Famous graduates

“One of the markers of a great university is the quality of its alumni. We have a very large community of successful alumni, playing leading roles in education, business and the business sector and of course, it is a genuinely multinational community.”

Professor David Greenaway, former Vice-Chancellor

From Nobel prize winners to Olympic gold medallists, leading edge scientists, international politicians, journalists, novelists and actresses, Nottingham’s alumni continue to make significant contributions in their chosen fields all over the world.

Of course, Nottingham's most famous former student is novelist DH Lawrence. For more information, visit the DH Lawrence website.

More recent noteworthy graduates include:

  • Dr Stewart Adams OBE, Pharmacologist, created the painkiller Ibuprofen
  • Tim Martin is the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon
  • Dr Amanda Horton-Mastin is Director of Innovation at Comic Relief 
  • Sir John Sawers is the head of MI6
  • Andrew Witty - former Chancellor of the University, and former Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKline.

Nobel winners

2003 saw The University of Nottingham gain recognition with two major awards:

  • Alumnus Sir Clive Granger won the 2003 Nobel Prize for Economic Science
  • staff member and Emeritus Professor, Sir Peter Mansfield, won his for pioneering work in developing Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Arts and the media

Nottingham Alumni have also been active in the arts and media. Former University of Nottingham students include:

  • Ruth Wilson, actress - nominated for BAFTAs and Golden Globe Awards for her portrayal as Jane Eyre in the BBC mini series
  • Haydn Gwynne, actress - well known for her roles on the stage and TV
  • Helen Willetts - meteorologist and broadcaster
  • Jim Moir – Head of BBC Radio 2
  • Matthew Bannister -  broadcaster and former BBC Head of Production
  • Jeff Randall - the BBC’s former Business Editor and now presenter of Jeff Randall Live on Sky News

Nottingham alumni have been active in media ownership.

  • Lord Hollick is former CEO of United News and Media
  • Sir Robert Phillis is former Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group and Deputy Director-General of the BBC


London 2012 saw the University continue its strong Olympic tradition, with Nottingham alumni picking up five medals in the competition.

  • Canoe experts Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie took Great Britain’s first Olympic golds in Mens Slalom C-2
  • David Florence won a silver medal in the Mens Slalom C-2
  • Chris Bartley took silver as part of his team in the Men’s lightweight coxless four Rowing event
  • Anne Panter was a Bronze medal winner as part of the Women’s Field Hockey squad

These medallists head an amazing list of sporting alumni elite which includes:

  • Beijing Olympic gold and bronze medalist, sprint kayaker, Tim Brabants
  • Deng Yaping - former international table tennis champion and Chinese Sports Personality of the Century
  • Campbell Walsh - former World canoeing champion
  • Dr Kristan Bromley - former World and European bobsled champion
  • Brian Moore - former England and Lions hooker
  • Roger Lewis - Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union
DH Lawrence

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