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Honorary Graduates - July 2016

Kevin Gaskell - Doctor of the University 

Kevin built his career in the construction, chemical and automotive industries. Appointed Managing Director of Porsche GB, his team turned a failing business into the UK's most profitable car company. After returning Lamborghini GB to profitability, he led BMW UK to a 500% increase in profitability. In 2000 he left BMW to found technology company Epyx. From 2001-2007 he was CEO of EurotaxGlass's Group in Switzerland, leading a €500 million sale of the company. He now acts as chairman to early stage companies. He has played international cricket, walked to both the North and South Poles, and climbed some of the world's highest mountains to raise funds for cancer research.

Kevin Gaskell

Paul Donovan, Doctor of the University

Paul has been CEO of the ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group since 2014. He was director and CEO of Eircom from 2009 to 2012. Previously he was Chief Executive, EMAPA Region Vodafone. His career with Vodafone began in 1999, becoming a member of the Executive Committee, responsible for the group's operations in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, Africa, the US, India and China. He is a Director of Exide Technologies AB - Sweden and Exide Technologies AS - Norway. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts in Scandinavian Studies from University College London and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Bradford.

Paul Donovan

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Doctor of Education

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was born in 1936. He was working at Shell Oil when the 1971 Liberation War changed his life - he left his job, moved to London and devoted himself to Bangladesh's war of independence. Returning to Bangladesh, he established BRAC to rehabilitate refugees and develop their capacity to manage their lives. BRAC became the largest development organisation in the world. BRAC University equips students with the knowledge and skills to address contemporary and future challenges, based on the conviction that education and training are forces for positive change. He was knighted in recognition of his services to reducing poverty and in 2014 Forbes named him one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

Dame Stephanie Shirley, Doctor of Science 

Dame Stephanie Shirley came to this country as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939. Whilst working for the Post Office Research Station, she took a maths degree at evening classes. She founded a software company in 1962 as a company of women for women, an early social business. Equal Opportunities legislation made her pro-female policies illegal and the company became more balanced. She took it into co-ownership and staff owned a quarter of the company when it floated in 1996. It employed 8,500 staff when it was acquired in 2007. She was the first woman President of the British Computer Society. Post retirement, her philanthropy is focused on IT and autism (her late son’s disorder), giving away £67million to date.

Professor Robin Wilson, Doctor of Education 

Robin Wilson, son of our first Chancellor - Prime Minister Harold Wilson, is Emeritus Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University, Emeritus Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, and a former Fellow of Keble College, Oxford University. He is a former President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, and was formerly Chair of the European Mathematical Society’s Committee on Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics. He has written and edited over forty books including Introduction to Graph Theory, Four Colours Suffice, Lewis Carroll in Numberland, and a book on mathematics and music.  He has given 1500 lectures to audiences around the world popularising mathematics and its history. He was awarded the Mathematical Association of America’s Lester Ford award and Pólya prize for his outstanding expository writing.

Cecilia Anim, Doctor of Health 

Cecilia is President of the Royal College of Nursing and a member of the Council Executive Team, Membership and Representation Committee, International Committee, Ethics Committee and Awards Panel. She served on the Ethics Forum Steering Committee and was a member of the RCN Menopause Nurses Steering Group. She was awarded the RCN Certificate of Merit for outstanding service to members, the Bevan award for Health and Wellbeing, the Wise Woman of the Year Award, and the United Nations African Women of Excellence award. Cecilia trained as a midwife in Ghana, before moving to the UK and qualifying as a nurse. She works as a clinical nurse specialist in sexual and reproductive health at the Margaret Pyke Centre in London.

Cecilia Anim, Doctor of Health

Francesca Martinez, Doctor of the University

Francesca is a stand-up comedian, speaker, actor, and author, with her book, What the **** is Normal?!, receiving critical acclaim. She has turned her experiences of living with mild cerebral palsy, or being a bit ‘wobbly’ as she describes it, into award-winning comedy. She is the first female comedian to win the prestigious Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has performed sell-out shows and given inspirational talks around the world. Francesca uses her public profile to raise issues about disability and human rights and was nominated ‘Hero of the Year’ at the European Diversity Awards (2014).