Tribute to Michael Richardson


We were saddened to learn of the passing of Michael (Mike) Richardson on Saturday 19th September 2020.  To those of you who knew Mike well we offer our condolences and remember the tremendous work he did for UALL.  Our thanks to Dick Taylor for this fitting tribute to Mike:

Michael (Mike) Richardson, who died on 19 September 2020, aged 81, was Secretary of UALL (formerly UACE-the Universities Association for Continuing Education) from 1998 to 2002. These were turbulent years for both the Association and for adult education generally.  The effects of ‘accreditation’ and the threats this posed not only for the financial viability of dedicated departments of university adult education, but also for the provision of liberal adult education, were profound. The Association was, too, still grappling with the coming together into a unified sector of the pre and post 1992 HEIs with their very different cultures of adult education and lifelong learning.

To this challenging environment, Mike brought his consummate skills as an experienced, diplomatic but principled and determined adult educator. Throughout his period in office, Mike’s diligence and political nous was of great benefit to the Association.

Mike had been involved in UALL and its predecessor organisations for many years. He had a 21 year involvement with the Open University, culminating in his appointment as Pro-Vice-Chancellor.  He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the OU in 1994. In 1990 he was appointed as Director of what was then the Board of Extramural Studies at Cambridge (now the Institute of Continuing Education), a post he was to hold until his retirement in 2003. At Cambridge he led a series of innovative developments, including bringing much of the CE programme into a recognised credit framework, thus considerably enhancing the status of Cambridge’s provision, both within and outside the University. He also took forward successfully a major building programme at Madingley, instigated by his predecessor, Michael Allen, which added greatly to the residential capacity of this invaluable and unique place. In the wider University, he was inter alia a popular and respected Fellow of Wolfson College.

As the ICE obituary notice remarks: ‘Mike is warmly remembered as a highly able, astute and personable leader. He was a brilliant public speaker and always struck the right note when engaging with colleagues at Madingley and across the Collegiate University.’ The same could be said of his UALL contributions.

He will be much missed and remembered with great affection by many people in the adult education world, not only in Britain but in the international organisations in which he was actively involved.

Dick Taylor
UACE  Secretary, 1994-98

More can be read on the Institute of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) website here 


Kind regards


Verity Hilton
Communications and Media support