Tony Rich, 1954-2012

July 26, 2012

A registrar who was "admired and respected throughout the sector", and who played an important role in the professional development of non-academic staff, has died.

Tony Rich was born in Norfolk on 26 October 1954, and studied history at the University of Manchester before obtaining his postgraduate certificate in education. He completed a PhD in Manchester's department of government in 1983.

After a short spell working for the Longman Group, a publisher, he joined the University of Warwick, where he progressed to the post of assistant registrar.

He then moved via the University of Sheffield to the University of East Anglia, where he was academic registrar from 1991 to 1999, before joining the University of Essex.

The university underwent a period of significant growth during his 12 years at Essex as registrar and secretary, and Dr Rich played a pivotal role in developing its partnership with South Essex College and, subsequently, the university's Southend Campus.

He also was instrumental in establishing, with UEA, University Campus Suffolk.

He was passionately committed to the professional development of staff and made a significant contribution to the Association of University Administrators, serving the maximum two terms on its executive committee.

Jonathan Nicholls, registrary at the University of Cambridge, worked alongside Dr Rich at Warwick and said he was a "highly gifted" professional as well as a "very, very dear friend".

"I just keep meeting people who said that Tony changed their professional lives," Dr Nicholls said.

During his career, Dr Rich served as chair of the 1994 Group registrars' group and Southern Universities Management Services, as well as contributing to the Association of Heads of University Administration.

He was awarded an honorary degree by Essex earlier this year, an event attended by senior academics and administrators from around the country.

Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of the University of Essex, said: "Tony was admired and respected throughout the sector as an exemplary registrar and secretary, and he made an immense contribution both to the university and to the broader community."

Dr Rich left Essex in July 2011 to become registrar and chief operating officer at the University of Bristol, but took medical retirement after a diagnosis of incurable cancer.

When the seriousness of Dr Rich's illness became known, Dr Nicholls ran the 2012 London Marathon, raising more than £15,000 for the University of Bristol's Cancer Research Fund.

Dr Rich died on 17 July. He is survived by his wife Cheryl, sons Chris and Joe and daughter Hannah.

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