They are honoured!

December saw us hold our winter graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2023, where we welcomed over 4,000 new graduates to the alumni community.

The ceremonies also gave us the chance to celebrate a number of pioneering alumni and friends of the university with honorary degrees, as well as presenting a few outstanding alumni awards of our own.

One of the highlights of the ceremonies had to be Nottingham icon, fashion designer Sir Paul Smith receiving his honorary degree – with specially designed mortar boards! Read on to meet Paul and a few others...

Sir Paul Smith. Image credit: Lisa Gilligan-Lee

Sir Paul Smith. Image credit: Lisa Gilligan-Lee

Sir Paul Smith

What else is there to say about this icon of the fashion world? 

He opened his first shop in Nottingham in 1970, selling other established brands as well as his own creations. In 1976, he debuted his first menswear collection in Paris under his eponymous label. Now a global business, Paul Smith is sold in more than 70 countries and 3,000 retail stores.

Sir Paul became an honorary Doctor of Letters, in recognition of his contribution to the fashion industry through the international brand he has built since opening his first store in Nottingham in 1970, and the partnership which his company has forged with the university to support the city’s business growth, investment, and global profile.

Read more about our partnership > 

Caucher Birkar

Caucher Birkar's (Mathematics PhD, 2004) extraordinary story of dedication and ambition took him to the pinnacle of the mathematical world, when he was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal in 2019.

He was also appointed Honorary Professor here at Nottingham in 2021 before returning in December to receive his richly deserved honorary degree as a Doctor of Science.

Read our interview with Caucher Birkar >

Madeline Pizzoni

Captain Madeline Pizzoni (Nursing, 2013) – Maddie to you and I – pilots a helicopter for a living! Our 2021 Alumni Award winner even took part in a special flypast for Captain Tom Moore's 100th birthday celebrations in 2020.

Her dedication to her career is exemplified by overcoming a serious knee injury two-thirds of the way into her training, which took 12 months to recover from.

Read our 'My Office' with Maddie >

Smile for the camera!

A few more of our honorary graduates, alumni speakers and other special degree recipients were captured on the day. From left to right: Sir Paul Smith, sports scholar Jiaqi Meng, alumni speaker Lukeki Kaindama (Biochemistry and Genetics, 2011), honorary graduate Norma Gregory (Education, 2010), honorary graduate Professor John Beckett and alumni speaker Emily Dixon (Chemistry, 2023).