Award of the Society of Cymmodorion’s Medal to Emeritus Professor R Geraint Gruffydd FLSW FBA

Awarded for the first time in 1883, the Medal of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion provides formal recognition of the distinguished contribution many individuals have given to Wales in different walks of life. On the obverse of each medal is the coat of arms of the Society and its motto Cared doeth yr encilion and on the reverse, in Welsh, the words Wales and all things great, wise and holy.

 At a ceremony (arranged in co-operation with the Friends of The National Library of Wales) to be held in the Drwm at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, on Saturday 15 February 2014 at 2.00 pm, Professor Dafydd Johnston, the current director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth, will be presenting the Medal, on behalf of the Society, to Emeritus Professor R Geraint Gruffydd who, during his career, has held three notable offices, namely Chair of Welsh language and literature at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth between 1970 and 1979, Librarian of the National Library from 1980 to 1985 and subsequently, until 1993, as Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies.

A scholar of Welsh language and literature, Professor Gruffydd is a graduate of Bangor University and of Jesus College Oxford and served on the staff of the Welsh department at Bangor until 1970.  His published work has included a wide range of subjects in all periods of Welsh literature, starting with his analysis of the earliest Welsh poetry, principally through the work of Dafydd ap Gwilym, and continuing through the Methodist hymn-writer, William Williams of Pantycelyn and many twentieth century writers such as Saunders Lewis. As an editor of Welsh poetry texts, he was general editor of the Cyfres Beirdd y Tywysogion series and has contributed to various volumes in that series and in the Cyfres Beirdd yr Uchelwyr series.

The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies opened its doors in 1985 and Professor Gruffydd was appointed Director and joined by five other members of staff. As general editor, he was responsible for the publication completed soon after his retirement in 1993 in seven volumes, of the first project of the Centre, the Poets of the Princes, in which the surviving poetry of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was edited and which provided a wealth of information about the development of the Welsh language and literature during that time.

Appointed a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991, he has, since his formal retirement in 1993, continued to make a substantial contribution to Welsh academic life.  He was President of the International Congress of Celtic Studies for ten years and also served as Vice-Principal of University of Wales, Aberystwyth. In 1999 he became consultant editor of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru while, more recently, he was appointed a founding fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

The Medal will be presented to Professor Gruffydd in recognition of his notable contribution to learning and scholarship and to Wales. Along the rim will be engraved in Welsh the words:

Cyflwynedig i’r Athro R.Geraint Gruffydd FBA am ei gyfraniad nodedig i ddysg ac ysgolheictod ac i Gymru

 The English translation is:

Presented to Professor R Geraint Gruffydd FBA for his notable contribution to learning and scholarship and to Wales

 Further information:  Peter Jeffreys, Honorary Secretary, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion.


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