President of Medecins Sans Frontiers in the UK and a two-time winter Olympian are amongst the honorary graduands joining over 3000 students at the University of Birmingham graduation ceremonies this week.

Paul McMaster and Adam Pengilly will also join leading figures from the world of medicine, media, government and education to pick up their honorary degrees from the University’s Great Hall between 5 – 7th December 2012.

Honorary Graduands are as follows:

Wednesday 5 December

1.45pm, Lord Alan Watson CBE, Doctor of the University

Lord Watson of Richmond CBE is Chairman of CTN Communications and was European Chairman of Burson Marsteller for over ten years. He advises many major UK and international companies on their communication strategies. In broadcasting Alan became a BBC presenter on ‘The Money Programme’ and ‘Panorama’. He is a Fellow and former Chairman of the Royal Television Society and from 1976 to 1980 he was responsible for Media at the European Commission.

4.30pm, José Narro Robles, Doctor of Science

Mexican researcher and academic, José Narro Robles is former director of the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was elected Dean of the institution in 2007. He has acted as advisor for the World Health Organization and has been an active member of the National Academy of Medicine since 1992. Between 1976 and 1978 José did graduate work in community medicine at the University of Birmingham.

Thursday 6 December

10.30am, Professor Paul McMaster, Doctor of Medicine

Professor McMaster is President of Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) in the UK. A renowned transplant surgeon, McMaster set up the country’s second liver centre with Professor Elwyn Elias at the Queen Elisabeth Hospital in 1980, which became one of Europe’s biggest liver disease treatment programmes. In 2000 when he retired Professor McMaster joined MSF to work in developing countries.

1.45pm, Sarah Cox, Doctor of the University

Birmingham Business School graduate, Sarah Cox worked as Head of Business Planning for the London 2012 Olympic Organising Committee and was responsible for overseeing strategic operational issues. After graduation, Sarah spent ten years in Group Life Development for Commercial Union.  In 2004, she moved to work in the Cabinet Office within the UK government as Director of Strategy, Planning and Performance until her recent appointment on the Olympic committee. 

4.30pm, Adam Pengilly, Doctor of the University

The 2000 Sport and Exercise Science graduate has competed for Great Britain at Bob Skeleton in two Winter Olympics in 2006 and 2010 and won silver at the 2009 World Championships in Lake Placid. Previously at the 2002 Winter Olympics Adam helped coach the women’s GB Bobsleigh team giving him the unlikely honour of coaching at an Olympic games before competing in one. In 2010 he was elected by his fellow Olympians to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in Vancouver.

Friday 7 December

1.45pm, Chris Banks CBE, Doctor of the University

Chris Banks is an Alumnus and Graduate of the University and now holds the role of Deputy Pro-Chancellor of Council at the University as well as Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council, the organisation responsible for Post-16 education and training in England. For several years he was also Deputy Chair of the National Employment Panel, advising Government on Welfare to Work reform and is a Commissioner for Women and Work. Chris has spent his career in business working at Mars, Bulmers, Allied Domecq and Grand Metropolitan before becoming Managing Director of Coca-Cola Great Britain. He also established his own leading edge food and drink business, Big Thoughts.

For further information please contact Samantha Williams, University of Birmingham Press Office, 0121 414 6029 /