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Solicitor with many hats now has one more - an honorary doctorate


Ruby Bhatti OBE, solicitor of 27 years and lecturer with the University of Bradford, who has been awarded an honorary doctorate

‘I can travel the world but whenever I return to Bradford, I feel relief’, says Ruby Bhatti

A solicitor who has dedicated more than half her life to her home city has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bradford.

Ruby Bhatti OBE received her award for her unstinting work across many areas, not least the many hours of pro bono work she carries out in her legal role. In addition, she sits on a dizzying array of boards and trusts, which she benefits with her varied experience.

Commenting on the award, she said: “Being born and raised in Bradford, it's so important to me to be able to put something back into the community and to help young people gain the kind of opportunities I had when growing up.

“The award recognised all my hard work and achievements that I have done for both the University and for my city. It is a true honour to accept the award from an education institute which has supported and given opportunities to thousands of students who have completed their degrees here, pursued great professions, and placed the University on the map in many sectors.”

See her video message to students here.

Ruby, who turned 50 last week, is a highly successful solicitor with over 27 years' experience in the legal field and over 25 years’ experience of various non-executive directorships in the housing, education, youth and health sectors. To name a few she is chair of the Wolfson Centre for Applied Research, Deputy Lay chair for Bradford District & Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, a trustee for Bradford Youth Development Board, chair at three primary schools and a secondary school (and a board member of over 25 schools) and she is the National Leader for Governance for Education for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Bradford Hall of Fame, taking up her place alongside such greats as politician Baroness Barbara Castle, playwright Andrea Dunbar and comedian Ade Edmondson.

She has supported the University of Bradford since 2007. Ruby sits on the Service User and Carers Advisory Board, advising on strategy and policy for the involvement of service users and carers in the Faculty of Health Studies. She is a Patient and Carer Lecturer at the University of Bradford with an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy status. She has also recently been appointed a Faculty Community Fellow for the Faculty of Management, Law, and Social Sciences. She is also Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. She was awarded an OBE by the Queen in the New Year's Honours list 2019, recognising her work in housing and helping young people.

She said: “Bradford is a great city with great people and huge potential and I want to do all I can to facilitate that. Wherever I travel in the world, whenever I return to Bradford, it’s with a sense of relief. This city has so much to offer.

“As a youngster, my parents placed a great onus on education and that’s why I am so passionate about giving young people the opportunities they deserve. To the students of today, I would say no matter what obstacles come in your way, never give up. It does not matter where you come from, what background you are, if you want to achieve anything in your life you can do it.”

It was always her late father, Khalid’s, dream to see her become a solicitor, a dream which was realised in July 1997. Both her parents were inspirations in her life - her father, a hardworking electrical engineer who on one occasion went from his hospital bed to help restore electricity to a local business and her mother, whose hard work and diligence saw her six children achieve their goals in life.

Commenting on her pro bono work, she said: “It is a privilege in the legal profession to be able to offer pro bono work to those who are disadvantaged, being an advocate for those who do not have a voice, making a change to the system and to people’s lives.

“In the legal profession, I have the ability to help others. The feeling of accomplishment defending those who are innocent is amazing. As a solicitor, it has also opened doors for me to other sectors as a non-executive director.”

She added: “I am where I am today because of my husband and daughter. They are my inspiration and they have supported me at every turn, whether that meant me going to meetings in the evening, weekends or early in the morning.

“What excites me for the future is that I can continue to give support to people in all walks of life and make a difference to their lives.”

Since 1966 the University of Bradford has awarded Honorary Degrees and Fellowships to outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic work and endeavour, their contribution to their chosen profession or field of activity, their contribution to the University, City or wider region, and their ability to act as a role model reflecting the University’s values.

As part of our Winter 2020 Virtual Celebrations, we will continue this tradition and award Honorary Degrees and Fellowships to more outstanding individuals. Each week, in the lead up to our ceremonies, we will announce an Honorary Award recipient who has made a significant impact on society and who will inspire our graduates as they go on to work or further study.

Congratulations to our Class of Winter 2020 Graduates and Honorary Graduates. #TeamBradfordForever


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