Honorary graduates

Every year, we award Honorary Degrees to distinguished individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in their chosen field.

Read more about our recent honorary graduates who have been nominated by the College of Medical and Dental Sciences:


Dr Teresa Woodruff

woodruff 200x200Dr. Teresa Woodruff is the Chief of Reproductive Biology Research and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Northwestern University in Illinois.

She was awarded an honorary degree in December 2016 for her outstanding work in women’s health research. Coining the term ‘oncofertility’ to describe the merging of oncology and fertility, Dr Woodruff now heads up the Oncofertility Consortium, an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and social scientist experts from across America.

Dr. Woodruff also leads the Woodruff Lab, which sees scientists, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduates, visiting scholars and technicians working together on important breakthroughs in follicle biology and oocyte quality and translating this work to patients.

In addition, Dr Woodruff is Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, a unique community of researchers, clinicians, students and advocates dedicated to improving women’s health by advancing the field of sex based biology.

The only scientist named in Time Magazine’s 2013 list of the World’s Most Influential People, Dr Woodruffd has won many awards, including the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring.

Professor Cedric Shackleton

shackleton1200x200Professor Cedric Shackleton was awarded an honorary graduate in July 2016 for his achievements in mass spectrometry, a process used to identify chemicals in a substance by their mass and charge.

Born in Birmingham, Professor Shackleton’s career spans more than five decades and includes the development of several ground-breaking approaches and techniques that have advanced the field. A senior scientist at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California, Cedric has collaborated with the University of Birmingham for many years, focusing on developing metabolomic approaches to diagnose adrenal cancer and disorders of adrenal steroid synthesis.

In 2010 was given the Schroepfer medal for Steroid and Sterol Research by the American Oil Chemists Association. 


Simon Stevens

Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England and NHS Accounting Officer, delivers his Honorary Graduand speech at the July 2015 degree congregation at the University of Birmingham.

Mr Simon Stevens, Doctor of the University, is Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, overseeing more than £100 billion of annual Health Service funding. His 27-year health career to date has spanned frontline NHS leadership of hospitals, mental health and primary care; seven years as the Prime Minister’s Health Adviser at 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health; and a decade running international health services across the globe. Simon is a director of the Commonwealth Fund, and has also been a trustee of the Kings Fund and the Nuffield Trust.

Simon Stevens Honorary Graduate Speech

Dame Una O'Brien

Una O’Brien, Doctor of the University, is the Permanent Secretary of the UK Department of Health, a post she has held since 2010. A career civil servant, Una has 25 years’ experience of government and health policy. In the 1980s, Una helped establish London Lighthouse, a pioneering third sector provider of services for people with HIV and AIDS, and is a passionate advocate for better health and improving health care. Una was made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday honours list this year.

Professor Philip Sugarman

Professor Philip Sugarman, Doctor of Medicine, psychiatrist and chief executive, retired in 2014 after a decade running the United Kingdom charity sector’s largest NHS provider, St Andrew’s Healthcare, based in Northampton. His achievements range from new specialist teaching hospitals (including Birmingham), research and publication across mental health and governance, numerous awards, and election as President of the Royal Society of Medicine psychiatry section.

Professor Pascale Cossart

Professor Pascale Cossart, Doctor of Science, was educated as a chemist in Lille, France. She obtained a MS at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and a PhD at the Institut Pasteur where she is now Professeur de Classe Exceptionnelle. After working on DNA-protein interactions, in 1986 Professor Cossart switched to the study of intracellular bacteria. She pioneered the introduction of cell biology approaches in infection biology. Her contributions have been recognised by several international prizes.