More than 4,000 University of Birmingham students will graduate this month at Degree Congregations from 11 - 18 July taking place in the University's Great Hall. 

The following Honorary Degrees will also be conferred to the following recipients:

Friday 11 July - 10.30am

Mr John Edwards, Doctor of Science

John Edwards joined Advantage West Midlands as Director of Regeneration in 1999.  He was appointed Chief Executive in November 2000.  John is a Quantity Surveyor by profession and has extensive experience in urban and rural economic regeneration.  Prior to joining AWM he was Director Operations and Chief Executive at the Rural Development Commission.  John stood down as Chief Executive of AWM in April 2008 but continues to drive regeneration investment in North Staffordshire and work with leading universities and major global businesses in the region.

Friday 11 July - 1.45pm

The Rt Revd Stephen Venner, Doctor of Divinity

Steven Venner has been Bishop of Dover since 1999 and previously was one of three Area Bishops in the Diocese on Manchester.  He is a trained teacher and having chaired the Board of Education in Salisbury and Manchester, he now chairs that of Canterbury.  He is Vice-Chairman of the Church of England's Board of Education and serves on a range of national educational committees.  He is also the first Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governors for Canterbury Christ Church University.

Friday 11 July - 4.30pm

Mr Mike Welton, Doctor of Engineering

Mike Welton was Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty from 1996 until his retirement in 2004.  Following this is became Non-Executive Chairman of Hanson plc, an international building materials group, and Chairman of Global Solutions Ltd, a government outsourcing company, both of which were sold in 2007 and 2008 respectively.  Earlier this year he became Chairman of Southern Water.  Mike is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Monday 14 July - 10.30am

Dr Richard Horton, Doctor of Medicine

Richard Horton has been Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet since 1995 winning the UK’s Medical Publication of the Year in 2004.  He has a strong interest in issues of global health, has been a medical columnist for The Observer, writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and New York Review of Books and was the first President of the World Association of Medical Editors.  Among other things, he currently chairs the Royal College of Physicians’ Working Party on Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Monday 14 July - 1.45pm

Professor Roger Hood, Doctor of Laws

Roger Hood was formerly Director of the Centre for Criminological Research and is now Emeritus Professor of Criminology, University of Oxford.   He was consultant to the United Nations on the death penalty in 1986 and is a member of the Foreign Secretary's Death Penalty Panel.  His ground-breaking research, Race and Sentencing: A Study in the Crown Court (1992), was carried out in Birmingham and the West Midlands, as was part of his work with Professor Stephen Shute of the University of Birmingham published as A Fair Hearing: Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Courts (2005).

Monday 14 July - 4.30pm

Mr Jim Glover, Doctor of Science

Jim Glover is Chief Executive of NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) as well as Senior Independent Director of Regent Inns plc.  Following his initial career with Allied Breweries, Jim has been Deputy Managing Director of Woolworths, Managing Director and Chairman of Superdrug and Chief Executive of Patientline plc.  Jim was Treasurer to the University of Birmingham until 2006 when he was appointed as Pro-Chancellor.  Jim also currently serves on the Strategy, Planning and Resources Committee, the Remuneration Committee and the Development Executive Committee

Tuesday 15 July - 10.30am

Mr Jim Ratcliffe, Doctor of Engineering

Jim Ratcliffe has been Chairman of INEOS Capital since 1998 and also Director and Chairman of INEOS Group Holdings.  He is a chemical engineer and also a qualified accountant with an MBA from London Business School.  He formed Inspec in 1992 as a management buyout from BP Chemicals. In 1998, part of this public company was separated as the private equity company, INEOS, with a turnover of $200m pa. INEOS companies now have a combined annual turnover of approx $45 billion.

Tuesday 15 July - 1.45pm

Mr John Armitt, Doctor of Engineering

John Armitt was appointed Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority on 1 September 2007.  He was previously Chief Executive of Network Rail and Chief Executive of Railtrack.  He is also Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and a Non-Executive Director of the Berkeley Group.  He was awarded the CBE in 1996 for his contribution to the rail industry.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Tuesday 15 July - 4.30pm

Dr Doug Ellis, Doctor of the University

Doug Ellis was Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club until September 2006 and is now Life President.  He was an FA Council Member for 20 years as well as serving on the FA’s International Committee.  In 1985 established Aston Villa Charitable Trust which distributes £30-40,000 per year to locally based charitable organisations and institutions.  He was Founding Director of the Little Aston Hospital and the first Chairman of Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust for a period of six years.

Wednesday 16 July - 10.30am

Sir Euan Gough-Calthorpe Bt, Doctor of the University

Sir Euan Gough-Calthorpe is head of the Calthorpe Family and Principal of Calthorpe Estates.   He has spent several years working with the Management Team of Calthorpe Estates and the Board of Trustees to create new value in a diverse range of asset-backed Calthorpe Estates entities as well as developing a private group of property development and investment companies.  His external directorships have included STG Holdings plc, a property to IT investment group; HTTP Technology Inc; Estate Insurance Group and Capstone Foster Care Ltd. 

Wednesday 16 July - 1.45pm

Sir Anthony Hughes, Doctor of Laws

Called to the Bar in 1970, Sir Anthony Hughes practised in Birmingham chambers between 1971 and 1997.  He was a Recorder of the Crown Court from 1986, and took silk in 1990.  He was appointed by the Lord Chancellor as a High Court Judge in the Family Division in 1997.  From 1999 to 2003 he was a presiding judge of the Midland and Oxford Circuit.  In 2004 he transferred to the Queen’s Bench Division and in 2006 was appointed to the Court of Appeal. 

Wednesday 16 July - 4.30pm

Dr Frank McCormick, Doctor of Science

Frank McCormick, Ph.D., F.R.S., is Director of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute.  He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1996.  Prior to joining the UCSF faculty, Dr. McCormick pursued cancer-related work with several Bay Area biotechnology firms.  In 1992 he founded Onyx Pharmaceuticals and served as its Chief Scientific Officer until 1996.  Dr. McCormick is the author of more than 250 scientific publications.

Thursday 17 July - 10.30am

Professor Sally Davies, Doctor of Medicine

Sally Davies was appointed Director General of Research and Development, Department of Health on 1 September 2004.  She is also Professor of Haemoglobinopathies at Imperial College and Consultant Haematologist at Central Middlesex Hospital.  She has an international reputation in the clinical care of patients with sickle cell disease and has written widely in this field.  She is Chair of the Board of UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) and a Member of the Medical Research Council.

Thursday 17 July - 1.45pm

Ms Elaine Padmore, Doctor of Music

Elaine Padmore is Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  Her Directing career began in 1982 when she became Artistic Director of Ireland’s Wexford Festival, where her 13-year tenure saw the Festival greatly increase in scope and prestige.  In 1993 she became Artistic Director of Royal Danish Opera, her years in Copenhagen being acclaimed as a period of unprecedented growth in the Company’s international reputation.  Elaine was made a Knight of the Royal Danish Dannebrog Order in 1994.

Thursday 17 July - 4.30pm

Dr Benjamin Zephaniah, Doctor of Letters

Benjamin Zephaniah’s first poetry collection, Pen Rhythm, was published in 1980, followed by The Dread Affair: Collected Poems (1985), and Rasta Time in Palestine (1990).  He has been Writer in Residence at the Africa Arts Collective in Liverpool and Creative Artist in Residence at Cambridge University.  His first collection of poetry for children, Talking Turkeys, went into emergency reprint after six weeks.  He has also written novels for teenagers, including, Face (1999), described by the author as a story of 'facial discrimination'.

Friday 18 July - 10.30am

Baroness Valerie Amos, Doctor of Laws

Valerie Amos was Leader of the House of Lords until 2007.  She has a particular interest in development issues, human rights and equality and was Tony Blair’s special representative to the G8 on Africa and recently represented Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the European Union/African Union Summit in Lisbon.  In 2003 she became the first black woman in a British Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development. 

Friday 18 July - 10.30am

Ms Concy Aciro, Alumna of the Year

Concy Aciro’s interest in leadership and politics began aged 10 when she was abducted by the Lord Resistance Army rebel group in Northern Uganda.  In 2006 Concy Aciro was elected as an MP to the parliament of Uganda where she is dedicated to reducing poverty, developing income generation in rural communities, empowering women, re-intergrating children who have been abducted by the LRA and participating in peace talks between the current government of Uganda and the LRA.  Concy completed her MSc in Poverty Reduction at the University of Birmingham in 2007.


Media information: Anna Dingley or Kate Chapple, Press Officers, 0121 415 8134, email or 0121 414 2772, email

Graduation Case studies: 

The following students are all set to graduate this month from the University. For further details on any of the featured case studies please contact the Communications Office.

Lucinda Davies is making history by becoming the first female professional golfer to work in Egypt. Golfing ace Lucinda is Head Golf Professional at Taba Heights Golf Resort in Egypt, where she teaches the sport to beginners and serious players. The 22-year-old will swing by the university on 17 July at 10.30am to graduate from the university's BA Applied Golf Management Studies (AGMS).

Emily Goodall, who began research in motor neurone disease (MND) after seeing her father loose a four year battle with the condition, will graduate with a PHD in neuroscience on 16 July at 4.30pm. Emily became a PHD student in 2003 to study the biology of MND. Emily’s work focused on understanding the role that genetic risk factors and excess glutamate play in the development of the disease.

Francesca Kinsella will graduate from Birmingham on 14 July at 10.30am. Francesca has enjoyed an unusual career as a medical student. Francesca, who is originally from Coventry, chose to intercalate (studying for a year in a related science subject) during her medical degree, but from that point on her University career diverged from the norm. Francesca enjoyed her experience of studying bio-medical sciences so much she turned a year’s undergraduate work into a full three year PhD, studying the earliest origins of the thymus, the organ responsible for developing our immune systems.

Claire Thomas, who set up an international charity while also finding time to study for her Medical degree, will graduate on 14 July at 1.45pm. Claire set up the first official branch of SKIP (Students for Kids International Projects) charity, at Birmingham University in conjunction other nursing and medical students.  SKIP gives medical, dental and nursing students across the UK the chance to work on public health projects with children in countries from Zambia to Belarus.