View all news

Double take: nine alumni awarded honorary degrees

16 July 2015

Nine alumni graduated from Bristol for the second time, when they were awarded an honorary degree during graduation ceremonies in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building.

An honorary degree is a major accolade, awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the University’s mission. Congratulations to all our alumni whose achievements were honoured this month. 

Professor Frances Balkwill OBE FMedSci (BSc 1973), Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute in University of London and author of children's books such as Enjoy Your Cells and The Egg and Sperm Race, was awarded a Doctor of Science. Balkwill was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize in 2005 and an OBE in 2008.

Dr Wendy Darke (BSc 1986), marine biologist and Head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit (NHU), was awarded a Doctor of Science. Darke has overseen more than 1,000 natural history programmes, and is the first woman to head the NHU in its 56-year history.

Ben Emmerson QC (LLB 1985), High Court Judge, Master of the Bench of Middle Temple, and a lawyer specialising in European human rights, was awarded a Doctor of Laws for his contribution to gay rights, free speech and human rights. Emmerson has been listed among the top five criminal barristers in the UK, and won the Liberty Human Rights award in 1999.

Nik Gowing (BSc 1973), television journalist, was awarded a Doctor of Laws for his contribution to journalism. Gowing has appeared on ITN, Channel 4 and the BBC, presenting news broadcasts and The World Today.

Chris Hartley (BSc 1981), founder and Chair of the University of Bristol Boat Club Alumni and a key supporter of the Bristol Boat Club, was awarded a Doctor of Laws. As a student, Hartley led a Bristol VIII to the Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in over 20 years, won a BUSA Championship and was the recipient of the first Bristol Red for his sport.

Stephanie Hilborne OBE (BSc 1990), Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, was awarded a Doctor of Science for her work in nature conservation. Hilborne was awarded an OBE in 2009.

Bob Marshall-Andrews (LLB 1965), British Labour Party politician and barrister, was awarded a Doctor of Laws. Marshall-Andrews entered Parliament in 1997 and was in sustained conflict with the government on issues of civil liberty and the Iraq war. He was in the vanguard of repeated parliamentary rebellions, and his successes include the preservation of the right to trial by jury and the rejection executive detention without trial.

Professor David Stuart (PhD 1979), structural biologist at the University of Oxford, was awarded a Doctor of Science for his work with proteins and viruses. Stuart is responsible for many important developments, including determining the structures of the causative agents of potentially devastating livestock diseases like foot-and-mouth and bluetongue.

Professor Elizabeth Morris OBE (BSc 1968, PhD 1971), glaciologist at the Scott Polar Research Institute, was awarded a Doctor of Science for her work on polar ice sheets and their response to climate change. Morris was awarded an OBE in the Millennium honours list, and the Polar Medal in 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further information

Every year,  the University bestows a number of honorary degrees on distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the mission of the University. 

The people concerned receive their degrees at one of the two degree congregations held in January and July in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building and during the ceremony, an oration is delivered in commendation of each honorary graduand.

The awarding of an honorary degree to an individual is recommended by the Honorary Degrees Committee and approved by Senate and Council.