Messages of congratulations have been flooding in for Gazelle group of colleges chief executive Fintan Donohue, who was awarded an OBE for services to further education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mr Donohue, 60, of St Leonard’s Close said he was “thrilled and very honoured by the recognition” but felt the award should be shared with all the people he works with and who have invested in him over the years.
The father-of-two is passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship and leadership in young people.
He set up Gazelle three years ago, with backing from the private sector and industry.
“We wanted to develop a new approach to learning and further education,” he explained. “We have more than 200,000 students in the UK and have built a big network of social entrepreneurs who work with young people to raise awareness of how they can become more enterprising.”
Mr Donohue, who hails from Moy in County Tyrone, came to the UK in 1976 and was principal chief executive at North Herts College before starting Gazelle, which has rapidly grown from an initial five colleges to the current 23.
The former law lecturer said: “We’re seeking to expand the company on both the profit and not-for-profit sides. We’re looking to develop into the public health service to enable leaders in the organisation to get tip top training.
“We’re also hoping to expand into the US, particularly the east coast.”
Mr Donohue, whose wife Colette is head teacher at Bishop Parkway in Bletchley, is planning to take on a more strategic role in future.