Alumni engagement and philanthropy

DSc (Econ) for ‘exceptional’ Foundation Board member 

Queen's Foundation Board member, Edward Vernon, will be donning his finest academic robes when he steps up for an honorary DSc during the University's Graduation Week.

Ed Vernon graduated from Queen's in 1981 with a BSc in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and again in 1982 with an MSc in Electronic Engineering. Currently Chair of the University's Riddel Hall Founders’ Club he was appointed to the board of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners in 2012.

Ed has had a highly successful career in local business spanning almost 30 years. In 1984, after his first ‘real job’ in the Wolfson Unit - an industrial design operation at Queen’s - he co-founded B.I.C. Systems which went on to become a leading technology systems integration business. The company was acquired by BT plc in 2004, by which stage it was highly profitable and employed over 200 people. 

In 1997, Ed joined the board of the NI Software Industry Federation, holding the position of Chairman from 1999 - 2000 and remaining a board member until November 2004. In 1999, he led a Strategy Development Group which produced a landmark plan for development of the ICT sector in Northern Ireland. He received the British Computer Society IT Professional of the Year award in 2002, the Institute of Directors’ award of Excellence in 2005 and in the same year became an inaugural member of Invest Northern Ireland's Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. 

A former board member of Invest Northern Ireland, the IOD Northern Ireland Committee, the CBI Northern Ireland Council and former member of Matrix serving as Chair of the Matrix ICT Panel, Ed was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2012 in recognition of services to economic development.

He is currently Chief Executive of Synetecs, Chairman of Macildowie, and Strategic Advisor to BT Ireland. Ed also leads the Asset Management Group of the Strategic Investment Bureau reporting to the Office of the First and deputy First Minister.

In his spare time Ed likes walking in the Mournes, riding high-powered motorcycles and, occasionally, restoring classic Yamaha and Kawasaki bikes from the 70s. An ardent Manchester United fan he travels over to Old Trafford on a regular basis.

Ed will be presented with his Honorary Degree on Friday 5 July, alongside Dr Len O'Hagan CBE DL.


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