Summer Graduation: Heroes, leaders, record-breakers – and a little bit of rock n roll

A record number of students, together with their families and friends, will pack Brighton's Dome for this summer's University of Sussex Graduation, making the ceremonies the hottest ticket in town.

And in the tradition of sell-out shows, the three days of celebration (20-22 July) will feature a rousing welcome from master of ceremonies, University of Sussex Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar.

The star turns come courtesy of 2,335 graduating students and five honorary graduates, all leaders and groundbreakers in their fields. They include legendary guitarist Jeff Beck (the Yardbirds, the Jeff Beck Group), who will be made an honorary Doctor of Music at one of the ceremonies for his services to the music industry and continuing support of music students.

In a show of unprecedented demand, all guest tickets were snapped up within two hours of going on sale for four out of the five ceremonies

Around 8,000 graduating students, family members and friends are expected at this summer's events and thousands more will watch students collect their degrees on a giant screen erected in the adjacent Corn Exchange and streamed live across the world.

The 2,335 graduating students represent ninety countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and all points in between.

The events also provide an opportunity for Sussex to recognise distinguished achievement in academic and other fields by awarding honorary degrees. This summer, they will be awarded to: 

  • Groundbreaking guitarist Jeff Beck, whose stellar career includes six Grammy awards and the rare honour of being inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame;
  • Soldier Johnson Beharry VC, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for "repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour" during a military operation in Iraq in 2004;
  • Economics Professor David Blanchflower, who was an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England from 2006 until 2009;
  • Artificial Intelligence expert Geoffrey Hinton;
  • Gastroenterologist and expert in coeliac disease Professor Parveen Kumar, who, in 2000, was made a CBE for services to medicine.

The main attraction will be the 2,335 graduating students, who include:

  • Katie Birks, Bethany Whatling, Alexander Bruno, Danny Baker, Matt Pellant, Charlotte Romer, Adam Alexander and Fernand Frimpong - a team of media, film and informatics students who took time out to make a film taking a nostalgic look at life at Sussex for the graduation ceremonies;
  • Eminent scientist and Professor Norman Billingham, who crossed over to the art side in retirement to study literature and the creative arts;
  • Top-scoring history student Owen Emmerson, who interviewed Lord Montagu of Beaulieu for his dissertation;
  • Father and son Dr Neil Munro and Harry Munro, who will be graduating at the same ceremony;
  • Student of English Rebecca Partos, whose passion for politics has led to a new career in research;
  • Neuroscience student and University sporting star Richard Lynch, who helped to coach Brighton youngsters in his spare time;
  • Bruce Warwick, the third of three siblings to graduate from Sussex;
  • Toni Griffiths, the third generation of her family to graduate from Sussex.

Video of the five ceremonies will be streamed live on the Sussex website - go to:

Notes for Editors


Extra guest tickets are still available for the Friday morning ceremony, when graduands from the School of Education and Social Work will collect their awards.

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

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Last updated: Thursday, 4 August 2011