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Honorary degrees awarded at Bristol University today [July 11]

Press release issued: 11 July 2002

Media release
Honorary degrees awarded at Bristol University today
[July 11]

Bristol University is awarding Honorary degrees to three prominent people at today's degree ceremonies in the Wills Memorial Building.

Professor Steven Blair, Director of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas, will receive his degree of Doctor of Science at the 11.15 am ceremony. Dame Janet Trotter, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, and Doreen Mahoney, Domestic Supervisor in the Housekeeping Office at Bristol University, will be honoured with the degrees of Doctor of Laws and Master of Arts respectively at the 2.30 pm ceremony.

Steven Blair, who was a visiting professor at Bristol University in 2001, has had a profound impact across the world on people's understanding and appreciation of the critical role of physical activity in public health.

His undergraduate degree was in Physical Education, with a minor in Biology at Kansas Wesleyan University. In the mid-60s he gained a MSc and doctorate at Indiana University. At that point he knew clearly where his interests were and accepted a postdoctoral role in preventive cardiology at Stanford University. Since 1980 he has been in his current post at the Aerobics Institute in Dallas.

He has published over 300 papers, many in leading medical and epidemiological journals. His now classic 1989 prospective study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on physical fitness and all-cause mortality is probably the most heavily cited in the field.

Steven Blair has served on at least 14 editorial boards of scientific journals, and as honorary professor at the universities of South Carolina, Texas and North Texas. He has been President of the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. He has received numerous international awards, but notably he was one of the first people outside the US Public Health Service to be awarded the Surgeon General's Medallion in 1996.

Dame Janet Trotter spent five years at a secondary school in Maidstone before serving as Nursing Orderly for a year. From 1965 to 1972 she worked as a teacher in schools in Kent while studying for an external diploma in Theology and then a degree in Divinity as an external student in the University of London. These years as a teacher were followed by 11 years at King Alfred's College in Winchester. During this time she obtained a MA from London and a MSc from Brunel.

She then became Principal of the College of St Paul and Mary in Cheltenham. The College merged with the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology to create the Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. Recently it became Britain's newest university, the University of Gloucestershire, with Janet at the helm as the country's newest Vice-Chancellor.

She was also Chair of the Gloucestershire Health Authority, Chair of the NHS Executive South-West and now Chair of the Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust. She combined these roles with being a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England as well as the Teacher Training Agency.

In 1991 she was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Honours list and a DBE in 2001. This year she was made a Freeman of the Borough of Cheltenham in 2002 - a rare honour as only 17 people have received this award since 1960.

Born, brought up and schooled in Bristol, Doreen Mahoney started work at 14 for a tailoring firm, Welsh's. In 1960 she joined Bristol University as a new recruit to an expanding Housekeeping Department which took on new staff for what was then its largest new development since the flagship Wills Memorial Building was completed - the Queen's Building home to the Engineering Faculty. She started as a cleaner on two shillings and threepence an hour, 11½p in today's money. Twelve years later she had risen to a supervisory role, becoming Forewoman Cleaner in Senate House, the University's administrative headquarters, on seven shillings and nine pence, almost 39p an hour.

A whole Mahoney family dynasty works or has worked for the University: Doreen's mother for 20 years, her two sisters Jean and Georgina, her daughter-in-law Christine and her granddaughter Lisa have all worked at the University. When she retires, as Domestic Supervisor, at the end of this month, after 42 years' service, her other daughter-in-law Gail Mahoney will be carrying on a proud family tradition with the Site Services Department.

Last month Doreen was awarded a MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to higher education.

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Thursday, 11-Jul-2002 17:45:37 BST

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