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Honorary degrees awarded at Bristol University

Press release issued: 8 July 2003

Bristol University is awarding Honorary degrees to two prominent people, Dr Paul Magelli and Professor Raman Bedi at today's degree ceremonies in the Wills Memorial Building

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

Dr Paul Magelli, Director of the Office of Strategic Business Initiatives at the University of Illinois, and member of the Advisory Board of Bristol University's Enterprise Centre, will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Laws at the 11.15am ceremony.

Paul Magelli was born in Illinois at the height of the Great Depression. His capacity for hard work and entrepreneurialism showed itself early - by the age of 14 he owned a 24 per cent share in seven supermarkets across Illinois.

At the age of 27, he left his business and enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he majored in Economics, then stayed on to do a PhD in the subject.

His thesis, published in 1965, was a groundbreaking study of the complex economic environment in which higher education operates. He demonstrated the link between a society's ability to generate wealth and the capacity of its universities to create and communicate knowledge. He also argued that for a society to achieve its full economic potential, it must invest in providing access to a first-class university education to everyone who is able to benefit from it, regardless of their ability to pay.

In 1989, Dr Magelli was given the task of re-engineering the MBA Programme at the University of Illinois in a way that enabled it to become independent of state funding. The Illinois MBA programme is now one of the top 50 in the world and Dr Magelli leads its highly successful business consultancy operation.

He also serves on the Boards of a number of commercial and not-for-profit organisations, including those of the Kauffman Foundation, which promotes the practice and study of entrepreneurship in the US, and of Bristol University's Enterprise Centre, where he has helped to create an enterprise culture in the University and supported the creation and growth of several research-based businesses.

Professor Raman Bedi, Chief Dental Officer for England, will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Science at the 2.30pm ceremony.

Raman Bedi studied dentistry at Bristol University, graduating in 1976. He completed his House Officer training in Sheffield before returning to Bristol to complete a theological degree at Trinity College. After this further degree, he began a series of academic appointments in dentistry at the Universities of Manchester and Hong Kong.

His particular passion is the oral health of vulnerable and special care groups. At the University of Hong Kong, he undertook the first study of Vietnamese boat people living in transit camps and personally provided dental care for all the children who lived in these camps. Later, following a study of dental health in Old Trafford, Manchester, he published a landmark paper on the oral health needs of young minority ethnic children in deprived areas. This paper showed for the first time that poor oral health in pre-school children is associated with a mother's inability to speak the host language.

In 1989, he began his consultant training in Paediatric Dentistry at the University of Edinburgh and, on completion, was appointed Consultant and Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. In 1993, the University of Bristol awarded him the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree by published works, for his contribution to our knowledge on the oral health needs of special care groups.

In 1986, Professor Bedi was appointed Director of the Centre for Transcultural Oral Health at the Eastman Dental Institute in London. In 1998, the centre was designated a WHO Collaborating Centre with a global responsibility for addressing issues of disability and transcultural oral health.

As Chief Dental Officer for England, Professor Bedi is the Government's most senior adviser on oral and dental health. He is currently spearheading the most radical reform of NHS dentistry since the inception of the Health Service in 1948. This reform aims to establish national standards for dentistry, address oral health inequalities and give people more choice in matters of dental health. It is expected to be the most far-reaching agenda for addressing inequalities ever undertaken in the history of dentistry in any industrialised country.

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