Honorary Graduands Take to the Stage at Birmingham

Posted on Friday 5th December 2008

More than 1500 students will graduate at degree congregations between Wednesday 10 and Friday 12 December, taking place in the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall.  As well as graduating students, the following people will receive honorary degrees:

Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton DBE

Wednesday 10 December, 10.30am

Baroness Campbell is a Commissioner and Disability Committee Chair at the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.  She is an independent health and social care policy advisor, and Chair of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) Independent Living Review Expert Panel.  She has been a Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) since its inception in 2000.  She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2006 and in 2007 became a cross-bench member of the House of Lords.

Mr Simon Halsey – Doctor of Music

Wednesday 10 December, 2pm

Simon Halsey is one of the world’s leading conductors of choral repertoire.  He has been Chorus Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus for over 25 years and is Chief Conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir.  He is Artistic Director and founder of the dynamic professional choir, European Voices and is in his fifth season as Principal Conductor, Choral Programme for The Sage Gateshead.  He also holds the position of consultant editor for Faber Music in the UK.

Dr Bob Holman – Doctor of Letters

Thursday 11 December, 10.30am

Dr Bob Holman was educated at University College, London, and the London School of Economics.  In 1966 he was appointed lecturer in social work at the University of Birmingham and during this time also established the Handsworth Day Care Centre.  Following appointments in Glasgow and Bath, he moved from full time academic life onto one of the most run down council estates in Bath – Sandown.  He lived there with his family, developing a project for young people in the area.  After 10 years he moved back to Glasgow to develop a similar project there, offering young people an alternative focus to gangs and supporting parents under stress, helping to keep families together. 

Mr Roger Dancey – Doctor of the University

Thursday 11 December, 2pm

Roger Dancey spent his professional career in secondary education culminating in the headships at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys (1986-95), City of London School (1995-98) and King Edward’s School Birmingham (1998-2005).  He has been a member of Council at the University of Birmingham since 1999 and Deputy-Pro-Chancellor since 2005.  Roger was a founding trustee of the Millennium Bridge in London and becomes Chairman of Governors at Warwick School in January 2009.

Sir John Saunders – Doctor of Laws

Friday 12 December, 10.30am

After receiving a history degree from Magdalen College, Oxford, Sir John Saunders studied for the bar and moved to Birmingham when he practised as a barrister specialising in crime and licensing.  In 2004 he was appointed the Recorder of Birmingham in 2004 and in 2007 became a High Court Judge.  Away from the Law, Sir John gets considerable pleasure from performing early music.  He plays the baroque flute and the harpsichord and is a patron of the Birmingham Early Music Festival.

Mr Mark Williams – Doctor of Letters

Friday 12 December, 2pm

Since graduating in English from Oxford University, Mark Williams has become a familiar and much loved figure in film, TV and theatre.  His many film credits include, most recently, Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films, Matthew Vaughan’s Stardust and Metin Hüseyin’s Anita & Me.  Mark is also well known in the UK as a regular in BBC TV’s The Fast Show with other notable television credits including Red Dwarf, Harry Enfield and Randall & Hopkirk (deceased).

Notes to Editors:

There will be an opportunity to photograph the honorary graduands in the 15 minutes prior to each degree ceremony. Please telephone the Communications Office for accreditation.

Further Information:

Anna Dingley, 0121 4158134 or 07769 9527, or Kate Chapple, 0121 414 2772 or 07789.