When the history of the establishment of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol is written, Professor Ioan Williams will have a prominent place in the chronology. He was involved in various national fora concerned with Welsh-medium university education and was an unstinting advocate for the Welsh language at Aberystwyth University as Director of the School of Welsh-medium Studies.
He also played a crucial role in the development of the PhD scholarship scheme launched in 2005 to sponsor a new generation of academics who could teach and research through the medium of Welsh. Ioan Williams was an enthusiastic advocate for ensuring parity of recognition for Welsh-medium research and publication, and it was his vision that led to the establishment of Gwerddon, now the academic journal of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which celebrated its tenth issue last year. He has edited Gwerddon from the outset and has continued with this work since retiring as Head of the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth in 2008. A native of Ebbw Vale, Ioan Williams spent over forty years lecturing at universities in England and Wales. After a period at Warwick University he returned to Wales in the late seventies, mainly so that he and his wife Margaret could raise their five children in a Welsh-speaking community in Lledrod, Ceredigion. His publications include a full edition of the plays of Saunders Lewis and a study of the Drama Movement in Wales 1880-1940. He is also currently Chair of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Board of Directors.