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A large collection of philosophy books has been generously donated to Continuing and Professional Education by the late Dr Meredydd Evans (1919–2015). Merêd (as he was known) was a renowned figure in Welsh cultural life, making significant contributions in the fields of folk music, language, broadcasting, politics and philosophy. From 1973 to 1985 Merêd taught at Cardiff University for an earlier incarnation of Continuing & Professional Education, and the following tribute – written by his daughter – offers a fascinating insight into his lifelong passion for adult education, and also highlights Cardiff’s long established history of providing continuing education courses for the public.
Dr Meredydd Evans (1919–2015)
Adult Education was Meredydd Evans’ first love and over a long and varied career, he organised and taught classes for adults at Coleg Harlech (1947–50) and the Extra Mural Departments of both Bangor (1960–3) and Cardiff (1973–85) universities.
Merêd was born into a slate quarrying family in Tanygrisiau and was the youngest of 11 children, of whom 6 survived. He left school at the age of 14, when his father became ill with Silicosis, and went to work in the local Co-op in Blaenau Ffestiniog. It was there that he first came across formal adult education in the guise of the courses run by the Co-operative College. However informal adult and youth education through the local Chapels had been an important part of his life right from his earliest years.
In September 1940 Merêd, having decided to become a CM minister, gained a place at Coleg Rhyl where he took his Welsh Matriculation exams for entry to university. He started his degree course at Bangor in 1941 and graduated with a first class honours degree in 1945. Having decided a few years earlier that he was not suited for the Ministry, he turned his attention to adult education.
In 1952 he moved to the USA after being awarded a fellowship at Princeton to do a doctorate in Philosophy, gaining his degree in 1955. From Princeton, he joined the Philosophy Department of Boston University and taught there until his return to Wales in 1960 when he joined the Extra Mural Department of his old college in Bangor.
Following a period of 10 years, from 1963 to 1973, working for the BBC as Head of Light Entertainment at BBC Wales, he returned to adult education, joining the Extra Mural Department of Cardiff University. He retired from this job in 1985.
During his time at Cardiff, he was responsible for the provision of adult classes and organised a wide range of these throughout south-east Wales, including Caerffili, Llantarnam, Aberdâr, Efail Isaf, Y Bontfaen, Casnewydd, Aberhonddu, and y Barri a Chaerdydd.
A range of topics were offered including Welsh literature (both poetry and prose), history, traditional customs, caneuon gwerin Cymraeg and philosophy – all through the medium of Welsh. This range was expanded to include Welsh for Adults classes through from the Wlpan to Gloywi’r Gymraeg, enabling learners to access the language at the level most appropriate to their ability and confidence.
Although he did a great deal of teaching himself, one of Merêd’s greatest gifts was his ability to persuade men and women who were pre-eminent in their field to teach courses for the Department. Among these were people such as Trefor M. Owen, T. Gwynn Jones (‘Gwynn Corwen’), Phyllis Kinney, J. Gwynfor Jones, Morfudd E. Owen, W.J. Jones and Harri Pritchard Jones.
Following his retirement, Merêd continued to research and publish as well as campaign for access to Welsh medium education at all levels, right up until his death, at the age of 95, in February 2015.
The philosophy book collection is currently housed in Room E0.16 and is open for all continuing education students to inspect and enjoy.
Our next philosophy course The Moral of the Story begins on 4th April 2016.
Mae casgliad mawr o lyfrau athroniaeth wedi cael eu cyflwyno fel rhodd hael i’r adran Addysg Barhaus a Phroffesiynol gan y diweddar Dr Meredydd Evans (1919-2015). Roedd Merêd yn adnabyddus iawn ym mywyd diwylliannol Cymru, gan gyfrannu’n sylweddol at feysydd cerddoriaeth werin, iaith, darlledu, gwleidyddiaeth ac athroniaeth. Bu’n addysgu ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd rhwng 1973 a 1985, mewn adran sy’n rhagflaenydd i’r adran Addysg Barhaus a Phroffesiynol hon. Mae’r deyrnged ganlynol, a ysgrifennwyd gan ei ferch, yn rhoi cipolwg diddorol ar ei frwdfrydedd o ran addysg i oedolion. Mae’n tynnu sylw hefyd at hanes hir-sefydlog Caerdydd o ran darparu cyrsiau addysg barhaus ar gyfer y cyhoedd.
Addysg gydol oes oedd byd Meredydd Evans, a thros yrfa hir ac amrywiol, trefnodd ac addysgodd ddosbarthiadau i oedolion yng Ngholeg Harlech (1947-1950) ac Adrannau Efrydiau Allanol Prifysgol Bangor (1960-1963) a Phrifysgol Caerdydd (1973-1985).
Ganwyd Merêd i un o deuluoedd chwarel Tanygrisiau, yr ieuengaf o 11 o blant; o’r rhain, chwech yn unig fu fyw. Gadawodd yr ysgol yn 14 oed, â’i dad yn dioddef o silicosis, ac aeth i weithio yn y Co-op lleol ym Mlaenau Ffestiniog. Yno, daeth ar draws addysg ffurfiol i oedolion am y tro cyntaf, drwy gyrsiau a gynhaliwyd gan y Coleg Cydweithredol. Fodd bynnag, bu addysg anffurfiol i oedolion a’r ieuenctid, drwy gapeli lleol, yn rhan bwysig o’i fywyd ers ei flynyddoedd cynharaf.
Ym mis Medi 1940, ar ôl penderfynu dod yn weinidog, enillodd Merêd le yng Ngholeg y Rhyl, lle y bu iddo sefyll ei Arholiadau Mynediad i’r Brifysgol. Dechreuodd ei gwrs gradd ym Mangor ym 1941, a graddiodd gyda gradd anrhydedd dosbarth cyntaf ym 1945. Ar ôl penderfynu rai blynyddoedd yn gynharach nad oedd yn addas ar gyfer y Weinidogaeth, trodd ei sylw at addysg i oedolion.
Ym 1952, symudodd i UDA ar ôl iddo dderbyn cymrodoriaeth yn Princeton i wneud doethuriaeth mewn Athroniaeth, gan ennill ei radd ym 1955. O Princeton, ymunodd ag Adran Athroniaeth Prifysgol Boston, a bu’n dysgu yno nes iddo ddychwelyd i Gymru ym 1960, i ymuno â’r Adran Efrydiau Allanol yn ei hen goleg ym Mangor.
Ar ôl 10 mlynedd (1963-1973) yn gweithio fel Pennaeth Adloniant Ysgafn BBC Cymru, dychwelodd at faes addysg i oedolion, gan ymuno ag Adran Efrydiau Allanol Prifysgol Caerdydd. Ymddeolodd o’r swydd hon ym 1985.
Yn ystod ei gyfnod yng Nghaerdydd, roedd yn gyfrifol am ddarparu dosbarthiadau i oedolion, a threfnodd ystod eang o’r rhain ledled de-ddwyrain Cymru, gan gynnwys yng Nghaerffili, Llantarnam, Aberdâr, Efail Isaf, y Bont-faen, Casnewydd, Aberhonddu, y Barri a Chaerdydd.
Mae ein cwrs athroniaeth nesaf The Moral of the Story yn dechrau ar 4 Ebrill 2016.
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Unless otherwise stated, the views contained within this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cardiff University.