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Honorary Degrees awarded at Bristol today

Press release issued: 14 July 2004

Bristol University is awarding Honorary degrees to three prominent people, Dr Alastair Summerlee and Mr Mark Ellingham and Ms Natania Jansz, at today's [14 July] degree ceremonies in the Wills Memorial Building.

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

Dr Alastair Summerlee, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guelph, Ontario, will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Laws at the 11.15 am ceremony.

A leader of higher education in Canada and an internationally renowned scientist, Dr Summerlee has a distinguished career spanning
30 years.

He graduated from Bristol University with a BSc in Anatomy in 1974 and a BVSc in Veterinary Science in 1977.  After qualifying, he returned to the Anatomy department at Bristol to study for his PhD and begin a career as a postdoctoral researcher until he was appointed as a Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy in 1981. 

In 1988 he was appointed as a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, followed by Associate Dean in 1992, Dean of Graduate Studies in 1995, Associate Vice-President in 1999, Provost and Vice-President in 2000, and in 2003 he was appointed to his current role as President.

As a scientist, Dr Summerlee has made significant contribution to understanding the fundamental principles of the hormonal control of pregnancy, birth and lactation. 

Currently responsible for 4,000 staff and 16,000 students, he continues to teach Human Anatomy and the Art of Veterinary Medicine.  In 2003 he was one of only eight professors from Canada to be awarded the prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship for outstanding leadership in teaching, education and academic programme development.

Mr Mark Ellingham and Ms Natania Jansz, Publishers and
co-founders of the Rough Guides publishing enterprise and Sort of Books, will be honoured with the degrees of Master of Arts at the 2.30 pm ceremony.

Mark and Natania, both graduates from Bristol University, have established new territories in publishing.  They have transformed the guidebook into the distinctive term “rough guide” providing readers with a definitive, in-depth and informed guide to travel, the internet or world music.  The “Rough Guide to the Internet” was a million copy bestseller.

Mark and Natania found a niche with their “rough guides” when they were travelling around Greece in the early 1980s; they noticed there were no other guidebooks that met their needs. 

They set about creating their own guide to Greece that aimed to combine a journalistic and practical approach to travellers’ needs, that would incorporate culture, history and contemporary insights with a critical edge, together with up-to-date, value-for-money listings.  When the team finished their Rough Guide, as they called it, they talked Routledge into publishing the book.

The first Rough Guide to Greece was published in 1982 turning a student scheme into a publishing phenomenon.  The immediate success of the book, and a Thomas Cook prize short-listing, generated a series of these guides that are currently distributed worldwide by the Penguin Group.  They include recommendations from shoestring to luxury and cover more than 200 destinations around the globe, including almost every country in the Americas and Europe, more than half of Africa and most of Asia and Australasia. 

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