A Titanic actor, climate change trailblazer and banking boss: Meet UEA’s newest honorary graduates
PUBLISHED: 12:29 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:29 11 June 2019
Debby Besford/UEA/Elizabeth Handy
A Lord of the Rings actor, a former Virgin Money boss and the scientist who helped discover hepatitis C are among 20 leaders in their fields who will become honorary graduates of a Norfolk university next month.
The group will be awarded their honorary degrees from the University of East Anglia (UEA) at the institution's graduation ceremonies between July 15 and 19.
Among the recipients are Bernard Hill, who has acted in Hollywood blockbusters Lord of the Rings and Titanic, Apple Tree Yard author Louise Doughty and former Virgin Money chief executive Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia.
Honorary degrees are awarded annually to acknowledge individuals for outstanding accomplishments in their field or for notable contributions to the community.
UEA vice chancellor David Richardson said: "We're fortunate to have a really diverse group of honorary graduates this year, who can list a host of truly exceptional achievements between them.
"I look forward to them receiving their well-deserved honours on graduation week and to hearing their words of advice for our graduating students."
Who are the UEA's honorary graduates for 2019?
Charles Barratt - honorary doctorate of civil law
Born and educated in Norfolk, Charles Barratt was until recently chairman of Norwich-based stockbroker Barratt and Cooke.
He has been active in the local community all his working life, from High Sheriff of Norfolk in 2010 to a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk today. He is also a trustee of organisations including the Norwich Cathedral Trust, Priscilla Bacon Hospice Care, and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.
Mr Barratt said: "I fail to put into words the honour I feel to become an honorary graduate of the UEA. Norfolk is the centre of my universe and UEA is at the very heart of it."
Louise Doughty - honorary doctorate of letters
The author of nine novels and five plays for radio, including Apple Tree Yard, which was adapted for BBC television in 2017. She has been nominated for multiple awards including the Costa Novel Award and Orange Prize for Fiction.
Ms Doughty studied a masters in creative writing at UEA and created the UEA crowdfunded BAME (black and minority ethnic) writers' scholarship, helping BAME students to enter the creative writing (prose) masters programme.
She said: "I was a rather immature 23-year-old when I came to UEA and I learned a huge amount when I was here, largely due to the trenchant criticism of my work that I received from my tutors and fellow students. It was a baptism of fire but by the end of it, I knew how much work I would have to do to become a professional author."
Her advice to graduates is: "Prepare for the long haul as very few successful careers begin in a flurry of acclaim. Building yourself as a novelist - and I'm sure many other professions - takes an enormous amount of hard work and ability to absorb criticism. There are no shortcuts."
John Fagan - honorary doctorate of civil law
An instrumental figure in building Norwich's national profile as a tach cluster. Mr Fagan co-founded the city's tech and start-up community SyncNorwich in 2012 which aims to promote and enable local tech business growth in Norwich and organises the annual 54-hour development challenge SyncTheCity.
His work has been hugely influential in helping UEA students find jobs and internships in the tech sector.
John said: "I am literally honoured, and very proud! It was most unexpected."
His advice for graduates is: "Get out of the house and get any job immediately, do your best at that job and be positive - there is no such a thing as good luck or bad luck. Engineer your own serendipity and remember that every interaction you have could lead to an opportunity."
Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia - honorary doctorate of civil law
A finance heavyweight whose career has spanned senior roles at Aviva, Virgin Direct, RBS and Virgin Money - where she was the first female chief executive of a publicly listed UK bank - and a prominent advocate for women in business and equality.
Dame Jayne-Anne is the co-founder and chief executive of Snoop, a new platform being designed to redress the balance of power between consumers and big business.
She said: "Having developed my early career in Norwich it is a great honour to be recognised in this way by UEA. My advice to new graduates is to be yourself, find your purpose and go change the world."
Mark Goyder - honorary doctorate of civil law
In 1996 Mark Goyder founded independent not-for-profit think tank Tomorrow's Company, which has been credited with setting a new agenda for responsible business and investment and laying the foundations for changes in company law.
A broadcaster and former Times columnist, Mr Goyder has advised and challenged business leaders and addressed audiences all over the world.
He said: "It is heart-warming to receive this honorary doctorate - an affirmation of my work and that of Tomorrow's Company over 25 years to inspire and enable business to be a force for good in society."
His advice for graduating students is: "Experience is the most important thing and it doesn't matter where you start, so don't wait for the perfect opportunity. Try different things, paid and unpaid and if you think there's a company or a person you'd like to work with just approach them, it's always worth knocking on the door."
Bernard Hill - honorary doctorate of letters
The BAFTA and Emmy nominated actor has enjoyed a long and successful career in film, television and theatre. On stage he has played a variety of roles including Macbeth while on television he is best known for his role as Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Black Stuff.
Mr Hill is one of few people to have starred in three Academy Award-winning best picture films: Gandhi (1982), Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
He said: "Such were the times that I lived in, I wasn't allowed to do sixth-form study. My father told me that he I had to leave school and get a job to help my mother and as a consequence, it was impossible for me to venture even remotely near a place in a university. This honorary degree is a perfect way for me to foil my father's well-meaning intent."
Bernardette Holmes - honorary doctorate of civil law
Bernardette Holmes MBE has played a crucial role in developing national language policy and in promoting the value of languages and cultural agility in business in the UK.
She advised the Department for Education on curriculum reform for modern languages and has led a British Academy policy research project encouraging a radical rethinking of languages education.
She said: "I am deeply touched that I have been nominated to receive this award and immensely grateful that my work has been recognised in this way."
Her advice for graduating students is: "Keep striving for a deeper understanding of the world around you, seek out the truth, welcome diversity and use your knowledge and abilities wisely in whatever ways you can to create a kinder and fairer world."
Michael Houghton - honorary doctorate of science
British scientist Michael Houghton is the co-discoverer of the hepatitis C virus and has been instrumental in key developments in detecting the disease in blood suppliers.
With his colleagues, he has identified drug targets and developed a vaccine which could potentially be effective against all strains of the virus and has won a number of national and international awards for his work.
He said: "I am deeply honoured and pleased to receive this honorary degree since my bachelor of science degree at UEA in 1972 set me on the path to a career in medical research.
"My advice to anyone graduating this summer would be to find your passion and go for it!"
David and Sarah Kowitz - honorary doctorates of civil law
David Kowitz is a managing partner and founder of Indus Capital Partners. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in English literature, spending a semester at UEA.
Sarah Kowitz is heavily involved with organisations in her local community of Hastings in East Sussex, where she is a deputy lieutenant and trustee of arts organisations.
Mr and Mrs Kowitz set up the Fairlight Arts Trust in 2012, which aims to raise the profile of Hastings and the coastal surrounds as a centre for internationally acclaimed art and music, and together they fund the Kowitz Scholarship at UEA, which supports students on the masters in creative writing (prose fiction) course.
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Sarah said: "I studied English literature at UEA and was fortunate to be taught by world class professors. It was a happy and stimulating time.
"My advice would be to stay close to people who are passionate and optimistic about what they do and don't be defined simply by your career."
Tim Luke - honorary doctorate of civil law
A vice chairman for Barclays' global technology and telecom investment banking practice, based in New York, and a senior adviser on business and technology policy to former prime minister David Cameron.
Prior to working at number 10, Mr Luke worked for 18 years at Lehman Brothers and Barclays in equity research. He is now on the board of Tech Nation, promoting the UK's tech sector.
Mr Luke said: "I am so grateful for my education and experience as an undergraduate at UEA. The UEA experience has always been about embracing what is new and innovative. Looking ahead, our enthusiasm to shape exciting, emerging growth fields seems more important than ever, whether it is in business, politics or the arts."
Gunther Kress - honorary doctorate of letters
A trailblazing figure in the field of multimodality studies, a social theory of communication, and regarded as one of the leading academics of the early 21st century.
He taught at UEA between 1971 and 1978 and has worked at the Institute of Education (now part of University College London) as professor of semiotics and education for nearly 30 years.
Prof Kress said: "Getting this award from UEA is special for me: its structures and its atmosphere had provided an environment that encouraged adventurousness and exploration in teaching and in conversations with students and colleagues."
His advice for graduating students is: "The world is much more complex now than it was even two decades ago. Be confident in your capacity to use the tools the degree has provide you with for thinking and doing according to what is best for you, and what you know is ethical and right."
Lucy Marks - honorary doctorate of civil law
The managing director of the Norfolk Network (NN), an organisation connecting entrepreneurs, founders and directors of start-ups and growing businesses in Norfolk.
Ms Marks has offered vital support for UEA's enterprises and entrepreneurship activities by linking the university community with businesses.
She said: "I'm deeply honoured and reflective on the last 14 years. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to meet such energetic and enthusiastic students and to collaborate with dynamic and inspirational colleagues at UEA and in the local business community.
Her advice to graduating students is: "Believe in yourself, continue to work hard, be curious and enjoy what you do. Reach out to people and build a supportive network. Never underestimate the value of meeting face to face."
Henry Marsh - honorary doctorate of civil law
A leading British neurosurgeon who specialises in operating on the brain under local anaesthetic. He has written two memoirs about his experiences in brain surgery which have been translated into 35 languages and have sold more than a million copies in the UK alone.
Dr Marsh continues to work pro bono as a neurosurgeon in Ukraine and Nepal, as well as part-time in the NHS.
Henry said: "To receive this is a considerable surprise and a great honour."
Michael Napier - honorary doctorate of laws
Michael Napier CBE was the senior partner of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for 30 years, helping it to grow from a small provincial firm into one of the top 20 law firms in the UK.
During 14 years as the attorney general's pro bono envoy he promoted initiatives by the legal profession and students in law schools to help meet otherwise un-met legal need.
Mr Napier said: "To receive this recognition from such a prestigious academic institution as the UEA is a considerable honour and privilege."
His advice to graduating students is: "Whatever you do and wherever you go in your career, do your utmost to make a difference to the world around you."
Camille O'Sullivan - honorary doctorate of letters
The singer and actress - and previously an award-winning architect and painter - has received international acclaim for her dramatic interpretations of the songs of Nick Cave, Brel, Tom Waits, Radiohead and more.
Her acting credits include Oscar-nominated Mrs Henderson Presents alongside Judi Dench.
She said: "I am absolutely honoured and delighted to be awarded this honorary degree, one of the absolute highlights of my life. Especially because it is coming from UEA - I fell in love with that part of England since we first started touring there and it is one of my favourite destinations."
Her advice for graduates is: "Be delighted with what you have achieved first of all, it's a big milestone in your life - and if there is something you have always wanted to try, just do it."
Ben Santer - honorary doctorate of science
Ben Santer graduated from UEA in 1976 and has become internationally renowned for his work on the detection and attribution of climate change. He was the lead author of a key chapter in a 1995 report which reported a "discernible human influence on global climate" - a finding now accepted by virtually all climate scientists.
He works as an atmospheric scientist at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California.
He said: "I have never received an honorary degree so this is deeply humbling."
Madhu Sarin - honorary doctorate of civil law
Madhu Sarin played a key role as a member of the Campaign for Survival and Dignity in India, which successfully secured the Forest Rights Act in 2006 - a breakthrough piece of legislation which recognises the individual and community forest rights of more than 200 million indigenous and other citizens living in and around forests in India.
She has also worked and co-authored papers with a number of academics in UEA's development school on topics including poverty alleviation and natural resource management.
Ms Sarin said: "It feels wonderful to have one's work recognised by a prestigious university."
Prof Odd Arne Westad - honorary doctorate of civil law
One of the world's foremost international historians and an expert on contemporary international history and the East Asian region.
He is currently professor of history and global affairs at Yale University, having previously taught at Harvard and London School of Economics, and is an honorary research fellow for UEA's school of history.
Prof Westad said: "For more than a decade I have spent part of my time in Norfolk and I feel a strong attachment to these parts. I was lucky enough to graduate from first-class state colleges, with excellent tutors, and I hope future UEA students will benefit from the same.
"If I can offer one piece of advice to the graduates, it must be this: never stop asking questions about things you don't understand or agree with."
Sir Gregory Winter - honorary doctorate of science
Sir Gregory Paul Winter CBE is a Nobel Prize winning molecular biologist best known for his work on developing technologies to treat non-infectious diseases. His inventions have been used in top selling pharmaceutical drugs, including for treatment of multiple sclerosis, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
He is now Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and has founded three biotech companies.
Sir Gregory said: "Receiving this honorary degree is rather like receiving a prize - it is a very pleasant surprise to find that other academics think so well of my work."
He is advice to students is: "Don't spend time worrying about what you are going to do with the rest of life. Decide on something that you find interesting and important, and try to make a go of it."
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