University of Sussex Media Release.

24 January 2000
For immediate release

Nearly 600 students, together with family and friends, will gather at the Gardner Arts Centre for the University of Sussex Winter Graduation ceremonies this week. The ceremonies will be held on Thursday 27 January and Friday 28 January.

The degrees, diplomas and certificates will be conferred by the Chancellor of the University, Lord Attenborough.

Four honorary degrees will also be presented this year:

Thurs am
Bob Copper - renowned Sussex folk singer, who will receive the degree of Master of Arts

Thurs pm
Max Kochmann - refugee from Nazi Germany and chairman of the support group for the German-Jewish Centre at the University of Sussex, who will receive the degree of Doctor of the University

Fri am
Humphrey Spender - photographer and designer and one of the first participants in the Mass-Observation project (now based at the University of Sussex), who will receive the degree of Doctor of Letters

Fri pm
Dr George Poste - an internationally recognised expert in genetics and cancer and until recently Chief Science and Technology Officer at SmithKline Beecham, who will receive the degree of Doctor of Science.

Notes for editors

If you wish to send a photographer and/or reporter to cover any of the ceremononies, please contact Alison Field, Communications Officer, University of Sussex Tel: 01273 678888, Fax: 01273 877456, email:

For an electronic version of this release or more information about the University, visit Sussex on the Web at: To receive University of Sussex releases by email, please email Include the name of your media outlet, your title, postal address, phone and fax numbers, and the headline of this news release.


Bob Copper

Often referred to as 'England's First Family of Folk', the Coppers have been living in and around the village of Rottingdean for some 400 years and have kept alive the tradition of singing farming songs for at least the past two centuries. Bob Copper, now 85, still sings and performs some 60 traditional songs with his son John, daughter Jill and his six grandchildren. He worked as a farm labourer before joining the Household Cavalry in 1933. Between 1936 and 1947 he was a detective constable for West Sussex Constabulary. Since 1946 he has gained an international reputation as a writer, broadcaster and folk singer. He is a patron of the Hilaire Belloc Society and the author of several books, including A Song for Every Season (winner of the Robert Pitman prize in 1971), Songs and Southern Breezes (1973), Early to Rise (1976), Across Sussex With Belloc (1994) and Bob Copper's Sussex (1997).

Max Kochmann

Born in Berlin in 1921, Max Kochmann arrived in England in March 1939 as a refugee from Nazi oppression. He took up an apprenticeship as a toolmaker and worked in the manufacture of armaments during the Second World War, while taking part-time studies in engineering and economics. In 1960 he started his own company, Pafra Ltd, to manufacture industrial synthetic adhesives and later added an engineering company to design and market adhesive application equipment. In 1994 he was introduced to Professor Edward Timms at the University of Sussex and helped to establish the German-Jewish Centre, the objective of which is to study the contribution of German-Jewish communities to modern life. He also a member of the Executive of the Association of Jewish Refugees and a member of the Council of the Otto Schiff Housing Association, which provides residential care and sheltered housing for 250 victims of Nazi oppression.

Humphrey Spender

Although his first interest was in art and design, Humphrey Spender has dedicated most of his working life to photography. During the late 1930s became a documentary photographer, mainly for the Daily Mirror as "Lensman" and Picture Post. During 1937 and 1938 he joined the newly established Mass-Observation investigation team to document life in Bolton. He produced some 800 photographs, which have appeared in books and other publications and have featured in television programmes. An exhibition of the photographs was held at the University of Sussex, now home to the Mass-Observation Archive, in 1997. He became a War Office Official Photographer in 1942 and later worked in the photo-interpretation unit identifying rocket launch sites and making maps for the D-Day landings. After the war, he resumed his interest in art and design and painting, and has held exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery in London, the Museum of London and the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford.

Dr George Poste

Dr Poste is Chief Executive Officer of Health Technology Networks, a consulting group that specialises in the impact of genetics, computing and other advanced technologies on healthcare R&D and Internet-based systems for healthcare delivery. From 1992-99 he was an executive director of pharmaceuticals company SmithKline Beecham and its Chief Science and Technology Officer. Dr Poste is an internationally recognised expert in genetics and cancer and has served on many government committees in the UK and the USA related to science and technology policy. He is currently a member of the Human Genetics Advisory Committee in the UK and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, the National Academy of Medicine and the Royal Society. He was awarded a CBE in 1999 for his contributions to the development of biosciences. Born in Polegate, East Sussex, he now divides his time between the UK and the USA.

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