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Honorary degrees awarded by Bristol University, February 2003

Press release issued: 26 February 2003

Honorary degrees were awarded to David Constantine, Adam Hart-Davis, Richard Lelonde and Timothy Clark at a ceremony in the Wills Memorial Building today.

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

David Constantine, co-founder of Motivation, a charity working primarily in developing countries to improve the quality of life of wheelchair users, will be honoured with the degree of Master of Science at the 11.15am ceremony.

David Constantine was born in Essex in 1960 and originally aspired to be a farmer. However at the age of 21, his life was irrevocably changed when he was involved in a diving accident in Australia which left him quadriplegic.

David studied Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art where, in 1989, along with fellow student Simon Gue, he won the Frye Memorial Prize for a wheelchair specially designed for the developing world. With the prize money, David and Simon took their design to the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Bangladesh where they were invited to establish a workshop creating simple, easily adaptable wheelchairs that could be made from locally available materials. The workshop was set up in 1991 and the charity Motivation was born.

Over the next 12 years, the charity greatly expanded its range of services to include 25 different wheelchair designs, the development of primary health care products and the design of specialist seating systems. It is now based at the Brockley Academy near Bristol and has a presence in over 20 countries across every continent of the world.

Among the many awards David has won for his work are the 1992 Person of the Year Award from the Royal Association for Disability, the 1999 Royal Geographical Society and Discovery Channel's Inspiration Award and the Worldaware Innovation Award for 2001. He is an Honorary Fellow of Royal College of Art, a Trustee of the Design Museum and a member of the Leonard Cheshire International Committee.

The writer and broadcaster, Adam Hart-Davis and Richard Lalonde, chartered surveyor and philanthropist, will be honoured with the degrees of Doctor of Science and Master of Arts respectively at the 2pm ceremony.

Dr Hart-Davis showed an interest in science from an early age, winning various prizes for the subject during his schooldays at Eton. He studied Chemistry at Merton College, Oxford, where he was awarded a First, then moved to York for his Doctorate in Organometallic Chemistry.

After three years' postdoctoral research in Canada and the UK, he spent five years publishing science books for the Oxford University Press before moving to Yorkshire Television as a researcher in 1977. There, he created and produced a number of highly successful series for schools including Scientific Eye, used as a teaching aid in some 70 percent of UK secondary schools and in 35 other countries worldwide.

In 1993, Dr Hart-Davis achieved national prominence as the presenter of Local Heroes, travelling the country on his fluorescent pink and yellow bicycle, visiting towns and villages where early scientists and inventors lived, and demonstrating with great ingenuity how their discoveries were made.

He went on to present numerous other science and history series including What the Romans did for us, twelve editions of Tomorrow's World for BBC1 and 35 editions of Hart-Davis on History, as well as making several radio broadcasts.

Dr Hart-Davis is the author of 20 books, among them not only those that chronicle his television series, but also a defining treatise on Thomas Crapper, inventor of the water closet, and a book of Amazing Maths Puzzles. He is also a keen scientific photographer.

Among the many honours he has collected are a medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering for the promotion of Engineering, and the 1999 Gerald Frewer memorial trophy of the Council of Engineering Designers. He is a Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the British Toilet Association. He now lives in Bristol.

Richard Lalonde has provided invaluable advice to the University of Bristol over many years as a member of Council and its Buildings Committee. He is also former chairman of Bristol Research into Alzheimer's and Care of the Elderly (BRACE) where he contributed greatly to the charity's success in raising several million pounds to support its programme of research.

Born in Weston-super-Mare in 1930, Richard was educated at Bream House School and Clifton College. Following his National Service, he qualified as a Chartered Auctioneer in 1954 and then moved back to Bristol to train with J.P. Sturge as a Chartered Surveyor. In 1957 he joined the family firm of Lalonde Bros and Parham, Removal Contractors and Estate Agents, where he built their newly formed commercial department into the strongest and most successful commercial agency firm in the South West.

Richard was appointed as a Member of Council of the University in 1989 and was quickly co-opted to the Buildings Committee where his specialised knowledge has proved invaluable in such areas as the design of new buildings, the need for external valuations, tactics for property negotiations and property law.

He was chairman of BRACE from 1991 to 1996, a Justice of the Peace from 1976 to 1998, and in 1997 he became High Sheriff of Bristol. He has, for many years, been closely involved with other charitable activities in the city such as the Anchor, Colston and Gloucestershire Societies. In July 1989, he set up the Lalonde Family Trust which has donated just under £250,000 to Bristol projects and charities.

Bristol-educated Timothy Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and Professor of Art History at the University of California at Berkeley, will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Letters at the 4.45pm ceremony.

Professor Clark was educated at Bristol Grammar School and St John's College, Cambridge. After receiving his PhD in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, he taught at Essex University, Camberwell School of Art, UCLA, Leeds University, and Harvard University. He joined the University of California at Berkeley in 1987.

Over three decades, Professor Clark has established himself as a passionate and challenging art historian, particularly in his work on modernism. His most recent book, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism, was described by the journal Modernism/Modernity as "clearly the best book ever written on modernism" and has already become an indispensable resource for modernist studies.

Professor Clark's other books include The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers; Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution; and The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-51. He has also served on the editorial boards of several prominent arts and humanities journals, including Representations and Art History.

He is a special lecturer at the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, and many universities in the United States and abroad.

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