Museum chief Leigh-Anne Stradeski awarded honorary degree by Leeds Met
With a wealth of experience in the children's museum sector in North America, coupled with more than 10 years at the helm of Eureka! - based in Halifax - Leigh-Anne is a highly respected voice on the issues regarding museum development, informal play-based learning and wider issues regarding the importance of play within child development.
Leigh-Anne was awarded her Honorary Doctorate in Education for her contribution to education and to the region. She commented: "Receiving this award today means an awful lot to me because we've had a partnership with this University for many years, and the award recognises the role that Eureka! has in the region helping children learn about themselves.
"The best thing about being at the helm of Eureka! is really the opportunity to see so any children - over six million so far - come through our doors, learn, grow up and move on to do wonderful things."
Also a Trustree at Eureka! since 2003, Leigh-Anne's proactive roles with both the Association of Science & Discovery Centres and the Association of Children's Museums give her a broad perspective on developments within the children's museum sector.
Leigh-Anne was awarded Voluntary Sector Director of the Year for Yorkshire and Humber by the Institute of Directors in 2006 and, in 2010, received an Inspiration Award from Calderdale Community College. A great believer in the importance and power of community, Leigh-Anne is Immediate Past Chairman of the Community Foundation for Calderdale and a current trustee of the Next Step Trust.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan include: mosque leader Qari Asim, who has worked tirelessly to build bridges between communities in Leeds since the 7/7 terror attacks; Managing Director at the helm of the Wakefield-based organisation Group Rhodes, Mark Ridgway OBE, DL, who oversees the group's seven engineering companies; award-winning artist and Leeds Metropolitan graduate, Charlotte Harris, whose work is featured in the collection of London's National Portrait Gallery; Hanif Malik, founder and Chief Executive of the Hamara Healthy Living Centre - the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds; chart-toppers and Leeds Met graduates Piers Aggett and Kesi Dryden, who make up half of the award-winning group Rudimental; Coronation Street boss, Stuart Blackburn; former professional road racing cyclist and national champion, Sid Barras and Mark Herman, the director of critically-acclaimed films, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Brassed Off.
Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: "Thanks to Leigh-Anne's commitment and vision to making the museum experience as accessible as possible, every year thousands of children continue to have their minds opened and learning experience enhanced when they visit Eureka!. Leigh-Anne's dedication to the museum's evolvement is in fact so strong that she and her family embarked on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, raising more than £1,800 towards the redevelopment of the venue's most iconic gallery. We look forward to seeing Leigh-Anne's continued innovation come to life at Eureka!."