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Bulletin - 15th July 2005

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Peace campaigner and former Pavilion head among honoraries

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The University will award four honorary degrees at the graduation ceremonies this month. 'The achievements and values of our honorary graduates resonate strongly with the ambitions and values of the University,' says the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith.


Photo of Paul Oestreicher
Paul Oestreicher
Photo of Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Photo of David Watson
David Watson
Photo of Jessica Rutherford
Jessica Rutherford

German by birth, Dr Paul Oestreicher and his family fled to New Zealand in 1939 to escape Nazi persecution. He studied politics, which led to lifelong interests in Marxism and pacifism, as well as shaping his ministry in the Church. (Dr Oestreicher combines his Anglican priesthood with membership of the Society of Friends and is now Quaker Chaplain to the University of Sussex.)

Dr Oestreicher's career reflects his devotion to peace and reconciliation. He is vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) as well as trustee of the University of Bradford School of Peace Studies and founder trustee of the Dresden Trust. He was for many years director of the Centre for International Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral. Other significant roles include chairmanship of Amnesty International UK and membership of the Church of England's General Synod.

The struggle against apartheid has been an important part of his life. He currently works with his wife (Dr Barbara Einhorn, Reader in Gender Studies at Sussex) for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and was actively involved in the campaign to free the Israeli nuclear whistle blower, Mordechai Vanunu.


Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, has been described as 'the world's most controversial evolutionary biologist'.

Publication of his first best-selling book, The Selfish Gene, in 1976, thrust him into the limelight with its provocative thesis that competition in natural selection was through genes, not species or individuals, and that humans were merely 'gene survival machines'.

His reputation is reinforced by his later works, which include The Extended Phenotype (1982) and The Blind Watchmaker (1986) - a riposte to the creationists, as well as his willingness to speak openly about his views on religion and the likelihood of a godless universe. Since 1996 he has been vice-president of the British Humanist Association.

His many awards and achievements include a Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Literary Prize in 1987 for The Blind Watchmaker, the 1989 Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London and the 1990 Royal Society Michael Faraday Award for the furtherance of the public understanding of science. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997.


Professor Sir David Watson, who retires as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton this year, has contributed widely to the development of higher education in the UK and was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education.

He joined Brighton Polytechnic in 1990 as director and since that time has overseen many major changes. The polytechnic became the University of Brighton in 1992 and is now one of the leading new universities in the country for both teaching and research.

Sir David has been involved with many of the major developments in higher education. He was among the first members to serve on the new Funding Councils set up in 1988 and 1992. He was a member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's National Commission on Education, and of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, chaired by Sir Ron Dearing. He has chaired the Long Term Strategy Group of Universities UK for the past six years.


Jessica Rutherford, who served as director of the Royal Pavilion and Head of Libraries and Museums for Brighton and Hove from 1997 to 2004, played an important part in preserving the city's rich cultural heritage.

As director, she was responsible for the management of the city's historic buildings, museums, libraries and art galleries, comprising 280 staff, 30 buildings and an annual gross budget of £8.1 million.

As an author, Ms Rutherford has also made her own unique contribution to the literary heritage of the iconic Royal Pavilion, with her book A Prince's Passion: The life of the Royal Pavilion.

Currently a director of the Gardner Arts Centre on campus and a member of the University Court, Ms Rutherford has also served as a member of Council (the University's governing body) and as a trustee of the University's Barlow Collection of Chinese ceramics, bronzes and jade.

She has also been a Council member and member of the management committee for the Charleston Trust, the charity that maintains the former East Sussex home of artists from the Bloomsbury Group.

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