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University honours six at graduations


The University of Bradford will honour six national and international figures with honorary degrees at its forthcoming graduation ceremonies.

The ceremonies take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, July 17, 18 and 219, in the Great Hall of the city campus, where Chancellor Kate Swann and Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor will present the honorary degrees.

Receiving honorary degrees from the University will be:

Nadira Mirza (Tuesday 10am ceremony)

Nadira Mirza is a former University Dean and Director.

Her career has been dedicated to improving the life chances of disadvantaged young people, especially women, which stems from her time as a youth worker in 1970’s London.

As a committed believer in the transformative nature of education, Nadira is a particularly keen proponent of lifelong learning. She has been instrumental in shaping national and international developments in the fields of widening participation and access to higher education. Under her leadership, Bradford became the number one English university for widening participation.

An acknowledged authority in her field, Nadira’s experience and expertise have led her to sit on a number of government boards and advise a range of commissions.

Graham Pearson (Tuesday 4pm ceremony)

As Honorary Visiting Professor of International Security between 1996 and 2017, Graham Pearson is no stranger to the University of Bradford.

Having studied at Woodhouse Grove School in Apperley Bridge, his links to the region stretch even further back than that.

Graham obtained a First Class Degree in Chemistry from St Andrew’s University before starting his career by joining the Scientific Civil Service. In 1984 he was appointed Director General and Chief Executive of Porton Down, the UK’s Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, a role he held for eleven years.

Whilst Honorary Professor at Bradford, Graham facilitated the involvement of the University of Bradford Peace Studies Department in the Review Conferences of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in Geneva.

Graham is a renowned and respected author, with his textbook on the search For Iraq's weapons of mass destruction described as the definitive source of information on this topic.

Professor Sir Mark Welland (Wednesday 10am ceremony)

Professor Sir Mark Welland is professor of nanotechnology and head of the Nanoscience Centre at University of Cambridge.

His career has been long and distinguished, encompassing roles at IBM, the Science and Technology Research Centre at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

2011, the year he was bestowed a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, proved to be a stellar year for Mark. He received the highest medal awarded by the National Nuclear Security Administration - Gold Medal for Distinguished Service - and was also awarded the US Secretary of Defense’s Award for Exceptional Public Service; the highest award presented by the Department to a representative of another government.

As well as his academic work, a long-term commitment to engaging with schools led to Sir Mark designing a short DVD film which went on to win the 2010 Science Short Film of the Year at Scinema - the largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere.

Richard Noble OBE (Wednesday 1.15pm ceremony)

Richard Noble is a Scottish entrepreneur who was holder of the land speed record between 1983 and 1997.

He was also the project director of ThrustSSC, the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier, which holds the current land speed record set in 1997. Richard is planning another land speed record attempt to take place in 2019.

A qualified pilot, Richard’s life has revolved around technology, engineering and speed.

He holds the record for the fastest ever triple consecutive Atlantic crossing from London to New York and back to London in Concorde.

Richard was awarded an OBE in 1983.

Dr Gullapalli Rao (Thursday 10am ceremony)

Dr Gullapalli Rao, academic and ophthalmologist, is renowned for the creation of sustainable and high quality eye care which is transforming vision health across India.

Described as an entrepreneur of solutions for eye health, he founded the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad 25 years ago, and is now a key player in Vision 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative aiming to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020.

Previously the President and CEO of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Dr Rao’s work as an internationally recognised ambassador for eye health saw him inducted into the Ophthalmology Hall Of Fame in 2017.

With over 300 published academic papers to his name, Dr Rao is a visiting professor in universities across the world and a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Medical Sciences.

Dr Ruth McKernan (Thursday 1.15pm ceremony)

Dr Ruth McKernan has been Chief Executive of Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – since 2015.

A graduate of King’s College London, Ruth is a published author and winner of the Science Writers’ Award.

She has over twenty five years of research and experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Her career includes prestigious roles as Head of Neuroscience at Merck and Senior Vice President at Pfizer.

Ruth has been a champion for diversity within innovation, promoting the ‘Women in Innovation’ campaign during her time at Innovate.

She was awarded a CBE in 2013 for services to business, innovation and skills.

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