James Gibson Fleming is Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset and a passionate ambassador for the county. Born in Dorset, he is a Trustee of the Talbot Village Trust, a Vice-President of the Weldmar Hospice Care Trust, and was previously a Trustee of Cancer Care Dorset. He is dedicated to bringing superfast broadband to rural areas and encouraging investment in Dorset. Bournemouth University is proud to award him an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration.
His long association with the town and in particular with the Talbot Village Trust gives James a unique perspective on Bournemouth University.
“Bournemouth University is definitely on the up. You only have to see what’s going on at the campuses to see what a fantastic expansion is going on and investment in the future. Obviously today it looks like a very slick machine and it’s very impressive to be observing it and be part of it.”
As a businessman with a keen interest in local business and development, James is very optimistic about Bournemouth and the future development and investment in the town.
“I’m here because I’m very involved with the University and with the Talbot project and that is a very exciting project where we have collaborated with the two boroughs, the two universities, and the land owning charitable trust that owns all the land around the campus. We are looking not only to facilitate the growth of what everybody is seeing at the Talbot Campus but to create an innovation centre and to harness the enormous energy and world class of people and brains that come through university and to keep them here in Bournemouth and incubate them in Bournemouth. We believe that what Stamford University did with a desert in Silicon Valley in the 1950’s we can help to do here for the future of this IT revolution that we’re experiencing.”
BU’s Talbot Campus and the continuing development of the site is of particular interest to James who is able to offer an intriguing historical angle on the work.
“It’s very exciting. The Talbot Village Trust was started by two spinster ladies in Victorian times and they bought an 800 acre farm. How clever they were with the selection of their farm that a university sits flat in the middle of it - along with their village! That vision they had was born out of charitable intents and they wanted hard working people who didn’t have opportunities to be given resources to help themselves and to prosper. This is a perpetuation of their wish – that we not only give quite a lot of money away to good causes in Bournemouth and Poole but that we also see education and the prosperity of this region as being a major beneficiary of the charities. What better way of doing that then with the Talbot project.”
An experienced businessman, James has some wise words for graduates and a message for the future.
“Play the long game and to look for the longer future. Don’t worry about short term media and knee jerk reactions. Look at the long game. And we’re here to make Bournemouth part of a really successful long game.”