Lord Williams's first duties as Chancellor were to award honorary doctorates, not only to Warren Gatland but also to Wales's First Minister, the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation; and the Honourable Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, Presiding Judge for Wales.
Speaking about his award, Gatland said, "Few people realise that I started out my working life in the field of education. Having taught for ten years in my native New Zealand, I learnt just how important education is in transforming the lives of those who engage with the opportunities it presents. For me, higher education is all about providing a grounding for life and a way of looking at the world which enables individuals to meet the challenges of a career, whatever that may be.
"Universities are now, more than ever, opening up opportunities for their students which didn't exist in the past. Students are given the flexibility to gain experiences outside of their academic study, which provide a stepping stone to employment when they graduate. at forward thinking institutions, work placements and access to live projects are now part and parcel of higher education level courses, which means that graduates leave with much more than the academic qualifications on their certificates."
Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales Professor Julie Lydon said, "The installation of a Chancellor is, of course, a moment of great academic ceremony, but it is also a fundamental reassertion of our values. As part of this celebration, it is important that we are able to honour the work of some outstanding individuals, and we are privileged to make this award to Wales's First Minister."
Gatland continued, "The Welsh rugby Union has a long association with the University of South Wales and I am thrilled to be joining my Chief executive Roger Lewis and team Captain Sam Warburton as a recipient of an honorary award from this rising institution.??"The University has become a hub for expertise in elite sport; from sports psychologists and sports scientists to those who specialise in sporting industries. It is a great asset for me to be able to tap into the expertise at the University and to benefit from the knowledge of its academics. this sharing of ideas and the open dialogue we have with academia is critical to developing our skills and knowledge base as a squad. As an honorary Doctor of the University, I look forward to seeing this partnership develop even further in the future."