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Press release

  • 24 February 2005
  • Winter graduation ceremonies 2005

    Key figures from the worlds of theatre, politics and economics will be awarded honorary degrees at the University of Sussex winter graduation ceremonies this week.

    They will join more than 500 students, their families and friends on Friday 25 February at Brighton Dome where the University Chancellor, Lord Attenborough, will confer degrees, diplomas and certificates at two ceremonies, starting at 10.15am and 3.15pm.

    Three honorary degrees will be conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions made by the recipients in their special fields.

    Theatre director Michael Attenborough, son of Lord Attenborough and a Sussex graduate, will be made a Doctor of Letters. His 30-year career in the theatre has included 12 years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and artistic directorship of the world-renowned Almeida Theatre, London. He is currently vice-chairman of RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).

    Margaret Sharp, Baroness Sharp of Guildford, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords who speaks on issues of education, skills and science policy, will be made a Doctor of Laws. A former academic with the University of Sussex, she worked with the Sussex European Research Centre (now Sussex European Institute) and SPRU (then known as the Science Policy Research Unit).

    Danuta Hübner, one of Poland's foremost economists and the country's first European Commissioner, will be made a Doctor of Laws. She has held several key governmental posts in Poland. In 1974, she became a visiting scholar to the University's Centre for European Studies.

    Students graduating this week also include:

    • Benie MacDonald, 53, who will be awarded a doctorate in psychology for her research into obsessive compulsive disorders. Dr MacDonald took up study following a personal tragedy and now teaches at the University.
    • Biologist Emma Cox, who is one of the first students in the world to be awarded an MSc in plant conservation and seed banking. The course provided training at the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, where plant seeds are collected and stored to save plant species from extinction. She also worked on a project to help preserve the rare bee orchid, a native variety found on the Sussex Downs.


    Notes for editors 

    • Additional information is available on honorary degree recipients and case studies
    • For photographs of honorary degree recipients, please contact Mark at Spoton Design ( Tel. 01273 500009

    Press Office contacts: Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune, University of Sussex, Tel: 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or



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