University of Leicester announces honorary degrees recipients

Posted by pt91 at May 03, 2011 12:25 PM |
Nine people to be honoured for their services in international, national and local fields

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 3 May 2011

The University of Leicester has announced nine recipients for honorary degrees at its summer degree congregations.

In addition to the South African Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, announced earlier, the University is honouring Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, KCB, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; Michael Wood, the historian and television presenter of the highly popular BBC4 series, ‘The Story of England’ focusing on local village Kibworth; and Leicester-born former Deep Purple musician Jon Lord.

All the recipients are being recognised for their services in international, national and local fields.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Sir Robert Burgess said: “We are delighted to honour such a highly distinguished group of people. This year’s Honorands include those who have been involved in excellent work personally with the University, while others have brought significant distinction to the region and in their various fields both internationally and nationally.  All of them are an inspiration to our students.” 

The Honorands will receive their Honorary Degrees at the Degree Congregations at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester.   They are:

Tuesday 12 July 3pm

Michael Wood, historian and television presenter, most recently of the highly acclaimed ‘The Story of England’ focusing on the local village of Kibworth.   He has presented numerous television documentaries and has made more than 80 documentary films.   (DLitt- Doctor of Letters)

Carole Blackburn, Chair of the Welford Road Police and Community Support Group, Leicester and keen supporter of University/City relationships.  She has provided good community relations with the University.   (LLM- Master of Laws)

Wednesday 13 July, 11am

Bruce Grocott, Lord Grocott of Telford, a University of Leicester graduate.   As a Labour MP, he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tony Blair as both Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister.   In the Lords, from 2001-2002 he was Government Spokesperson for Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, International Development, Work and Pensions and Government Whip.  From 2002-2008 he was Chief Whip, Deputy Chair of Committees and Deputy Speaker.   (LLD- Doctor of Laws)

Wednesday 13 July, 3pm

Kathy Williams, Academic Registrar at the University of Leicester until 2010 who has worked at the institution for 36 years.   (LLD- Doctor of Laws)

Ms Williams said: “I am deeply grateful to the University for conferring on me the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws for services to the University and to higher education. By the time I retired in 2010, I had worked for the University as an academic administrator for 36 years, so this is something of a ‘lifetime achievement award’, not just for me, but for the administrative colleagues I have been privileged to work with over the years, providing services to many thousands of students and support to hundreds of members of the academic staff.  It has been a privilege to serve the institution and to see it grow in stature and influence, and it is hugely satisfying that the end of my career should be marked with this award.”

Alan Birchenall MBE, footballer during the 1960s and 1970s, who played for England and for Leicester City (1971-77).   He is currently Club Ambassador for Leicester City.   (LLM- Master of Laws)

Mr Birchenall said: "It's a great honour. I feel very proud to be receiving a degree from the university. I'm chuffed to bits about it. It's a reflection on the football club, which has given me a platform for all the work I've done. Without it, I'd have been forgotten about as an ordinary footballer who disappeared 40 years ago."

Thursday 14 July, 11am

Harvey Watson, Police Officer at the University of Leicester and Vice Chair of PAHELO (Police Association of Higher Education Liaison Officers).  In 2009-10 he was Beat Officer of the Year for Leicestershire and has recently been nominated for the award again.  He is also closely involved with University of Leicester students.   (LLM- Master of Laws)

Thursday 14 July, 3pm

Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, KCB, FRAeS, current Chief of the Air Staff and Head of the RAF. Sir Stephen attended Lancaster Boys School in Leicester, graduated from Bath University with an Honours Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and has flown on many tours in Europe, the Middle East, USA and Canada.  (LLD- Doctor of Laws)

Friday 15 July, 11am

Jon Lord, Leicester-born jazz and rhythm and blues musician, who played with the Bill Ashton Combo, Red Blood and his Bluesicians, the Artwoods, The Flowerpot Men and Deep Purple.  He now pursues a solo career and retains a deep affection for Leicester, having first had piano lessons just off University Road.   (DMus – Doctor of Music)

Friday 15 July, 3pm

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, internationally acclaimed for his part in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. President Nelson Mandela chose him to chair South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and investigate crimes committed by all parties during the apartheid regime.  (DLitt- Doctor of Letters).


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