Nearly 3000 students will graduate from the University of Birmingham at six degree ceremonies between 9 – 11 December. 

They will receive their degrees alongside honorary graduands that include Phyllida Lloyd, director of Mamma Mia! and Vikki Heywood, Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

The full list of honorary graduands is as follows:

Wednesday 9 December

10.30am, Phyllida Lloyd, Doctor of Letters

Phyllida Lloyd studied English and Drama at Birmingham, graduating in 1979 and then went on to work for BBC Television Drama. She has directed plays, operas and the film of Mamma Mia! which received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.  Her theatre work includes The Duchess of Malfi, Mary Stuart and Six Degrees of Separation.  Her opera work includes productions for Opera North and English National Opera.  Her stage production of Mamma Mia! is playing worldwide. 

Thursday 10 December

2pm, Tom Murtha, Doctor of the University

Tom Murtha is the CEO of Midland Heart, the largest Housing Association in the Midlands, the head office of which is in central Birmingham.  He was previously Chief Executive of Keynote Housing Group.  Midland Heart won the Housing Corporation’s Gold Award in 2006 for its work with the homeless and a new hostel for homeless men has recently been built at Snowhill. 

Friday 11 December

10.30am, Vikki Heywood, Doctor of Letters

Vikki Heywood was appointed Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2003.  The company employs 700 staff and produces over 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon, where it is undertaking a £112.8 million building project to transform its theatres.  Prior to this Vikki was joint Chief Executive of the Royal Court Theatre.  During her career she has led a wide range of theatre companies, having trained as a stage manager before moving into theatre management.  She has advised the Arts Council and other stakeholders and arts boards and has been Vice Chairman of the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and the Young Vic Theatre. 

2pm, Cynthia Bower, Doctor of the University

Cynthia Bower was appointed Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission in 2008.  She graduated from Birmingham with a degree in English in 1976 and began her professional life in social care.  She spent a number of years working with children and moved to Birmingham Health Authority in 1995 as Director of Primary Care.  In 2002 she became Chief Executive of South Birmingham Primary Care Trust and in 2005 Managing Director of Birmingham and Black Country Strategic Health Authority.  She was appointed substantive Chief Executive for the NHS West Midlands in 2007. 


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 press office for accreditation.

For further information

University of Birmingham Press Office contacts:

Kate Chapple, tel. 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164, Ben Hill, tel 0121 414 5134 or 07789 921163; Anna Mitchell tel 0121 515 6029 or 07920 593946