Fry’s delight as he joins record student numbers at graduation

Sanjeev Bhaskar and Stephen Fry

Writer and comedian Stephen Fry will be joining a record number of graduating students at the University of Sussex Winter Graduation ceremony at Brighton Dome this Friday (28 January 2011).

Stephen Fry is being awarded an honorary Doctor of the University degree in recognition of his contributions to campaigns for people living with bipolarity, mental health issues and AIDS/HIV.

He will be presented at the ceremony by fellow campaigner writer and broadcaster Simon Fanshawe, who is Chair of Council, the University's governing body.

The high-achieving and highly popular personality, who can count numerous films, TV programmes, books and awards among his successes, said that "Sussex just about ruled the world". Fry added that he "couldn't be happier or prouder"  about being made an honorary Doctor of the University at Friday's afternoon ceremony.

The eminent theoretical chemist Professor David Clary, who is Chief Scientific Advisor to the Commonwealth Office, will also be honoured when he is made Doctor of Science at the morning ceremony. Currently President of Magadalen College Oxford, Professor Clary is this year the recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Liversidge Award for his many contributions to his field of research.

The winter ceremonies are mainly for those receiving postgraduate qualifications such as masters degrees, doctorates and Post Graduate Certificates of Education.

The University's Chancellor, Sanjeev Bhaskar, will be meeting nearly 1,000 students graduating in person during the day, out of a total of more than 1350 graduating students - a 38 per cent increase in students graduating in person at the winter ceremony.

The international appeal of the University of Sussex is reflected in the number of graduating students from countries outside the UK, with family and friends travelling to Brighton from every continent. More than 120 countries are represented, including Afghanistan, Mongolia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru and Vietnam, as well as India, China, and the United States.

Among those students graduating will be:

  • Kathy Walker who has achieved her ambition to become a maths teacher despite being profoundly deaf;
  • David Novelli, a chef and football fan who was the first member of his family to go to university, and whose research on crowd behaviour, inspired by his time on the terraces, has earned him international recognition;
  • Carmen Gheoldus who came to Sussex from Romania and held down three jobs to pay her way through postgraduate study but still found time to help fellow students and land a top job;~
  • Geoffrey Whitfield, who is graduating aged 77 with a Masters degree in conflict studies following a lifetime devoted to young people and promoting peace around the world through sport.

The audience will hear from the Chancellor and the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, who will list the notable achievements of the University in the past year, including its rise up the league tables, the addition of state-of-the-art facilities and accommodation on campus and the significant research achievements of its academics.

Professor Farthing says: "It is wonderful to welcome students, their families and friends to the biggest Winter Graduation ceremony to date for the University of Sussex.

"The University is delighted to recognise the enormous achievements in both the arts and the sciences, as represented by Stephen Fry and Professor David Clary - and we are equally proud that the Sussex name will be represented at home and in all parts of the world by our talented and high-achieving graduates."

Notes for Editors


The Winter Graduation ceremonies take place at 10am and at 3.15pm on Friday, 28 January 2011 at Brighton Dome, Brighton.

The ceremonies will be broadcast live via the web. To view, visit:

For further enquiries, contact the University of Sussex Press office .

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jacqui Bealing and Daniëlle Treanor. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

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Last updated: Saturday, 29 January 2011