Degrees will be awarded by University of Exeter Chancellor Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE.

University of Exeter welcomes honorary graduates

This summer the University of Exeter will recognise key figures, including some of its alumni, with honorary degrees.

Graduation ceremonies start on Monday 16 July when an honorary degree will be given to writer and broadcaster Armando Iannucci, best known for his BAFTA-winning BBC series The Thick of It.

All degrees will be awarded by the University of Exeter’s Chancellor Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE at ceremonies held in the Great Hall, Streatham Campus, and at Truro Cathedral.

Alumni being welcomed back include adventurer, wildlife expert, writer and broadcaster Steve Backshall, who has a University of Exeter degree in English and Drama. He has travelled to 101 countries around the world, come nose to nose with tiger sharks, faced down charging elephants and caught over 500 species of snake. He has also just published Tiger Wars, the first in a series of fiction novels for young adults.

Other alumni being honoured include Barry Bateman, who has a BA in Economics and Economic History from the University and is now Vice-Chairman of Fidelity International Ltd. Judge Demetrios Hadjihambis graduated with First Class Honours in Law in 1968 and was awarded the Bracton Prize for the best graduate, the Lloyd Perry prize in Constitutional Law and the Sir Archibald Bodkin prize in Criminal Law. Sir Michael Pownall graduated in History in 1971 and was appointed a clerk in the House of Lords, helping to supervise the introduction of television in the Lords in 1984. After fulfilling a number of other posts, in 2007 he became Clerk of the Parliaments (Head of the Lords admission) before retiring in 2011.

Two keys figures in the region who will be receiving honorary degrees are John Hirst and Dr Russell Hamilton CBE. CEO of the Met Office, John Hirst is the UK’s permanent representative to the World Meteorological Organisation and a member of the UK Space Board. Dr Hamilton came to the UK from Australia in 1979 and moved to the South West as the first NHS Research and Development Manager for the region. He was appointed as Director of Research and Development for the South West, then for the South of England and finally to his current post of Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health with responsibility across England. He continues to live in the South West with his wife and two daughters.    

Two prominent women in science will receive honorary degrees: Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS, who focuses on soft matter and biological physics and has played a key role in establishing the Athena SWAN Charter, which is committed to gender equality in science. Cynthia Carroll, who has been Chief Executive of global mining company Anglo American plc since 2007, will receive an honorary degree at the University’s Cornwall Campus Graduation.

Honorary graduands Bryn and Emma Parry OBE are best known for running the charity Help for Heroes, where Bryn is CEO and Emma is MD of the trading company. Following a career in the Army, Bryn fulfilled his ambition of being a cartoonist. The couple ran Bryn Parry Studios for 22 years and Bryn has published nine books of his cartoons.

Other honorary graduands include barrister, broadcaster and Labour member of the House of Lords Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. Fellow broadcaster Nik Gowing has been a main presenter for the BBC’s international 24-hour news channel BBC World News since 1996. He also presents The Hub, BBC World Debates, and Dateline London, plus location coverage of major global stories. Iain Gray is Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board and was formerly Managing Director and General Manager of Bristol-based Company Airbus UK. The Rt Hon Alan Milburn was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as Minister of State for Health in 1997, Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1998 and the Secretary of State for Health in 1999. In 2010 he became an Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility for the Coalition Government to review and report on child poverty and social mobility.

ceremony times:

Monday 16 July

9:00am: Armando Iannucci
11:45am: Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

Tuesday 17 July

9:00am: Nik Gowing
11:45am: Judge Demetrios Hadjihambis
3:00pm: Sir Michael Pownall

Wednesday 18 July

9:00am: Steve Backshall
11:45am: John Hirst

Thursday 19 July

9:00am: Bryn Parry and Emma Parry OBE
11:45am: The Rt Hon Alan Milburn
3:00pm: Barry Bateman

Friday 20 July

9:00am: Iain Gray
11:45am: Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS
3.00pm: Dr Russell Hamilton CBE

Monday 23 July (Truro Cathedral)

3:45pm: Cynthia Carroll

Unless specified otherwise, the ceremonies will take place in the Great Hall, Streatham Campus.

For more information please visit our Honorary Graduates website.

Date: 10 July 2012