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University celebrates hon-grads from 2022, 2021 and 2020


Kate Hall receiving her honorary doctorate

This year the University of Bradford awarded honorary doctorates to individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds - we asked them how they felt about their award and what advice they had for new graduates.

Alan Dix – Doctor of the University

Alan Dix is the Artistic Director of Bradford Based 509 Arts. He has worked as a theatre director and arts consultant for over 40 years. He has directed work in regional theatres, streets, parks, lakes, woodlands, castles and warehouses and from 1998 – 2002 he was Director of the Greenwich Millennium Festival, followed by 10 years as a cultural consultant for public, private and third sector bodies.

Alan is currently developing a music theatre piece - Meal One – in partnership with Mind the Gap theatre and has a 10 year commission – Decade - with Theatre in the Mill, that explores his personal journey from 70-80.

Alan is Chair of Hull Truck Theatre, a Board member of Leeds Playhouse and Chair of Time and Tide Bell – a charity that works with local coastal communities throughout the UK to place brass bells that chime at high-water and which serve as a warning and call to action. He also worked on the Bradford bid for City of Culture 2025.

He said: “City of Culture is going to transform Bradford in a number of areas in the coming years. The University has a major role to play in that. If you think of the university as a cultural institution, it’s a huge asset to the city, and the great thing about Bradford is, it’s actually in the city. Part of the work I’m doing at the moment is to develop that cultural sense of purpose, and the university can help with that in a number of ways.”

Kate Hall – Doctor of Engineering  

Kate is Major Projects Design Director at Arup and Region Board member of the UK, India, Middle East and Africa region. She earned her first degree from Bradford and remembers her time here fondly.

Kate's background in civil engineering includes 25 years’ experience of both major infrastructure and international projects, including designing Hong Kong Airport International Station, and she is currently Design Director at High Speed Two Limited (HS2).

She said: “University gave me a passport to the world. One thing the world will always need is engineers. Engineering has allowed me to travel and work on some truly amazing projects.

“One thing I am keen on is promoting engineering to women. We currently recruit about 30 per cent women, and things are changing, but we always need more. Engineering can offer such a wonderful career, with so many opportunities.”

Asked what advice she had for graduates, she congratulated graduates and their families for making it through the pandemic, and urged them to seize opportunities where they find them. She added: “Be kind to others and most importantly, yourself.”

Graduation ceremony in 2022

Baroness Harris of Richmond – Doctor of the University  

Angela Harris was born in Lancashire, the daughter of a clergyman, and moved to North Yorkshire when she married. She became a Town, District and County Councillor and became the first woman to chair the North Yorkshire County Council and subsequently the first woman to chair the North Yorkshire Police Authority. Since then, she has held a number of senior roles in the national Association of Police Authorities, was a Magistrate for 16 years and a Deputy Lieutenant for North Yorkshire until 2019.  

Angela Harris was created a Life Peer in 1999, taking the title Baroness Harris of Richmond, and has special interests in policing and Northern Ireland.

She said: “It has been such a pleasure. Never having had a degree, to come here and then to see the diversity here, which I think is just amazing…I remember walking down the corridors of County Hall and seeing all these photographs of old men… and then there was me.

“I do a lot of school visits, and schoolchildren have this idea that, because I’m a baroness, I’m rich, I live in a castle and wear a crown… but I live in a red-brick house on an estate, and we live off a teacher’s pension. If I can be a baroness, anyone can.”

Zaheer Ahmad – Doctor of the University  

Zaheer is a multi-award-winning Diversity and Inclusion thought leader. Currently, he is the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity for Consumer Healthcare at GSK, now known as Haleon. He has also worked as a police officer, police detective and as a magistrate. In 2022, he set up EqualityX which will be publishing an annual list of 100 influential diversity allies.

He said: “We live in a time when the expectations of people can often be almost unbearable. I believe it’s okay not to know what the long term will offer. If I could give advice to graduates, I would say focus on the next 12 months and try to enjoy that. Achieve your goals and then re-evaluate and look at the next 12 months. Take every opportunity along the way.”

For a full list of honorary graduates, select this link.

Dr Amir Khan talks about receiving his award.