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Our honorary graduates

We award honorary degrees to inspiring individuals who have achieved great feats in their fields.

Honorary degrees awarded in 2016

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Honorary Doctor of Science

The Duchess of Cornwall supports her husband, The Prince of Wales, in carrying out his work and duties as Heir to The Throne. She also undertakes public engagements on behalf of the charities that she supports. Since her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005, The Duchess of Cornwall has become Patron or President of over ninety charities.

The Duchess's Honorary Doctorate recognises her inspiring leadership in supporting patients, researchers and health professionals engaged in the management of osteoporosis. As President of the National Osteoporosis Society, and a previous speaker for the International Osteoporosis Foundation, she has been a champion for all who work with, or suffer from, this debilitating disorder which leads to many thousands of fractures each year. Her Royal Highness first became personally involved with the National Osteoporosis Society in 1994 when her mother died as a result of suffering this devastating disease. The excellence of the clinical service and research programme led by Professor Cyrus Cooper at the University of Southampton would not have been possible without the encouragement and support that The Duchess has given.

Her Royal Highness is an established literacy campaigner, championing the importance of literacy both in the UK and internationally. The Duchess has visited numerous schools, where she often reads aloud to children, and she has supported literacy projects aimed at improving reading skills amongst adults, in prisons, and at schemes to get fathers to read to their children. Her Royal Highness has a number of key patronages in this area including the National Literacy Trust, First Story and Booktrust.

In recent years, Her Royal Highness has shown her support of victims of rape and sexual assault by visiting centres across the UK and abroad and has developed a growing interest in financial inclusion (with a particular focus on Credit Unions). The Duchess is passionate about good food in schools and for the young and supports local food producers. Her Royal Highness believes that educating children about where food comes from and eating healthily is paramount to their wellbeing.

Stefan Buczacki, Honorary Doctor of Letters

Stefan Buczacki graduated with a first in botany at the University of Southampton in 1968, and then studied for a DPhil at the University of Oxford. After fourteen years in horticultural research, he left for a freelance career as a writer, broadcaster, photographer, consultant and expert witness.

He is perhaps best known to the public for his 12 years as panellist and chairman of Gardeners' Question Time on Radio 4. However this is just part of a portfolio of over 2,000 radio and television programmes, around 60 books and countless thousands of articles in most leading newspapers and magazines.

Among his books are many standard works of reference including Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Garden Plants, in print for over 35 years. Stefan has special expertise in fungi, is double past-president of the British Mycological Society and his field guide to the fungi of Britain and Ireland, Collins Fungi Guide is the most comprehensive one volume work on the subject ever published.

Fauna Britannia, in which he described the entire wild animal life of Britain and its associated customs and folklore was honoured with a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales. But perhaps less well known is Stefan's work as a socio-political biographer. His recent Churchill biography, Churchill and Chartwell, received the highest praise and this spring he published My darling Mr Asquith – the extraordinary life and times of Venetia Stanley, again to great acclaim.

John Denham, Honorary Doctor of Science

John Denham was born in Seaton, Devon in 1953 and was educated at Woodroffe Comprehensive School, Lyme Regis. He graduated in Chemistry from Southampton University in 1974. Two years postgraduate research were followed by his election as President of the Student Union. John worked with voluntary sector organisations from 1977-1992 including Friends of the Earth, British Youth Council, War on Want, Oxfam, and Christian Aid. He was also elected to the Hampshire County Council (1981-1989) and Southampton City Council (1989-1992). Having stood unsuccessfully in 1983 and 1997, John was elected as Labour MP for Southampton Itchen in 1992.

From 1997, John Denham held ministerial posts at the departments of Social Security, Health, and the Home Office. He resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War. He chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee until June 2007. Gordon Brown appointed him to the Cabinet in 2007 as Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and Communities and Local Government (2009-10).

He was PPS to Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP from 2011-2013 before standing down in 2015. He is Director for the Centre for English Politics and Identity at Winchester University and a visiting Professor at the LSE. He chairs both the Southern Policy Centre and Culture Southampton.

Judith Gillow MBE, Honorary Doctor of Science

Judith has supported national and local work on improving quality of care, the development of clinical academic roles for nursing and health professionals, and assisted nationally in the review of health care assistants. She has undertaken charity work in Cambodia and Ghana to help set up health services for children.

Judith trained at Great Ormond Street, London and qualified as a registered Children's and Adult Nurse. After three years she became a ward sister on a paediatric orthopaedic ward. In 1982, Judith trained as a health visitor at the University of Southampton and completed a Diploma in Community Studies and a Health Education teaching qualification. She is also a qualified tutor and taught in Nursing at Southampton as well as managing a research project, Team Building in Primary Care, for the UK Department of Health.

In 1993, Judith became Primary Health Care Manager on the Isle of Wight and was promoted to Director of Nursing three years later. She then moved to Winchester Hospital and was appointed as Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Nursing and Operations. In 2004 she became Director of Nursing and Patient Services at Southampton General Hospital.

Over her varied career she has consistently strived to improve services and care for patients and was awarded an MBE in 2012.

Datin Paduka Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, Honorary Doctor of Science

Datin Paduka Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir is currently the Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, in charge of public universities. Her role under the Ministry involves leading the formulation of education frameworks and policies.

Her latest achievements include being a part of the group directing a nation-wide programme aimed at transforming public higher education policies of Malaysia (the Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint, 2015-2025), focusing on governance and sustainability of public universities.

Prior to her current post, Siti Hamisah was the Deputy Director General of Private Higher Education for three years. Among her contributions were the establishment of a rating system for private colleges, as well as rationalisation and liberalisation of private higher education. In addition to that, she played an integral role in the establishment of several foreign branch campuses in Malaysia including the University of Southampton Malaysia Campus.

Siti Hamisah is a registered engineer under the Board of Engineers Malaysia (2003–present), a fellow of the Institute of Engineers Malaysia (2007–present) and an Associate Member of the American Civil Society of Engineers (2008–2012). In 2013 she was conferred the title of ‘Dato’ Paduka Mahkota in recognition of her contribution to higher education.

William McKee CBE, Honorary Doctor of Letters

William McKee is Chair of the Outer London Commission and Chair of the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation Planning Committee and a member of the main Board. Other appointments include: Member of the Governing Body of the North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group; Chief Executive of Accessible Retail; Joint Managing Director of property consultants LAPAR; Director of Newcourt Residential Ltd; Director and Trustee of the Rambert Dance Company; and the Chair of the University of Southampton Faculty Board of Advisors for Business, Law and Art.

His past appointments include: member, Bank of England Property Committee; Chair, Thurrock Urban Development Corporation; Chairman, European Property Federation; Chairman, CBI Trade Association Council; member, CBI President’s Committee; and Vice-chairman, National Planning Forum.

William was a member of the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning Sub-panel of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework; Chairman, Advisory Committee University of Surrey School of Management; member, Advisory Board, University College London Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities; visiting Fellow in Property, Reading University; visiting Lecturer in Property, University College London; and visiting Lecturer in Town Planning and Transport Planning, Imperial College London.

A member of numerous Government review bodies, in 2002 William was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the property industry.

Professor George Stevenson, Honorary Doctor of Science

In his illustrious career, George has been a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy and has worked at the University of Southampton since 1970. HE and his wife, Professor Freda Stevenson, founded the Immunochemistry Laboratory and described how antibodies could be utilised as cancer treatments.

George studied medicine at the University of Sydney and graduated in January 1955, after which he trained for three years at Sydney Hospital before branching out into medical research. In 1962, A Nuffield scholarship took him to the University of Oxford where he worked on the structure and function of antibody molecules. At Southampton, he led a programme of research in to the group of cancers known as lymphoma with particular attention to molecular aspects of the surfaces of enabled cells comprising these lymphomas.

With the advent of the Southampton Medical School, George taught medical students, and later science students, this new field of treatment for cancers known as immunology. He was part of a team that was the first to inject an antibody into a patient that had an advanced lymphoma, with the result that an appreciable number of the cancer cells were destroyed, however the cancer rapidly rebounded. Nevertheless, this team effort attracted much attention and in 1982 George, and Ronald Levy from Stanford University, shared the first Hammer Prize for Cancer Research.

Antibodies are now used frequently for treating cancer, but generally in combination with chemotherapy. Much effort is now being devoted to antibody engineering, the chemical alteration of antibody molecules in order to improve their tolerance to kill cancers.

Honorary degrees awarded in previous years

View a selection of our honorary graduates from the 1960s to the present day.


Professor Martin Goodman, Honorary Doctor of Letters

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Honorary Doctor of Science

Rosalind Rivaz, Honorary Doctor of Science

Richard Sadler, Honorary Doctor of Science

Professor William Webb, Honorary Doctor of Science


Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, Doctor of Science

Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, Doctor of Science

Professor Dominic Tildesley, Doctor of Science

Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, Doctor of Science

Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB DSC ADC DL, Doctor of Science


Chris Packham

Professor Zhong-Qun Tian

Dame Valerie Strachan

Stuart Popham

Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger DBE

Professor Richard Holdaway CBE

Professor John Craven


Professor the Rt Hon Lord Plant of Highfield, Doctor of Laws

Professor David Phillips CBE, Doctor of Science

Deirdre Le Faye, Doctor of Letters

Sir George W. Buckley, Doctor of Science

Professor Cecil Balmond, Doctor of Science


Professor Sir William Wakeham, Doctor of Science

Jon Sopel, Doctor of Laws

Sir Adrian Fulford, Doctor of Laws

Brian Eno, Doctor of Music

Dame Helen Alexander DBE


Caroline Wyatt, Doctor of Letters

Courtney Pine OBE CBE, Doctor of Music

Professor Gwyneth Lewis OBE, Doctor of Science

Mona Hatoum, Doctor of Letters

Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, Doctor of Letters

Shami Chakrabarti, Doctor of Letters

Professor Michael Arthur, Doctor of Letters


Rosemary Squire OBE, Doctor of Letters

Sir Geoffrey Rowland, Doctor of Laws

Carol Marlow, Doctor of the University

Paul Lewis, Doctor of Music

Baroness Gloria Hooper CMG, Doctor of Laws

Professor Peter J Gregson, Doctor of Science

Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe CBE, Doctor of Letters

Professor Jun Chen, Doctor of Science

Jane Bown CBE, Doctor of Letters


Sir Alfred Brendel, Doctor of Music (2002)

James Cameron, Doctor of the University (2004)

Shami Chakrabarti, Doctor of Letters (2010)

Brian Eno, Doctor of Music (2011)

Sir Michael Gambon, Doctor of Letters (2003)

The Baroness Greenfield, Doctor of Science (2002)

John Inverdale, Doctor of Letters (2001)

Helena Kennedy QC, Doctor of Laws (2002)

John Nettles, Doctor of the University (2006)

Trevor Phillips, Doctor of the University (2006)

Courtney Pine OBE CBE, Doctor of Music (2010)

Mary Quant, Doctor of Design (2000)

Lord Rogers, Doctor of Design (2002)

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Doctor of Science (2007)

Amartya Sen, Doctor of Science in the Social Sciences (2002)

John Simpson, Doctor of the University (2003)

Dame Janet Suzman, Doctor of the University (2002)

Baroness Warnock of Weeke, Doctor of Letters (2000)


Sir David Attenborough CBE FRS, Doctor of Science (1992)

John Lill OBE, Doctor of Music (1992)

Ludovic Kennedy, Doctor of Laws (1993)

Victoria Glendinning MA, Doctor of Letters (1994)

Evelyn Glennie OBE, Doctor of Music (1999)

Sir Marrack Goulding, Doctor of Science in the Social Sciences (1997)

Andrew Colin Renfrew, The Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, Doctor of Letters (1995)


Sir Hermann Bondi, Doctor of Science (1981)

Frank Templeton Prince, Doctor of Letters (1981)

The Rt Hon Shirley Williams, Doctor of Laws (1981)

Sir Ernest Donald Acheson, Doctor of Medicine (1984)

Baron Shackleton of Burley, Doctor of Science (1986)


Sir Hugh Casson, Doctor of Letters (1977)

His Excellency President Manfred Lachs, Doctor of Laws (1975)

Sir Claus Moser, Doctor of Science in the Social Sciences (1975)

Sir Eric Roll (The Lord Roll of Ipsden), Doctor of Laws (1974)


His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1967)

Sir Keith Murray (The Lord Murray of Newhaven), Doctor of Laws (1964)

Our past and looking to the future

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