Honouring a host of Olympic heroes

25 Jun 2013 18:54:06.103

PA 212/13

A Paralympic gold medallist and a gold award-winning Olympic canoeing duo will be part of the graduation celebrations at The University of Nottingham.

Paralympic athlete Richard Whitehead MBE will join canoeing champions Tim Baillie MBE and Etienne Stott MBE, to receive honorary degrees at this year’s summer graduation ceremonies along with ten other distinguished guests.

The University is conferring the honorary degrees in recognition of the group’s exceptional achievements in sport, the arts, academia, business, public service, charity and the community.

The guests will join thousands of successful students who will formally receive their degrees and become graduates of the University during ceremonies from 9- 19 July, held on the main University Park campus.

Click here for full story

London 2012 gold winners

Double leg amputee Richard Whitehead is a world record holder in full and half marathons and he’s also one of the world’s best sprinters and the current Paralympic and world champion in the T42 200m. Since his first marathon in 2004, Richard has run more than twenty marathons. In 2009, he became the first leg amputee to break the three hour mark for a marathon and he also broke the half marathon world record with an incredible run of 1 hour 14.14 minutes. Richard is to be awarded the degree of Master of Arts on 9 July at 11am.

Baillie and Stott

Canoeing legends Tim Baillie and Etienne Stot, who are both Nottingham alumni, won gold at London 2012 in the canoe slalom. This historic win was not their first, and the duo had their first major success in 2009 at the European Championships held in Nottingham, where they won a bronze medal. The pair were also crowned European team champions in 2011, and received a bronze medal in the team event at the 2011 World Championships. Tim and Etienne will both be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws on 16 July at 11am.

Sporting talent

Completing the sporting line-up in this year’s honours is Nottingham alumnus Campbell Walsh and legendary cyclist Bryan Steel. Campbell Walsh won a silver medal for Great Britain at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He has twice finished third at the World Championships and has won both the World Cup series and European Championships. Campbell retired from competition at the end of 2012 and now coaches the New Zealand team. He is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws.

Bryan Steel made it to the British cycling team at a time when it was not recognised for excellence. He participated in a revolutionary change management programme that catapulted them to the world stage and Bryan with it, going on to win on the world and Olympic stage. Bryan now shares the secrets of his success through his own development programme. He is to be awarded the degree of Master of Arts on 10 July at 11am.

Distinguished guests

Other guests who will receive honorary degrees are:

Film director and sound designer Gary Rydstrom

Gary has had a long and illustrious career and whilst working at Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound, he has worked on films including Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Toy Story, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, Finding Nemo and War Horse. He has won seven Academy Awards for sound and sound editing, and Career Achievement Awards from both the Cinema Audio Society and Motion Picture Sound Editors. He previously directed two shorts for Pixar Animation Studios - the Oscar-nominated ‘Lifted’ and ‘Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation.’ Gary Rydstrom is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters on 9 July at 11am.

Geoffrey C Bond OBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire

Geoffrey Bond is a lawyer, businessman and broadcaster. He has been the director of a number of public and private companies during his career.

Later, Geoffrey became a broadcaster and appeared in both films and on television - he was one of the original experts on the Antiques Roadshow.

He was Sheriff of the City of London in 2004 and has been the Master of a number of city livery companies. He has also worked for many years on Norwegian affairs creating a major business scholarship between Oslo and London.

Geoffrey Bond is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws on 10 July at 11am.

Dr John Dunford OBE (alumnus)

John Dunford is chair of three organisations: Whole Education, the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors and WorldWide Volunteering and is a governor of the primary school in his home village.

John was general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders from 1998 to 2010. Prior to that, he was a member of the leadership team of three secondary schools in the north-east of England from 1974 to 1998, including 16 years as head of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School.

During the autumn of 2010, John conducted an independent review of the Office of the Children's Commissioner, reporting to the Secretary of State for Education. He has recently co-authored reports on academy chains and on the leadership of free schools.

He was a member of the councils of the universities of Nottingham and Durham for six and 11 years respectively. In 1994 John was awarded the OBE for services to education. Dr Dunford is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws on11 July at 11am.

Professor Dame Janet Thornton (alumna)

After graduating in Physics from The University of Nottingham in 1970, Janet studied for her Ph.D. in Biophysics at the National Institute for Medical Research. She then moved to Oxford, where she worked in molecular biophysics before taking up a Fellowship in 1980 at Birkbeck College, University of London. 

In 1990 she was appointed Professor and Director of 'Biomolecular Structure and Modelling Unit' at University College London and later was also appointed to the Bernal Chair in the Crystallography Department at Birkbeck College.

Her research is focused on understanding the structure, function and evolution of proteins using computational approaches.

In 1999 Janet was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of EMBO in 2000. In 2002 she was appointed Extraordinary Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge and Honorary Professor, University of Cambridge and in 2003 she was elected a Foreign Associate Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2012 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the British Empire. Professor Dame Janet Thornton is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Science on 12 July at 11am.

Mr John Robinson (alumnus)

John Robinson is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He started his career in fund management in Hong Kong, initially with the Thornton Group and then with Jupiter.

Jupiter was the most successful asset management group in the UK in the1990’s. It dominated the Unit Trust market and was one of the biggest players in Investment Trusts. John ran the overseas business of Jupiter until his retirement in 2000.

John then chaired The Asset Management Group, an international investment advisory group and also N & R Properties, a UK property development group.

John has been involved with The University of Nottingham for many years. He was admitted to the College of Benefactors in 2006 and served on the Council of the University until 2012. Mr John Robinson is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws on 15 July at 11am.

Mike Kenny

Mike Kenny is one of England’s leading writers specialising in young people’s theatre. He was included in the Independent on Sunday’s list of top ten living playwrights and his plays are performed regularly throughout the UK and all over the world.

In 2000, he was Arts Council England’s first recipient of The Children’s Award for Playwriting for Children and Young People. His adaptation of ‘The Railway Children’ for York Theatre Royal, in association with The National Railway Museum, played for two sell-out seasons in York before opening at a purpose-built theatre at Waterloo Station, London, where it won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.

In Canada, ‘The Railway Children’ won the People’s Choice Award following its record-breaking run in Toronto and ‘Electric Darkness’ recently won the 2012 Deutscher Kindertheaterpreis. Mike Kenny is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters on 16 July at 3pm.

Oswald Newell MBE

Oswald Newell is a retired director of AMEC Plc - a large multi-national project management and construction services group. A professional manager and a chartered engineer who was responsible for engineering on a worldwide basis and for the profitability of 17 companies internationally, mainly in the oil & gas sector of the energy industry.

In August 1999 he suffered a stroke and has worked tirelessly ever since as a volunteer in the health service, almost on a daily basis. He represented patients from the East Midlands at a Summit Conference held in Parliament prior to the launch of the National Stroke Strategy.

Oswald Newell is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws on 17 July at 11am.

Jane Todd, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council (alumna)

Jane has held top posts at Nottingham City Council, including Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Development and Environmental Services.

Jane oversaw the regeneration of Nottingham’s Canalside, the establishment of Nottingham Regeneration Ltd and Greater Nottingham Transport Partnership and was responsible for Nottingham being awarded Transport Authority of the Year.

She left the authority to take up the post of Regional Director of the Government Office East Midlands, overseeing the implementation of LAAs across the East Midlands, European programmes and taking the regional lead on Home Office issues such as crime.

Her last appointment took her to Whitehall, as Transformation Director for the Government Office Network. Jane left Department for Communities and Local Government and started as Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council in May 2008. Jane is to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, on 18 July at 3pm.

More information about graduation is available here.


For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter or find out more on our Press Office blog

Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Charlotte Anscombe, Media Relations & Campaign Manager, Marketing, Communications & Recruitment, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 74 84 417, charlotte.anscombe @nottingham.ac.u


Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Related articles

John Robinson 1960-2013

Published Date
Wednesday 18th September 2013

The University of Nottingham recognises honorary graduates

Published Date
Wednesday 19th December 2012

Recognising exceptional achievement

Published Date
Friday 6th December 2013

Graduation celebrations for the class of 2015

Published Date
Friday 3rd July 2015

Honorary Doctorate for former Nottingham Lord Mayor

Published Date
Wednesday 25th July 2012

Current and future Paralympic stars head to Nottingham

Published Date
Wednesday 8th June 2011

Nottingham athletes target Commonwealth success

Published Date
Tuesday 8th July 2014

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798
email: pressoffice@nottingham.ac.uk