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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 2018

Dr Brian Robert Bowsher OBE, Degree of Doctor of Science

Brian was Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) until retiring in 2018. STFC is the UK’s Research Council for particle physics, nuclear physics and astronomy; for large-scale science facilities; and for developing its research and innovation campuses. STFC manages the UK’s participation in many international programmes and Brian was a member of the governing bodies for CERN, the Square Kilometre Array and the European Spallation Source. Brian’s time at STFC was characterised by some major breakthroughs notably the Nobel prize winning discoveries of the Higgs boson and the detection of gravitational waves – in which the work of STFC’s academic community and its own laboratories played critical roles.

Brian did both his BSc and PhD in Chemistry at Southampton before joining the UK Atomic Energy Authority to work on nuclear safety. He was on the Executive Board of Atomic Weapons Establishment initially as Director of Research and then as Director Systems Engineering before becoming the Managing Director of the National Physical Laboratory (2009 – 2015).

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Physics and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Measurement and Control. He received an OBE in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to international and national metrology.

Professor Dame Jane Francis, Degree of Doctor of Science

Jane Francis is Director of the British Antarctic Survey, based in Cambridge. A geologist by training from the University of Southampton (B.Sc and PhD), she was a NERC Postdoctoral Fellow in London, palaeobotanist at the British Antarctic Survey, Australian Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Palaeoclimatology at the University of Leeds, where she was also Dean of the Faculty of Environment. Her research interests include ancient climates and fossil plants from the Arctic and Antarctica, used to decipher ancient polar climates of the past. She was awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to British polar research and was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to UK polar science and diplomacy.

Dr Grahaeme Henderson, BScm PhD, Degree of Doctor of Science

Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Vice-President, Shipping and Maritime at Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited is responsible for Shell's international shipping and maritime activities, including ships, barges, drilling units, floating production facilities and related operations. This spans Shell's entire business interests across oil and gas exploration, production, refining, chemicals, and trading.

Grahaeme is a leading spokesperson globally on safety and the environment, improving the efficiency of shipping and maritime operations, and driving technology and innovation.

Grahaeme is President of the UK Chamber of Shipping and Chairman of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum. He is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Oceans and an Adjunct Professor for the University of Southampton. He has recently been appointed by Her Majesty's Government to the Expert Panel for Maritime 2050.

Grahaeme was previously Country Chairman and Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum, Shell's joint venture company in Brunei. His career with Shell includes over 20 years working overseas in Brunei, Nigeria, Syria and The Netherlands.

He has a First Class Honours BSc Degree and a PhD in mathematics of sea waves, both from the University of Southampton, and is a Professional Chartered Engineer. He is married with a daughter and twin sons.

Professor Anthony Hey, CBE, FREng, FACM, FInstP, Degree of Doctor of Science

Tony Hey began his career as a theoretical physicist with a doctorate in particle physics from the University of Oxford in the UK. After a career in physics that included research positions at Caltech and CERN, and a professorship at the University of Southampton in England, he became interested in parallel computing and moved into computer science. In the 1980’s he was one of the pioneers of distributed memory message-passing computing and co-wrote the first draft of the successful MPI message-passing standard.

After being both Head of Department and Dean of Engineering at Southampton, Tony Hey escaped to lead the U.K.’s ground-breaking ‘eScience’ initiative in 2001. He recognized the importance of Big Data for science and wrote one of the first papers on the ‘Data Deluge’ in 2003. He joined Microsoft in 2005 as a Vice President and was responsible for Microsoft’s global university research engagements. He worked with Jim Gray and his multidisciplinary eScience research group and edited a tribute to Jim called ‘The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery.’ Hey left Microsoft in 2014 and spent a year as a Senior Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute at the University of Washington. He returned to the UK in November 2015 and is now Chief Data Scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

In 1987 Tony Hey was asked by Caltech Nobel physicist Richard Feynman to write up his ‘Lectures on Computation’. This covered such unconventional topics as the thermodynamics of computing as well as an outline for a quantum computer. Feynman’s introduction to the workings of a computer in terms of the actions of a ‘dumb file clerk’ was the inspiration for Tony Hey’s attempt to write a popular book about computer science: ‘The Computing Universe: A Journey through a Revolution’.

Tony Hey is a fellow of the ACM and of the AAAS in the US and also of the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE by Prince Charles for his ‘services to science.’

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, OBE, Degree of Doctor of Science

Professor Lord Patel has an outstanding international reputation for his work on mental health, alcohol and drug use, and in identifying the health and social care needs of a broad range of vulnerable people and communities.

A qualified social worker and academic, his work is distinguished by his insistence that the subjects of any research, whether they be individuals, community groups, or organisations, should benefit from being part of that research. To this end, he has developed a series of acclaimed projects based on models of community engagement and organisational change.

Lord Patel has extensive experience of working at the highest levels of government across a range of departments such as Communities and Local Government, Health, and the Home Office.   He chaired the government’s review of drug treatment in prisons, and contributed to the 2005 mental health programme and the 2007 extremism strategy. He was appointed to the House of Lords as an independent Life Peer in June 2006. 

Lord Patel has, over the years, been appointed to a number of national boards and committees. He is currently the Vice President of the Royal Society for Public Health and the Institute for Health Care Management, and is Chairman or Patron of over 30 not-for-profit organisations across England.

Professor Subra Suresh, Degree of Doctor of Science

Subra Suresh is President and Distinguished University Professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.  He was previously president of Carnegie Mellon University, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering, where he is the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering Emeritus.

His research into engineered and biological materials has been published in over 300 scientific articles and 25 patent applications, and has led to scientific discoveries and technological applications at the intersections of engineering, sciences and medicine.  Among his many honors are the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute, the European Materials Medal of the Federation of European Materials Societies, and the Timoshenko and Nadai Medals from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Suresh is one of only a small number of Americans to be elected to the National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He has received several presidential honors: Presidential Young Investigator Award from the Reagan White House; nomination by President Barack Obama and unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve as the director of NSF; and the Padma Shri award from the President of India, one the highest civilian honors from the Indian government.

Honorary degrees awarded in previous years

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

2017

Fiona Dalton, Doctor of Science

Professor John Shepherd, CBE, FRS, Doctor of Science

Professor Brian P. Schmidt, AC, FAA, FRS, Doctor of Science

Dr Sarah J. Caddick, PhD, Doctor of Science

Mr Steve Etches, MBE, Doctor of Science

The Honourable Mrs Justice Roberts, DBE, Doctor of Letters

2016

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Honorary Doctor of Science

Stefan Buczacki, Honorary Doctor of Letters

Professor Zhu Chongshi, Honorary Doctor of Science

John Denham, Honorary Doctor of Science

Judith Gillow MBE, Honorary Doctor of Science

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

William McKee CBE, Honorary Doctor of Letters

Professor George Stevenson, Honorary Doctor of Science

2015

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

2014

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

2013

Chris Packham

Professor Zhong-Qun Tian

Dame Valerie Strachan

Stuart Popham

Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger DBE

Professor Richard Holdaway CBE

Professor John Craven

2012

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

2011

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

2010

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

2009

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

2000s

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)

1990s

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)

1980s

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)

1970s

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)

1960s

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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