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Remarkable people honoured at summer graduation

A folk heroine, an historical novelist, and a leading South African judge and human rights campaigner are among the ten remarkable people who will be receiving honorary degrees at this week’s University of Sussex graduation ceremonies.

The degrees will be conferred by the Chancellor, Sanjeev Bhaskar, during the celebrations at the Dome in Brighton, from 18-22 July, when more than 3,500 students will also be celebrating their own academic success.

The University has been awarding honorary doctorates for more than 50 years to people who have achieved excellence in public and academic life.

Mr Bhaskar said: “It is always such an honour to meet those who have been recognised for excellence. Their stories are always inspiring and humbling, and remind us that truly great achievements involve determination and endeavour as much as brilliance.”

This summer’s honorary doctorate recipients are:

  • Professor Judy Sebba (Doctor of the University, Monday morning): former Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of Education and Social Work at Sussex and now Director of the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education at the University of Oxford, whose work focuses on the educational progress of children in care.
  • Sara Miller McCune (Doctor of the University, Tuesday morning): founder of SAGE Publishing in 1965, aged just 24. Her aim was to start a company that would allow scholars to disseminate quality research in their own voices.
  • Dr Philippa Gregory (Doctor of Literature, Wednesday morning): Sussex alumna and philanthropist whose 15 historical novels include the widely acclaimed The Other Boleyn Girl.
  • Shirley Collins (Doctor of Music, Wednesday afternoon): Hastings-born singer who has championed the revival of folk music in the UK and the US for more than 50 years.
  • Professor Jonathan Ashmore (Doctor of Science, Thursday morning): Sussex alumnus whose internationally recognised research in biophysics has led to a greater understanding of how our eyes and our ears work.
  • Torsten Reil (Doctor of Science, Thursday afternoon): Sussex alumnus whose innovative approach to creating natural movement in video games led to the creation of his NaturalMotion software company.
  • Professor Dr Sahol Hamid bin Abu Bakar (Doctor of Science, Thursday afternoon): Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, who introduced a pioneering widening-participation project.

  • Justice Edwin Cameron (Doctor of Laws, Friday morning): Justice of South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, since 2009, human rights lawyer and author of a prizewinning memoir, Witness to AIDS.
  • Baroness Lola Young OBE (Doctor of the University, Friday afternoon): an advisor on policy and diversity issues, she currently chairs ‘The Young Review: Improving Outcomes for Young Black and Muslim Men in the Criminal Justice System and Agenda: the Alliance for Girls and Women at Risk’.

The University applies a strict criteria in deciding who should be offered an honorary degree. A panel of representatives of the University’s academic, student and governing bodies assesses nominees based on factors such as their academic excellence and the role they may have played in contributing to progress or change in society.

Previous recipients have included publicly celebrated figures such as Sir Paul McCartney, Noel Coward and Virginia Wade.


Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Monday, 18 July 2016

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