July 16, 2012

Summer 2012's honorary graduates

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/

graduating studentsIt’s summer graduation time again. This week Warwick final year students are congregating in the Art Centre’s Butterworth Hall to receive their degree certificates and celebrate their achievements with friends and family. Graduating alongside them with honorary degrees will be 13 men and women who are distinguished in their chosen careers.

The University awards honorary degrees twice a year to individuals who have made a significant contribution in their field. Whether known for art or acting, physics or photography, or engineering or education, these graduates are awarded honorary degrees for their service to the University or community.

Who decides who Warwick awards honorary degrees to? It’s the University’s Honorary Degrees Committee’s job to debate nominations on behalf of the University Senate. All members of the Council, the Senate and heads of academic and administrative departments are invited once each year to submit names for the committee’s consideration. The council then invites approved individuals on behalf of the Senate to receive an honorary degree. The nominated person receives either an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Science; an honorary degree of Master of Arts and Master of Science; or the Chancellor’s Medal, an award for an exceptional contribution to the University’s work and development.

The Knowledge Centre will be featuring interviews with this year’s cohort of honorary graduates to find out how they made it in their professions and what advice they have for this year’s graduates. Children’s literature and film aficionados will recognise David Bradley, a celebrated character actor best known more recently for his role of Hogwarts’ caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter series. Theatre-goers will know David Edgar, a political playwright more recent works Albert Speer (2000) and Playing with Fire (2005), both of which premiered at the Royal National Theatre. Both Davids will receive an honorary DLitt.

Football fans may remember the footwork of 1970s Liverpool player Steve Heighway. He began his football career in non-league football whilst completing his economics degree at Warwick. Heighway left Anfield in 1981 after 475 matches and 76 goals, before returning in 1989 to run their youth academy. He will receive an honorary MA.

Warwick 1976 maths graduate Sir Bob Kerslake went on from being President of the Students Union to a career in local and national government. In 2012 he became Head of the Civil Service. And Dr Alan Reece brought more than £400 million worth of business to the north-east of England as founder of Pearson Engineering Limited (PEL). Dr Reece is keen to promote engineering education in the UK and is a supporter of the Smallpeice Trust, a Leamington Spa-based charity dedicated to increasing awareness of careers in engineering among 10 to 18 year olds. He is adding an honorary DSc to his list of qualifications.

See the honorary graduates press release for a full list of honorary graduates and their awards. There’s a full list of honorary graduates on the alumni website. Listen to interviews with summer 2011’s honorary graduates on the Knowledge Centre.

Interviews with this year’s honorary graduates will be published on the Knowledge Centre soon. Watch this space!

Penelope Jenkins, Online Writer

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