A professor of education, a “theologian of reality” and a granddad-of-four has been made an OBE.
Henry Ellington, an emeritus professor of The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Graduating in 1963 with first class honours from both Robert Gordon’s College and Aberdeen University in natural philosophy (physics) he later progressed his knowledge in an external PhD in plasma physics.
He even captained a team in the then new TV show University Challenge the same year he graduated, which he today described as “miserable” – blaming their English literature expert’s stage fright for their “hammering”.
The 81-year-old went on to work as a research scientist at Harwell’s in Didcott before returning to Aberdeen to become a secondary teacher.
However, after just two terms at Aberdeen Academy he realised it was not the career for him as it was not challenging enough.
A lecturer’s post was advertised at RGU, and he seized the chance – going on to become the longest-serving member of staff with 56 years of service.
Prof Ellington worked as a lecturer for seven years before becoming head of the educational teaching unit – a job that would take him all over the world, including Nigeria, where he set up innovative pathways into the oil industry for students.
Be ‘brilliant’ at what you do
Today, he encouraged people not to stick with their first job they try saying it took him four until he found one he was “brilliant” at.
In 1984, he helped to set up a science education body SATRO in Aberdeen, the precursor of TechFest. He served on the board of directors for 28 years, until 2012.
He was also elected as a Burgess of Guild of the City and Royal Burgh in Aberdeen in “recognition of his outstanding record of service to the local community” in 2017.
Prof Ellington – a former chairman of the Association for Education and Training Technology – encouraged others to “think big” when talking about his honour.
“Think big, you don’t realise your own potential,” he said. “If you aim for the stars you can probably get there.”
At the age of 79, Mr Ellington said he wrote his “final – and most important – book during Covid lockdown” titled The Nature of Reality.
The couple had two children, Kenneth and Pamela, and four grandchildren.