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Honorary graduates

How we recognise outstanding achievement

We celebrate our alumni and other talented individuals through awarding Honorary Degrees. We recognise achievement at the highest level as well as our honorary graduates' dedication to public duty and making a difference to the lives of others.

  • 2023 honorary graduates

    • Don Letts

      A London-born artist of Jamaican heritage, Don’s career began in the mid Seventies when he started selling jukeboxes and unique fashion pieces from his store in Kings Road, Chelsea. Acme Attraction soon became famous for its deep dub soundtrack provided by Don’s extensive vinyl collection and its influential following of musicians including The Clash, Sex Pistols, Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and one of Don’s heroes and friends – Bob Marley. Don was credited as being the DJ that introduced reggae to the emerging punk rock scene and produced a film documenting the revolutionary period ‘The Punk Rock Movie’ in 1977. This laid the foundations for a career as a respected international artist, social commentator and documenter of cultural movements.

      Don, who grew up in Brixton, was a co-founder of the highly successful and innovative band Big Audio Dynamite and is seen as a world-leader in creating music which fuses punk, rap and reggae. He has directed more than 300 music videos and made documentaries featuring Gil Scot-Heron, The Jam, Sun Ra, George Clinton and Paul McCartney. In 2003 Don won a Grammy for his documentary ‘Westway to the World’ and in 2007 produced 'Speakers Corner', a contemporary response to the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, in conjunction with the British Arts Council.

      Don Letts’s cross-media body of work, inspired by the synergy of ideas, has seen him lauded across the world. He’s been exhibited at The Kitchen New York , The Institute of Contemporary Art, and the National Film Theatre  in London, and honoured at both Brooklyn’s BAM festival and The Milan Film festival and recently at the highly acclaimed 2023 Saatchi gallery ‘Beyond the Streets’ exhibition. He hosts his own show Culture Clash Radio on 6 Music. Whatever medium he chooses, Don is driven by a spirit of collaboration and seeks to encourage and promote culture to enrich people’s lives.

      Don Letts at

    • Lord Mann of Holbeck Moor

      Lord Mann has always believed in equality and championing transparency in public life. The dedicated trade unionist and Labour activist was elected as MP for Bassetlaw in 2001 and one of his earliest campaigns called for improved treatment of heroin users, who were encouraged to seek treatment from specially trained GPs. As a result, the number of users undertaking treatment in Bassetlaw rose from two to more than 400, and habit related crimes fell by 75 per cent.

      Lord Mann has also taken a strong stance on tackling racism and from 2004 to 2019 chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism. He was later appointed as His Majesty’s Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism (HMGIAA) by Theresa May. Through this role Lord Mann regularly reports to the Secretary of State, relevant Department Ministers and officials to highlight issues from the Jewish Community and update them on the HMGIAA work plan.

      Using his platform as an independent member of the House of Lords, Lord Mann strongly believes that society must remain vigilant to ensure every individual can enjoy freedom from persecution. His work has focused on several areas of civic life in which antisemitism has taken root – including on University campuses. There’s also an international aspect to his role, and earlier in 2023 Lord Mann visited Washington DC where he briefed the US Presidential taskforce at The White House.

    • Martin Taylor

      Following a career in senior finance and leadership roles, Martin Taylor worked tirelessly as a member of the Board of Governors and as Director of International (Mauritius) Ltd since 2012. He was appointed as an independent co-opted member of the audit committee before joining the full Board as a governor in June 2013. Martin became Deputy Chair of the Board and Chair of both the Finance Committee and the Remuneration Committee in September 2016, and at the same time joined the Board of the Joint Venture covering the Mauritius campus. He stepped down in July 2023, but was pleased to have been asked to join a small group of Pro Chancellors who support the Chancellor and assist with MDX’s wider engagement responsibilities.

      Martin has had a distinguished career in business with a focus on finance, management and consultancy work with major companies worldwide, including Inchcape plc, the international automotive distribution and retail Group. At Inchcape he held roles as Chair/Managing Director of Toyota Greece and Toyota Belgium, living in both countries with his family, before becoming CEO Europe, Africa and South America.

      Martin then moved on to build a ‘portfolio career’ which includes the use of his background in finance and business to support causes important to him. In particular, in 2012, he became a founding Trustee and Chair of Befrienders Worldwide, now an independent registered charity which previously operated as the international division of Samaritans. Having stepped down after 9 years as Chair, he re-joined Befrienders Worldwide as Trustee and Board Treasurer in November 2021, a position which he continues to hold today. Martin was Chairperson of Befrienders Worldwide, a charity that helps people in emotional crisis or distress, or those close to them, until March 2021. He rejoined the Charity's Board in November 2021 as Treasurer. He was also Chairperson of Infinity Health, a digital platform for health and social care staff, until the end of 2022.

      Martin Taylor

    • Sharon Grant OBE

      Sharon Grant, OBE, the Chair of the Board of Public Voice, an important social enterprise specialising in community and user engagement in health and social care, has dedicated her life to the causes of social change, inclusivity and cultural opportunity. Sharon has lived in Haringey, North London for over 45 years and her many achievements span a broad spectrum of activities, including contributions to public health, social care, consumer representation, inclusive political engagement and the sponsorship of the arts in her community. Her many skillsets are driven by a single desire to give a voice to all levels of society and create an environment where every individual is given a chance to shine.

      Sharon started out as a university lecturer in social policy. She moved from academic world to become a local councillor, in Haringey, and then run the parliamentary office of the late Bernie Grant MP, who she later married, standing side-by-side with her husband for over 13 years on his dedicated path to demand change across his Tottenham seat and for overlooked communities across London and internationally. After his death Sharon moved to widen her work, becoming Chair of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health in 2002-2008, then Chair of London Travelwatch between 2008 and 2012.

      Over the same period she worked to achieve her late husband’s dream of an arts centre and in 2007 the £15m Bernie Grant Arts Centre was opened to provide a multi-disciplinary arts and enterprise space, bringing together culturally diverse artists and a gateway to fresh opportunities. Sharon remains a Trustee and Secretary of the Centre, which recently achieved national portfolio funding from the Arts Council. As Chair of Haringey Citizen’s Advice service from 2007-2015, Sharon helped individuals get the help and support they needed, across health, social care and consumer representation. In 2013 she was senior parliamentary advisor for an enquiry into the hospital complaints system. Sharon was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2014 for services to the arts and the community.

      These are still issues close to her heart as she is currently on the board of the Council of Consumers Association, ‘Which?’. In 2014 she was the founding Chair of Public Voice, a community interest company which aims to make change by listening to those who use public services, and bringing their voice, especially of patients and social care users to policy makers. In this capacity, in recent years Sharon has built a strong relationship with and formalised a promising partnership with Public Voice with a Memorandum of Understanding in 2022. This has led to a collaboration with researchers, focusing on the issues that need to be addressed to give marginalised members of the community a platform for change. The goal is to develop a model that translates to communities across the UK and further afield.

    • Baroness Watkins of Tavistock

      It's no exaggeration to say that Baroness Watkins has had an extraordinary impact on raising the profile and importance of the nursing profession both in the UK and on the international stage. Her career started at the Wolfson School of Nursing, then Westminster Hospital and a period at South London and Maudsley Nursing School, before obtaining her PhD from King’s College London in 1985. It was during these formative years that Mary developed a keen appreciation of the invaluable role nursing plays in the coherent functioning of a caring society.

      Excelling in roles across clinical practice, education, research and leadership, Baroness Watkins has spent a lifetime championing healthcare equity for every individual – a cause we are quick to celebrate as it chimes closely with our University’s continuing vision to create healthier communities across the globe. In recognition of her dedication to healthcare, she was created Baroness of Tavistock in 2015 and now sits in the Lords as a crossbencher. 2019 saw her further honoured with a fellowship of The Royal College of Nursing.

      With an indefatigable energy and sense of purpose, it’s no surprise that Mary currently holds a number of pivotal posts that are helping shape and evolve nursing for the demands of the 21st century. As President of the Florence Nightingale Foundation and a visiting professor at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative care at King’s College London, Mary is at the forefront of raising standards across all levels of healthcare. She was also the alternate chair of Nursing Now, which led to her helping produce the World Health Organisation’s important State of the World Nursing report in 2020. This paper significantly raised the profile of nursing, helping the profession form a unified global movement and strengthen its ability to influence international policymakers.

      Closer to home, Baroness Watkins has led policy and debate in Parliament to ensure that mental health nursing in England has the support it needs. Support that’s essential to meet the ever growing demands of a healthcare sector that continues to expand with increased knowledge of its complexities. This important work includes a focus on addiction and mental health through a cross-party group on Alcohol Harm and drug use in universities.

    • Professor Dame Carol Black

      Professor Dame Carol Black has played many important roles in a multi-layered career as a clinician, scientist, administrator, and reformer. She is very well known for the Centre she established at the Royal Free Hospital in London to generate research and improve treatment of scleroderma (rare but frequently fatal) and other connective tissue diseases. She became President of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2002, only the second woman to hold that post in the College’s 500-year history, and was made a Dame in 2006. She has been a life-long champion of women in medicine, and a passionate advocate for workplace health as vital to the entire population’s wellbeing and to our sustainable future.

      A child of working-class parents, Carol took a degree in History at Bristol before she realised that it was medicine she wanted to pursue, a path by no means smooth. After a year on the Voluntary Service Overseas scheme on islands in the West Pacific Ocean, she came to medicine in Bristol at the age of 25. Following “a light bulb moment” in 2004, Dame Carol developed a growing interest in the social determinants of health, particularly employment and worklessness, and became deeply involved with social aspects of medicine.

      As National Director for Health and Work, she provided independent leadership for a new 5-year-funded cross-government Health, Work and Wellbeing agenda, and authored two influential independent reviews for government, on the health of the working-age population, and on sickness absence in Britain. In 2012 she became an Expert Adviser to the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England, where she authored an important independent review for government on the employment outcomes of addiction to drugs or alcohol and obesity.

      In 2021, her latest independent review for government, on illicit drugs, provided concrete suggestions for improvement of treatment and recovery from addiction. This has informed a new 10-year anti-drug strategy, adopted and funded by the government, and now being implemented nationally. Today Dame Carol is a special advisor to Universities UK’s Student Drugs Taskforce, with a remit to understand the demand for, and use of, drugs by the nation’s students, focusing on tackling issues around drug use and providing support for recovery and wellbeing.

      For several years Dame Carol has chaired the board of Think Ahead, the fast-track training programme, funded by DHSC, for graduates to become Mental Health Social Workers. is proud to be the academic partner on this much-needed programme, now into its sixth cohort of 160 trainees. Beyond the world of medicine and healthcare, in 2018 Dame Carol was appointed Chair of the board of the British Library. With art and culture being increasingly viewed as important for the mental wellbeing of individuals and wider society, this noble institution could have no more fitting custodian.

    • Philippa Perry

      Philippa Perry is an alumna and old friend of the University, having studied Fine Art here in the 1990s and graduating with a 2:1. She also studied at the Metanoia Institute affiliated with and was an examiner for viva examinations for the Integrative Psychotherapy MSc course there for many years.

      Philippa’s journey into the world of psychology began in 1985 when she trained and volunteered for The Samaritans. This gave her experience of the trials and tribulations of the human condition, inspiring her to work in the mental health field for over 20 years as an integrative psychotherapist. She made it her mission to share the wisdom of psychological theories and research to a wider audience and has written and broadcast radio and television documentaries on subjects such as Bipolar Disorder, Humiliation, Desire, Story Telling, Lying, When Parents Split, Surrealist Art and most recently co-presented Grayson’s Art Club which came about to get people making art during the pandemic.

      As well as broadcasting Philippa has written books including Couch Fiction, which combined both art and therapy as it is a graphic novel about psychotherapy, and How To Stay Sane. Her international bestseller The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did has sold over two million copies and has helped many households to operate more harmoniously, and supported parents to make the best relationships they can with their children.

      Throughout her career there has always been a focus on how an individual’s state of mind permeates and steers everyday life, with practical advice on how we can all work to look after our own – and our loved ones’ – mental health. She has a weekly advice column in the Observer Magazine that continues this work.

    • Bianca Jagger

      In the field of human rights, few have made the long-standing contribution or achieved the lasting influence of Bianca Jagger – a force of nature whose dynamic personality continues to generate effective changes globally. Born in Nicaragua in 1950, Bianca won a scholarship from the French government to study at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies and became fascinated by the forces and movements that shape lives and determine individual outcomes.

      It was here that Bianca first encountered the teachings of Gandhi and his belief in non-violent protest, an introduction to Eastern philosophy which would underpin much of her future thinking. It was, however, Ms Jagger’s mother – discriminated against for being a divorced, working woman in a patriarchal society – who most influenced her outlook of the world. Bianca has shown unwavering commitment to speaking up for women’s rights, campaigning tirelessly to end violence against women and girls, not least to stamp out female genital mutilation.

      In the 70s and 80s Bianca led a well-documented high-profile lifestyle, associating with world renowned figures such as Andy Warhol all the while amplifying the voice of the most vulnerable. A global fashion icon, and mother to daughter Jade from her then marriage to Mick Jagger and a grandmother to Amba, Assisi and Ray and great-grandmother to Ezra, Romy and River, she has never lost sight of social injustices. A number of experiences then firmly set Bianca’s life on a new path, defending victims of human rights violations and fighting to shine a spotlight on communities facing extreme challenges with no voice of their own. Bianca has since used her profile on the world stage to progress the causes she believes in.

      In a 1979 visit to Nicaragua with the International Red Cross and was shocked by the brutality and oppression perpetrated by the Somoza regime. In 1981 Bianca was part of a US delegation to Honduras and came face-to-face with a death squad leading a group of refugees towards the El Salvador border. The delegation felt compelled to intervene and confronted the would-be executors with cries of “You’ll have to kill us all”. In a tense stand-off the squad relented and the captives were released. The world saw how, armed with courage, humanity prevailed. To this day, Bianca has continued to fight for meaningful change. She has made significant contributions to international campaigns against the death penalty, crimes against humanity, and to the defence of indigenous peoples, including the Yanomami of Brazil.

      In 2005 she founded the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation – of which she is still President – and has been a Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador since 2003. With strong ties to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross, it’s no surprise that Bianca has received many international awards – among them the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel prize. Her work has been recognised worldwide and Bianca has honorary doctorates from Stonehill College (1983), Simmons College (2008), the University of East London (2010), and Roehampton University (2017).

      Bianca remains committed to campaigning against human rights abuses  especially in Nicaragua. She has consistently called on the International community to take more of an active response action against the increasingly grave human rights violations and perilous conditions facing the Nicaraguan people. She has particularly focused this work around the plight of Bishop Álvarez Lagos who was who was condemned to 26 years and 4 months in prison earlier this year after refusing to board the flight to the United States to be deported. She continues to raise concerns about the political repression of the current Ortega regime, recently making a direct appeal to Pope Francis to intercede on behalf of Bishop Álvarez. A friend to our University, and a regular speaker at a range of events here – in current parlance, the very epitome of a positive ‘influencer’ – focused on civil rights and the agenda of fairness.

  • 2022 honorary graduates

    • Christopher Raeburn

      Christopher is a pioneer of sustainability in fashion design, bringing responsible design to a global audience and presenting a new definition of luxury with integrity. Before graduating from the Royal College of Art, Christopher had studied BA Fashion Design at (2001-2004), which he has said paved the way for his 2009-founded company, RÆBURN.

      RÆBURN has pioneered the reworking of surplus fabrics and garments into elevated, award-winning products with distinct utilitarian value and purpose, across menswear, womenswear, luggage and accessories. The company's collaborative spirit is reflected in many partnerships, including with the likes of Moncler and Aesop. Christopher is seen as Timberland's 'Collaborator at Large’, continuously challenging the brand’s dedication to eco-innovation through The Earthkeepers® by RÆBURN collection. RÆBURN's Carnaby Store was awarded the most Sustainable Store Design in the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards 2022.

      Photo credit: Josef Mayfield

    • Carrie Grant MBE

      Carrie Grant MBE is a BAFTA award-winning broadcaster with a TV and music career spanning 40 years. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and an MBE in 2020 for her services to Music, Media & Charity. Carrie presents for The One Show and has the biggest selling vocal coaching book in the world. Together with her husband, David, Carrie presents BBC Radio London’s Saturday Breakfast Show.

      Carrie has worked with hundreds of companies and organisations as leadership coach and is studying for an MA in Theology at Durham University. She has also moderated Health Conferences globally and participates in many long-term panels and papers in Health and Education. Carrie is a Crohn’s Patient and Ambassador for Crohn’s & Colitis UK as well as ambassador for The Diana Award, The National Autistic Society and Adoption UK, and Patron of mental health charity Beyond. She has four children, one of whom was adopted. All have additional needs, two have autism.

    • Dame Judith Hackitt

      Dame Judith Hackitt is a former President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a Fellow and Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering. An engineer by training, throughout her career she has championed to importance of Engineering in delivering solutions which provide benefit to society and has been a role model particularly for young women wanting to enter the profession.

      Dame Judith, cares deeply about safety in the workplace and more broadly. From 2007 to 2016 she was Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and in 2017 conducted an Independent Review for UK Government into Building Regulations and Fire Safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Since publishing her final report in 2018 she has continued to press for regulatory change and for industry culture change and her recommendations for radical reform of the regulatory system recently received Royal Assent in the Building Safety Act 2022.

    • Brian Holliday

      Brian Holliday is Managing Director for Siemens Digital Industries and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is  co-chair of the Government and Industry, Made Smarter Commission and has held long-standing board positions at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Make UK.

      Brian, who started his career as an apprentice, holds a degree in Computer Systems and an Executive MBA, and is a graduate of the CBI’s Executive Leadership Programme. He is a member of the CBI’s Manufacturing Council and of Royal Society’s Science, Industry and Translation Committee, and has contributed to Parliamentary Select Committees and the manufacturing media on the topics of Education and Digital Manufacturing. Brian’s association with MDX began in 2017 when the UK’s first Cyber Factory training facility, which featured Siemen’s advanced automation technology, was installed at the University's Ritterman Building.

    • Sir Richard Alston CBE

      Educated at Eton, Croydon Art College and London Contemporary Dance School, in 1972 Sir Richard Alston CBE formed Strider, Britain’s first independent dance company. He was Ballet Rambert's Artistic Director from 1986 and in 1992 became Artistic Director of The Place, where he ran his own company for 25 years.

      Sir Richard was awarded the CBE in 2001 and a Knighthood in 2019. He is Chevalier dans L’ordre des Arts et Lettres and has received the Ninette De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement (Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards) and the Award for Excellence in International Dance by the International Theatre Institute. He is Chair of Dance Professionals Fund and former Chair of Youth Dance England (2009-2016).

      When he formed Strider, Sir Richard was supported by Wendy Cook and David Henshaw who were both involved in setting up the Dance department at . Decades later, he attended a lecture by Visiting Professor Sir Robert Cohan CBE, a formative figure in Sir Richard's creative life.

    • Caroline Paige

      Caroline Paige is a retired Royal Air Force (RAF) navigator with a thirty-five-year flying career that includes air defence fighter aircraft during the Cold War and troop helicopters in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In 1999, she became the first openly transgender officer to serve in the British Armed Forces. When she retired from the RAF in 2014, Caroline had won four commendations for ‘exceptional service’ on the frontline and as a trailblazer, helping shape diversity and inclusion in the military.

      Caroline champions LGBT+ inclusion in schools, universities, businesses, organisations, and the media. She is a Patron of Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation, a member of Liverpool Football Club’s LGBT+ Advisory Group, a Stonewall School Role Model, and Honorary President of No 472 (Hoylake and West Kirby) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets. Her autobiography 'True Colours' was published in 2017 and she is a co-author of the military LGBT+ anthology Fighting With Pride. In 2020, she won the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards’ Champion of Women Award. Caroline is Joint CEO of Fighting With Pride, a charity leading on the health and wellbeing support of LGBT+ veterans, serving personnel and families.

    • Lord Simon Woolley KT

      Lord Simon Woolley is the former Director and Co-founder of race equality organisation Operation Black Vote, whose 2017 'The Colour of Power' was the most in-depth look at the racial make-up of Britain’s top jobs across 389 sectors dominating British society. He is Principal of Homerton College, Cambridge University – the first Black man to hold such as post at either Oxford or Cambridge University.

      Simon has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords since 2019 and is the former Chair of the Government's Race Disparity Unit Advisory Group. He is Race Equality Advisor for organisations including CO-OP PLC and Saatchi and Saatchi, and played key roles in several COVID-19 Recovery commissions. He has been in the Black Powerlist for the last 10 years, is Trustee for Police Now, and co-founder and Trustee for Youth Futures Foundation, which helps get disadvantaged youths back into employment.

      In 2019, Lord Woolley received a Knighthood for his services to race equality and was created Baron Woolley of Woodford. A alumnus, Simon has said that his political activism and the life that he has today, as both a parliamentarian and as head of an Oxbridge college, all started at .

    • Professor David Croisdale-Appleby OBE

      Professor David Croisdale-Appleby OBE is a leading expert on health and social care, whose passionate commitment to transforming the life chances of oppressed, vulnerable and disadvantaged people has been hugely influential in shaping social policy, nationally and internationally. Throughout his life, David has led many public sector organisations in medicine, health and social care, social work, forensic science, and criminal and civil justice.

      Commissioned by the government, David wrote an independent review of social work education and created a programme of public lectures on the new Integrated Care Systems on which our future health service will be based. He chairs, among others, the Royal College of Physicians and the Clinical, the Public Health and the Social Care Advisory Committees which create National Guidelines at NICE.

      David’s association with began in 2019 as part of the Think Ahead programme of education for mental health social work. This rapidly expanded into involvement across the whole Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, including David giving a public lecture on The Integration of Health and Social Care.

  • 2019 honorary graduates

    • Maggie Appleton

      Maggie is CEO of the Royal Air Force Museum, one of the UK’s national museums with public sites in north London and the West Midlands. In 2018, the London site launched its major transformation to mark the Centenary of the RAF with a new emphasis on storytelling and engagement.

      With over 25 years’ experience in the cultural sector, Maggie is passionate about the difference that museums can make to people’s lives. Previous roles include Chief Executive of Luton Culture, the charity which comprises the museums, arts, libraries and community centres in the town, and museum roles in Luton, Stevenage and at the Royal Armouries.

      Maggie has served in public roles as a Committee Member for the Heritage Lottery Fund and as Co-Chair of the Women Leaders in Museums Network. She is currently President of the UK’s Museums Association and a member of the judging panel for the annual Museums and Heritage Awards.

      In 2012 Maggie was awarded the MBE for her services to Museums and Heritage and, in the same year, was included in the Independent on Sunday’s ‘Happy List’, its annual celebration of 100 people who make Britain a better and a happier place to live.

      She says, "Our visitors to the RAF Museum have benefited hugely from our relationship with . Learning and education are the keys to a civilised society and to lifting people from poverty and it is an absolute privilege and delight to be part of the family."

    • Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE

      Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann is responsible for overseeing all WorldSkills UK’s activities, working closely with our board of trustees and our stakeholders across the UK and internationally.

      Neil has been at WorldSkills UK since November 2015. Before joining WorldSkills UK, he was Deputy Director-General and Chief Operating Officer at the CBI, the UK’s premier business organisation. He worked for 12 years at the highest level of the business and government interface nationally and internationally on issues such as trade and investment, diversity, skills and employment, public service reform and energy, climate change and infrastructure development.

      Prior to his time at the CBI, he worked at global IT services provider EDS (now part of HP) advising on the employee relations implications of outsourcing, trade union relations, training and diversity across EMEA.

      Neil was also the former CE of OUTstanding, a business network for LGBT leaders and their allies, and deputy chair of Stonewall, the LGBT equality charity. He holds a PhD in race equality in the workplace and was awarded his OBE for services to equality in business in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List.

      He says, “It is a real honour to receive this award from . Over many years I have been impressed by the University’s commitment to the advancement of science and technology and its place at the forefront of combining academic teaching and technical education. I am therefore very proud that through WorldSkills UK’s long-standing partnership with the University we are working together to ensure that all students, irrespective of their background, are able to develop the confidence and world-class skills needed to help them succeed in work and life.”

    • Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji

      Judge Eboe-Osuji has been President of the Court since March 2018. He previously served in Trial Division from March 2012 to March 2018.

      Prior to joining the ICC, Judge Eboe-Osuji was the Legal Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, during which time he anchored the High Commissioner’s interventions in cases involving human rights questions. In that capacity, he led the writing of amicus curiae submissions to the European Court of Human Rights and the United States Supreme Court. He served as principal appeals counsel for the Prosecution in the Charles Taylor Case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and has held several posts at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, including Head of Chambers and Lead Prosecution Trial Counsel.

      He practiced law as a barrister before trial courts in Nigeria and Canada; and conducted appeals before the Court of Appeal for Ontario (Canada) and the Supreme Court of Canada.

      Judge Eboe-Osuji taught international criminal law as adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, Canada, and has an extensive record of legal scholarship and publications, including the books titled International Law and Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts, and Protecting Humanity (ed). He is the editor-in-chief of the Nigerian Yearbook of International Law. He served as legal expert to Nigeria’s delegation to the ICC-ASP Special Working Group on the Definition of the Crime of Aggression.

      He was called to the Bar in Nigeria (1986); Ontario, Canada (1992); and British Columbia, Canada (1982). He served as a pupil barrister and articled student-at-law under Chief Mike Ahamba SAN (of Ahamba & Associates, Owerri, Nigeria); Mr David W Scott QC (of Scott & Aylen, now Borden Lardner Gervais LLP, Ottawa, Canada); and, Dr Christopher Harvey QC (of Russell & DuMoulin, now Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver, Canada).

      Judge Eboe-Osuji received his PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (with thesis in international criminal law). He received his LLM degree from McGill University, Canada; and also did his Canadian law accreditation studies at McGill. He received the LLB degree from the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

      He says, "I am immensely humbled and very grateful to for conferring this honour on me. I can only promise to maintain it by sustaining the aptitude that made you think me worthy of consideration for such a high honour."

    • Rachel Ellison

      Rachel is an executive leadership coach, working with CEOs and emerging talent across the commercial, public and third sectors. From retail to refugee camps, logistics, electronics and diplomacy, to prisons, healthcare and non-governmental aid organisations, Rachel supports leaders wanting to dip beneath the surface to grow themselves and develop their teams.

      Rachel specialises in global organisations, including emerging economies and post-conflict zones such as Afghanistan, the former Soviet Union, Myanmar (Burma) and Kenya. Clients include HSBC, Samsung, M&S, Boots, the Foreign Office, the Ministry for International Trade, the NHS, UK Sport, UNICEF.

      A former BBC television news reporter and international development aid project director, Rachel has worked across more than 40 different cultures. Aged 36, she was awarded an MBE ‘for the promotion of human rights and the self-empowerment of women in Afghanistan’. Her team won BBC Team of the Year.

      Rachel champions greater diversity and sustainability at both an individual and systemic level. Her first book Global Leadership & Coaching – Flourishing under intense pressure at work [Routledge 2019] calls for higher ethics in leadership, for greater productivity, profit and joy in coming to work.

      Rachel read Psychology BSc. (Hons) at the University of Birmingham. She gained a Masters degree in Professional Executive Leadership Coaching with i-coach academy and .

      She is seen as a thought leader in the field of coaching and leadership. She is an international conference speaker and guest lecturer at Birkbeck University of London. She offers some of her time and expertise pro bono to charities including Whittington Babies, TAG International Development and Street Child.

      She says, "I feel deeply honoured to be recognised by – an institution which values informal, real-life learning as well as academic rigour. My advice to students, graduates and people wondering which path to take in the workplace or in study, is to listen to your energy. Follow the ideas, job or project which gives you most energy, rather than doing what you feel you ought to do, or what would look good to others. Be genuine, creative and innovative. Seek to collaborate and help others. I didn’t know I was going to write a book, nor become a contributor to my professional field of work. But this is what has emerged through hard work, the courage to be different and from the kindness of strangers who are now friends."

    • Betsy Gregory

      Betsy Gregory has worked in dance for more than 40 years, as a performer, teacher, rehearsal director, programmer, producer, mentor and artistic director.

      Trained at London Contemporary Dance School in the 70s, Betsy was one of the first generation of independent, contemporary dance artists in Britain, performing and teaching for many choreographers and companies, most notably as a founder member of Second Stride.

      In 1988, she was offered an Arts Council bursary to build her arts management skills and went on to work with John Ashford at The Place Theatre, first as Programme Manager and later, Associate Director. In 1997, she joined Dance Umbrella and in January 2007, succeeded Val Bourne as Artistic Director, a post she held until November 2013.

      Since then, she has continued to work on projects that interest and inspire her. These have included a return to the stage in 2014, performing at Sadler’s Wells in Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion’s Olivier Award nominated The Elders Project and subsequently, in 2017, in Annie-B Parson’s The Road Awaits Us. From 2015-17, she served as mentor to five dance artists as part of the EU-funded project Dancing Museums and, more recently, has facilitated meetings, workshops and panel discussions for European Dancehouse Network in Lemesos, Prague, Dresden, Bassano del Grappa and Budapest.

      In 2005 she was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for services to dance. Currently, she is a member of the board of Aerowaves, Chair of the Nottingham-based organisation, Dance4 and recently began work on the second iteration of Dancing Museums.

      She says, “I am honoured to have been awarded this degree by  University. As a working dance professional, it never dawned on me that my contribution might be recognised in this way, especially by a university with a dance department as highly regarded as ’s. I hope this example will be proof positive, for all the dancers who follow in future, that our hard work over many years is truly valued.”

    • Baroness Dido Harding

      Dido became Chair of NHS Improvement on 30 October 2017. She is Deputy Chair of The Court of The Bank of England and Chair of the Bank’s Remuneration Committee.

      She was Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC from 2010 to May 2017. Prior to TalkTalk, Dido was Sainsbury's convenience director, having been appointed to Sainsbury's operating board in March 2008. Dido joined Sainsbury's from Tesco PLC where she held a variety of senior roles both in the UK and international businesses. Prior to this, she worked at Kingfisher plc and Thomas Cook Limited where she gained considerable retail experience. She has also served on the boards of The British Land Company PLC and Cheltenham Racecourse. She is a member of the UK National Holocaust Foundation Board, a trustee of MyAgro an African social enterprise and a Steward of the Jockey Club.

      In August 2014, Dido was offered a Peerage and sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative Peer. She was appointed to the Economic Affairs Committee of the Lords in July 2017. Dido is married to politician John Penrose, has two children and in what spare time she has left is a jockey and racehorse owner.

    • Claire Murdoch CBE

      Claire has been the Chief Executive of Central and North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust since January 2007 and is also a registered Nurse.

      Over the past 35 plus years she has held a series of positions working in community and mental health, substance misuse and learning disabilities services. Claire joined CNWL as Director of Nursing and Operations in 1999. She has a keen interest in social policy and holds a first class honours degree in this area. In June 2016 she was appointed as National Mental Health Director at NHS England (NHSE) and has been working with the NHSE Mental Health Policy and Programme Team to deliver the 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health and more recently NHS England’s Long Term Plan.

      In July 2019 she took on responsibility as the Director with oversight of NHS England’s Learning disability programme. She was awarded a CBE in the 2019 New Year Honours list for Services to the NHS.

      She says, “I am very honoured to be recognised by the University in this way. I received a first class honours degree in Social Policy from the University in the early 90s, having studied four years part-time, whilst being a ward sister and matron, so this is a particular pleasure for me. Having spent 35 years in nursing, the importance of education along with compassion, skill and dedication are as important to the profession as ever.”

    • Lyn Romeo

      Lyn Romeo is the Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department of Health and Social Care and has been in that role since September 2013.

      Previously, Lyn worked as the Assistant Director for Adult Social Care in the London Borough of Camden. She has also worked as an inspector with the Social Services Inspectorate, as well as working in Yorkshire for over 20 years as both a field social worker and in a variety of management roles across children and adults.

      Lyn qualified as a social worker after completing a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales in Australia. After working as a hospital social worker, she came to the UK to travel and work and has worked in many different areas of social work over the last 40 years. She is committed to sustaining university based graduate social work qualifications and improving post qualification knowledge and professional development for social workers including strengthening research approaches in social work practice and growing the research capacity and evidence base in social work with adults especially in health and social care integrated approaches to supporting people to achieve the best possible lives.

      She is promoting a return to strengths based social work practice in working with individuals and communities and is keen to promote the role that social workers can play in utilizing community development and group work approaches alongside working with individuals and families, especially in addressing social isolation, loneliness and  working with the complexity of people’s lives in the 21 century.

      As Chief Social Worker for Adults, Lyn works collaboratively with the . Together they work from the Office of the Chief Social Worker to:

      • support and challenge the profession to ensure that children and adults get the best possible help from social workers
      • provide independent expert advice to ministers on social work reform, and the contribution of social work and social workers to policy implementation more generally
      • provide leadership and work with key leaders in the profession and wider sector to drive forward the improvement and reform programme for social work
      • challenge weak practice to achieve decisive improvements in the quality of social work
      • provide leadership to the network of principal social workers

      She says, “I am honoured to receive this doctorate from , which has a long tradition of educating social workers, especially in health related areas of social work practice including mental health social work. I am impressed that the university is taking the opportunity to ensure that social work practice is at the heart of working alongside people and communities to promote human rights, social justice and wellbeing for individuals and communities.”

    • Hayley Tatum

      Hayley Tatum started her retail career on the checkouts at Tesco. What was supposed to be a part-time job before University, turned into a career that has led her to the Board Room. She is now is responsible for the well-being and development of 146,000 colleagues at Asda as SVP - People.

      Hayley moved from the checkouts into a variety of supervisory and management roles at Tesco, before becoming HR Director for UK and Ireland. She made the swap from blue to green in 2011, when she joined Asda.

      Although Hayley’s ‘temp job’ at Tesco delayed her start at University by a few years, she now holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and a qualified NLP practitioner.

      Passionate about skills and education she has been a member of the Ambassadors Apprenticeship Network since 2007 and is a member and former chair of Business in the Community Employment & Skills Leadership team. She was appointed Non-Executive Director to the Cabinet Office and advisor to Department of Work and Pensions in November 2017, she Chairs the Asda LGBT group and is a trustee for charity Tommy’s.

      Hayley lives in Buckinghamshire, with her husband and two children.

      She says, "My relationship with began as a student and over the years has developed into a trusted learning partnership. I’m so proud that many of the current and future leaders I work with have also had the benefit with the team."

    • Gerard Woodward

      Gerard Woodward is a novelist, poet and short story writer. He is best known for his trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels concerning the troubled Jones family; the second of which, I’ll Go To Bed at Noon, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2004 and was recently included in The Sunday Times list of the 100 best novels of the 21st Century.

      Gerard studied Art and Design foundation course at Polytechnic before going on to study for a BA Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art. A radical change of direction led him to abandon this course and study social anthropology at London School of Economics instead.

      He has since published six novels, five collections of poetry and two collections of short stories. His poetry has earned him a Gregory Award, a Somerset Maugham award and two T.S.Eliot Prize shortlistings. Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘one of our finest writers’, his work often centres on the ironies and absurdities of everyday life, sometimes applying darkly surrealistic twists to otherwise ordinary situations.

      Gerard has won widespread acclaim for a body of work that now spans nearly thirty years. He is currently professor of creative writing at Bath Spa University.

      He says, "[The honorary award] is a source of great pleasure that the institution I left as an unknown but hopeful apprentice artist forty years ago has welcomed me back and given me this honour. The training I received on the foundation course opened my eyes to the world in a way that has been invaluable to me as a writer."

  • 2018 honorary graduates

    • Caroline Alexander

      Caroline graduated as a nurse in 1987 from Edinburgh University (BSc/RGN) and has an MSc in Nursing Studies from South Bank University (2001). Caroline took up her current role of Chief Nurse for Barts Health in March 2016. From 1987 to 1993, she specialised in nursing older people in Edinburgh and then London at Guy’s Hospital as a ward sister. Caroline then worked for the Foundation of Nursing Studies for three years supporting nurses to use research in practice.

      In 1998, Caroline returned to the NHS and worked in Tower Hamlets in a range of roles within older people’s services. In 2005, Caroline took up her first Director post as Director of Nursing and Therapies within Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust. With the clustering of Primary Care Trusts in London in 2011, she took on the Director of Nursing and Quality within NHS East London and the City initially, and then within NHS North East London when the clusters merged in 2012. Caroline was the Chief Nurse for NHS London for six months until she joined NHS England as Regional Chief Nurse for London in April 2013. She was delighted to have returned to the East End and to work at the Trust in 2016 when she became Chief Nurse for Barts Health.

      Caroline was a 2008 Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar. She was a Visiting Professor at City University until 2012 and is now a Visiting Professor at Bucks New University. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by City University in February 2017 for her contribution to nursing.

      She says, “I feel truly honoured to receive this Honorary Degree from . The partnership I have developed with during my time at NHSE in London and more recently at Bart’s Health has underpinned much of the innovation we are bringing to nursing across the capital through Capital Nurse and locally in North East London through education and research”.

    • Lord David Blunkett

      David Blunkett was awarded a peerage in the dissolution Honours List in 2015, taking the title of Lord Blunkett of Brightside and Hillsborough in the City of Sheffield.

      He also in that year took up a post as Professor of Politics in Practice at the University of Sheffield Department of Politics and became Chair of the board of the University of Law (formerly the College of Law) based in London.

    • Anne Boden

      Anne Boden is a most unusual banker. After a distinguished 30–year career in traditional banking, including as Chief Operating Officer of Allied Irish Banks, she set out to build her own mobile–only bank from scratch in 2014. Starling Bank launched its personal current account in May 2017 and less than a year later was named Best British Bank in the Smart Money People awards.

      After gaining a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Chemistry from Swansea University, Anne joined Lloyds Bank in 1985. It was there that she had the opportunity to be part of the team that pioneered the UK’s first same–day payment service, which transformed the future of electronic money.

      Throughout a career that took her to the banks Standard Chartered, UBS, ABN Amro, RBS and AIB as well as to the global professional services company AON and the consultancy PwC, she never lost the enthusiasm for disrupting the status quo. She studied her MBA at in 1987 to 1990 while working at Standard Chartered and in 2011, she served on the University’s Board of Governors.

      It was during her time as Chief Operating Officer of Allied Irish Banks in 2012 and 2013 where she began to explore the potential of financial technology for transforming customers’ everyday lives and set out to create a new kind of bank.

      She says, “when I first stepped through the doors of as a young banker in 1987, little did I think that I would one day build a bank from scratch. As I fought my way through bureaucracy, in–built prejudices and widespread suspicion to get Starling funded and off the ground, I was so grateful for the lessons I learned at ”.

    • Andy Doyle

      Andy is a leading practitioner in the field of Human Resources. He has been the Group Human Resources Director of ITV plc and most recently has been the Chief Human Resources Officer of Worldpay Group plc until January 2018. Andy has specialised in business transformation through people, by creating the conditions for people to achieve their best performance. transformations.

      Andy has used a wide range of tools and creative concepts to achieve major changes in corporate culture and performance. He has delivered high levels of colleague engagement across global and multi–cultural teams that have supported those He has been regularly considered one of the most influential HR practitioners in the UK and is a regular speaker on cultural change and business transformation. Andy has worked in operational and senior HR executive roles in the technology, real estate, construction and leisure retail sectors.

      Andy was a member of the Board of and is currently a Trustee of Loughborough Students’ Union. He has been involved in supporting public sector organisations facing transformation as a Non–Executive Director in the social housing and education sectors. He was also a Non–Executive Director of the Broadcast Equality and Training Regulatory.

      Andy holds a degree in Economics from Loughborough University, is a Chartered Director, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He says, “I am very honoured to receive this award from . The University has been at the forefront of work–place learning and finding creative solutions to business challenges. I have seen the real difference that working with the University has created in the workplace”.

    • Imogen Heap

      Self–produced, independent, engaged, Imogen Heap blurs the boundaries between pure art form and creative entrepreneurship. Writing and producing four solo albums, Imogen has developed a strong collaboration with her loyal following both on and offline in recognised, pioneering ways. Her graceful tunes such as signature track Hide & Seek populate movies and TV shows, accompany dance and theatre performances. A respected ‘artist’s artist’, Imogen has penned songs with Taylor Swift, Mika, Josh Groban and Deadmau5 among others.

      Imogen has been nominated for five Grammys, winning one for engineering and another for her contribution on Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. In her self–built home studio also sits an Ivor Novello award, The Artist and Manager Pioneer award, the MPG Inspiration award. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Technology in recognition of the mi.mu gloves work: a gestural music making system developed by Imogen for her studio and stage work along with a team of engineers, scientists and musicians. The project has attracted worldwide attention from artists to universities and within the press for humanising music technology in performance. Imogen has also written the score for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has set new standards in theatre.

      Becoming a mother in 2014, combined with being free of labels and management for the first time in her 20 year career, she released her song Tiny Human as an experiment for Mycelia: her vision for a sustainable music industry ecosystem. Wishing to explore potentials for new business models in light of distributed ledger technology and smart contracts, Imogen released the song complete with a rich set of metadata to empower services to think differently and invite them to collaborate with her for further developments of their services.

      She says, “I’ve always felt inspired, encouraged and supported by in the work and play we’ve done together and I’m deeply honoured to be recognised in this way. I look forward to the next chapter in our explorations”.

    • Mark Lewis

      Mark studied BA Law at Polytechnic between 1984 and 1987 and split his articles between London and Manchester qualifying as a general commercial litigator who did some libel and some privacy.

      Along the way, he undertook cases that were part of the need to reform libel law, obtained the first reported super injunction and according to the New York Times invented the Tort of Phone Hacking, negotiating the largest settlement in media law — £3 million — closing the News of the World, giving evidence to Parliament and the Leveson Inquiry.

      More recently, successfully representing Jack Monroe in her Twibel (twitter libel) claim against Katie Hopkins and currently representing Martin Lewis in his claim against Facebook. Mark has been profiled in newspapers in four continents and appeared on television in all six.

      He says, “I’m delighted to be awarded an honorary degree from , which is where I learned about law and the importance of finding the answer to the problems that exist”.

    • Penny Melville-Brown

      A graduate of London University, Penny’s first career was in the Royal Navy with appointments in intelligence, nuclear war planning, public relations, university units and personnel policy. With further academic qualifications, she became the first woman barrister in the navy and was promoted to commander but blindness ended her career early and she is now a war pensioner. Undaunted, she has run Disability Dynamics for nearly 20 years, helping other disabled people to get back to work particularly through self–employment and was awarded an OBE.

      Most recently, she started her Baking Blind YouTube channel to demonstrate that disability is no bar to ambition. She consequently won the international Holman prize that funded her cooking and promotional tour across six continents last year. Now nearly recovered from a major car accident in 2017, she has over 50 videos of her life–changing adventures and culinary partnerships to broadcast to a growing international following.

      Penny’s public life activities have also included international roles as a UK delegate to the European and World Blind Unions, speaker at conferences on disability employment and promotion of blind people at work. In the UK, she has delivered disability advice, training and consultancy to the Ministry of Defence, Olympic Delivery Authority, regional government, national policing and the private and voluntary sectors. She was Chair of the South East War Pensions Committee and of the Hampshire Learning and Skills Council. She is a member of the HMRC Board, the Employment Tribunal Steering Board, the Office for Disability Issues advisory group, the DWP Standards Committee and more.

      She says, “I am hugely grateful to for recognising that work in the disability field has both national and global significance. There are some one billion people around the world who struggle to fulfil their potential. Every one of us can make a difference by turning inclusive attitudes into tangible practical actions”.

    • Chief Rabbi Mirvis

      Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was born and raised in South Africa and he studied and received his Semicha (Rabbinic ordination) in Israel. He has served as Chief Rabbi of Ireland and Rabbi of the Marble Arch and Finchley Synagogues in London.

      Now in his fifth year as Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, he has developed a reputation as a principled spiritual leader who has broken new ground in the areas of interfaith social and responsibility. He has prioritised the development and strengthening of Jewish communities under his aegis, from Hull to Hong Kong and from Cardiff to Cochin.

      Chief Rabbi Mirvis is a champion of faith communities, striking an essential balance between the particular values that make them unique and the universal human values we all share.

      He serves as Associate President of the Conference of European Rabbis and he is President of the London School of Jewish Studies. He is considered a religious figurehead for Jewish communities across the world and is a regular contributor to press and broadcast media.

      Upon receiving the honorary degree, the Chief Rabbi says, “this is a great honour, which I am privileged to accept on behalf of the wider Jewish community that often finds in a real partner in social and communal responsibility. I look forward to cultivating that warm relationship for many years to come”.

    • Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby

      Designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby founded their London studio in 1996. Their diverse body of work spans industrial design, furniture, lighting and site–specific installations as well as gallery and public commissions such as the London 2012 Olympic Torch and projects for the Royal Mint. They are currently working with leading global manufacturers including Vitra, Knoll, B&B Italia and Flos. Their work is held in permanent museum collections around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Design Museum in London, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Art Institute of Chicago.

      In 2001, Barber and Osgerby established the architecture and interior design practice Universal Design Studio and in 2012, they founded Map Project Office, specialising in research and strategy–led design.

      In 2007, they were awarded Royal Designers for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts and in 2013, the designers were each awarded an OBE for their services to the design industry. They both hold honorary doctorates of art and lecture internationally.

      In September 2017, Barber and Osgerby published their latest monograph with Phaidon: Barber Osgerby, Projects written by Jana Scholze. The book deviates from the expected chronological format and explores the designers output under the three chapters of Folded Structures, Frameworks and Volumes and features six essays which started as conversations with collaborators from outside the studio.

    • Joy Warmington

      Joy Warmington is CEO of brap, a charity transforming the way we think and do equality. Under Joy’s leadership, brap has established itself at the cutting edge of equalities practice, supporting organisations including NHS England, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Department of Education. In the last two years alone, brap has worked with over 60 NHS trusts, helping to reduce inequality and deliver more inclusive patient care. Joy’s career spans the community sector, local government and further education.

      All her roles have focused on equity, working with marginalised communities, expanding curriculum and promoting educational opportunities. Joy is also Vice–Chair of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and has been Chair of Children in Need (central region) and a member of NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Standard Advisory Group. Joy has authored over 30 reports and articles on equalities practice and organisational culture. As a result of all this work, the Birmingham Post named her as one of the 250 most influential people in the West Midlands.

      Speaking about the award, Joy says, “it’s a great honour to be awarded a degree by . Over the years, we have found research produced by the University’s Business School invaluable in our work supporting organisations to become inclusive. I see this award as another sign of the University’s commitment to equality and a vote of confidence in brap and our work”.

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