As former student of Kingston University, he was given this honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to horticulture and the local community.
Squire studied architecture at the University’s predecessor, the Kingston School of Art, in the 1950s before leaving to work full time in the family business with his father. Squire’s Garden Centres was founded by D.J. Squire in 1936 as a landscaping and nursery business, but it was his son Colin who established the first garden centre in Twickenham in 1964.
There are now 15 Squire’s Garden Centres across Surrey, Middlesex, Berkshire and West Sussex, employing more than 700 people, and this year the company is celebrating 80 years in the horticultureindustry.
Over this period, Squire – who also celebrates his 80th birthday this month and was garden retail lifetime achievement award winner in 2010 – has served on the board of trustees of a number of local organisations and charities, supported many local ‘In Bloom’ initiatives and been involved in all 26 RHS Hampton Court Flower Shows.
He said: "Being honoured by the institution where I studied more than 55 years ago was a particularly moving experience. I am very humbled and also very proud to be given this honorary doctorate."
Colin also offered some advice for University graduates embarking on their careers; "Success, even in uncertain times, can be achieved with commitment, perseverance and hard work," he said. "Maintain high ethical standards, never forgetting that we should try – in whatever field we work in – to give back to society help where it is needed."
Kingston University's Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law Ron Tuninga, who presented the award, said the honorary doctorate reflected both Colin Squire’s extensive horticultural expertise and his tireless charity work: "Colin Squire is an example of how an entrepreneurial spirit can reap benefits for the wider community. He has successfully expanded his business while remaining true to its family-run traditions and is a tireless advocate of local charities and organisations, including Kingston University. We are very fortunate to be able to acknowledge Colin’s outstanding contribution to both with this award."