As part of Lee’s Homecoming festivities, the university honored its newest honorary alumnus of the year, Mr. Andy Sinclair.
Mr. Sinclair is the managing director and head of business development for Tynedale Group Travel in Haltwhistle, a small town in Northumberland, England.
While introducing him as the honoree, Lee President Paul Conn said of Mr. Sinclair, “Through his connection to Lee with the global perspectives student trips, Sinclair has helped students and faculty to travel abroad by finding good deals on hotels and transportation. He works with faculty to plan trips and to assist in monitoring the safety and well-being of the students.
"Instead of sending his staff to assist Lee students on their global perspectives trips, Mr. Sinclair has become personally involved with them and made sure that their needs were addressed. Lee students who have developed relationships with Sinclair speak of him as a great friend and father figure. They recognize that he is someone who truly cares about the students at Lee.”
Dr. Conn shared some of the sentiments expressed by Lee students about Mr. Sinclair:
- “It was evident from the beginning that he truly cared about all of us, far beyond having a responsibility for his job to take care of us. Everything he planned for us was amazing. He is clearly great at his job.”
- “He's dad. Andy really looks out for us as though we're his own kids. He's always willing to give great advice and help with any problems. He genuinely wants to make sure we have a good time, while at the same time wanting to be sure were learning and soaking in as much culture as we can.”
- “He not only went above and beyond to make our trip unforgettable and outstanding, but he proved to be a true friend to us.”
Mr. Sinclair was raised in the tiny village of Greenhead, and his first job, at the age of 16, was on a sheep farm. After a few years, he went to work part time for his stepfather, who ran a business driving coaches and buses for school transportation. Sinclair eventually took over the business and began operating the coaches on behalf of tour companies, re-inventing the company as a tour operator with its own coach fleet. His first tour for Lee was in 1998 on Dr. Robert Barnett’s trip to England and Scotland.
Currently, TGT Group Travel operates 60 to 70 tours throughout the UK and Europe, in addition to sporting commitments that include team coaches, chauffeur vehicles, and helicopter or other private aircraft transport. In 2010, Mr. Sinclair was voted UK coach manager of the year. In 2012, TGT Group Travel was voted Coach Operator of the Year. Both awards came from RouteOne, a premiere travel magazine for the UK.