020 and 2021 have been receiving their degrees at ceremonies taking place at the Wales Millennium Centre over the course of this month (April).
As she received her doctorate, Ms Williams congratulated the Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy class of 2021, for their achievements. She said: “Those who are graduating today have shown the utmost resilience. Not since the Second World War has education been disrupted as much.
“I am so pleased to be with future teachers and future youth workers here today. It is the most joyous thing I have witnessed in the past two years.”
Ms Williams served as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from December 2008 until May 2016, then subsequently in an acting capacity from June 2017 to November 2017.
She was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013 for public and political service.
Ms Williams stood down as the Liberal Democrat MS for Brecon and Radnorshire in 2021 and has spoken publicly about the threats of physical harm and online abuse she received while serving in the public eye.
During the Covid-19 pandemic she was at the heart of decision-making in the Welsh Government, announcing the closure of schools in March 2020.
“I think Covid made us all re-evaluate our lives, what’s important, what we really value,” she said in the wake of stepping down.
While her passion for politics remains, Ms Williams maintains it was the right decision to stand down when she did. “I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a period of adjustment, but I was very clear that once you’d left, you had to leave it behind completely. I had 22 amazing years. That’s a long time for anybody. It’s time to say I did that, I’m proud of what I did, but it’s time now to think about doing something else.”
Ms Williams has since become advisory board chair of Taith, Wales’ international learning exchange programme.