The University of Leicester is to confer an honorary degree on Jonathan Castleman, Group Managing Director of Leicester-based Norman & Underwood, the oldest architectural metal roofing and glazing company in the country.
One of ten distinguished individuals of local, national and international standing to be honoured by the University, Jonathan will receive his honorary degree at a ceremony today at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester. The Leicester Honorands are drawn from the worlds of business and industry, local and national politics, art, academia, and the media, and they include one of the nation's favourite broadcasters, Sir Terry Wogan.
Jonathan Castleman represents the 7th generation in the family firm of Norman & Underwood, which he joined in 1982 as an apprentice plumber, becoming Divisional Director (2000-2006), Main Board Director (2002-date) and Group Managing Director in 2006.
Jonathan's particular interest is in ecclesiastical and heritage projects, and prestigious projects in which he has been involved include: The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem; British Embassies in Moscow and Korea; the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Hong Kong; Bermuda Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral; Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, Chequers, Petworth House, Chatsworth House and Lancaster House. He is very keen to keep skills in the industry high and is particularly interested in the works of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), English Heritage and other conservators of heritage.
Commenting on receiving an honorary degree from the University of Leicester, Jonathan says: “I am truly delighted to be receiving the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science and would like to thank the University of Leicester for giving me such a tremendous Honour.
“I started life at the 'family firm' as a 15 year old teenager, not knowing what challenges lay ahead of me. Having now completed 28 years' service with the company, I can definitely say my time at the company has been eventful, taking me to buildings and places all over the UK and across the world, which I would have never had the chance of doing otherwise. I feel very lucky to have worked on some of the world's most prestigious buildings, from Canterbury Cathedral one week, to Westminster Abbey the next. I am extremely proud that I have contributed in some way to looking after our Heritage, something I am extremely grateful and thankful for.
“In order for our skills to continue, training for the future is so important to me and something I have great passion for. Certainly our company will continue to promote apprenticeships so that our next generation can learn the different skills from 'today's' craftsmen and women: they too can then be trusted to work on such fine buildings to protect the internal fabric of our wonderful heritage, so it is to these craftspeople that I dedicate this Honour.”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Sir Robert Burgess says: "We are delighted to honour such a distinguished group of people, some of whom have worked closely with the University while others have brought distinction to the region and in their various fields. All of them are an inspiration to our students."