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It's a degree Jim but not as we know it

Fri, 3 Jun 2011

Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart (pictured), BBC choirmaster Gareth Malone, and former MP Ian Gibson are among those being awarded honorary degrees from the University of East Anglia this year.

Truly Madly Deeply star Juliet Stevenson, Oscar-winning director Richard Eyre, nature broadcaster Richard Mabey and distinguished plant scientist David Baulcombe will also be recognised in this year’s ceremonies.

UEA Registrar and Secretary Brian Summers said: “We present honorary degrees to those who have made a remarkable contribution to the arts, science, sport, and civil society. This July we will bring together 12 highly acclaimed and distinguished individuals who richly deserve this recognition.”

The honorary degrees will be awarded at this year’s graduation ceremonies which take place from July 19 to 22 at the University of East Anglia.

Sir Patrick Stewart OBE is one of Britain’s best loved actors, best known for his film roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series.

As well his leading film roles, he has had a distinguished career in theatre and television for around half a century.

He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 and has appeared in more than 60 RSC productions - most recently as Claudius in Hamlet in 2008.

His extensive television work includes appearances on Frasier and Ricky Gervais’ Extras and most recently he starred as Macbeth in Rupert Goold’s production, filmed for the BBC, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award and the programme also won a George Foster Peabody Award in March 2011.

Patrick is a patron of the organisations Refuge and Dignity in Dying. He has also given his name to a scholarship at the University of Huddersfield, where he is chancellor, to fund post-graduate study into domestic violence.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

UEA graduate Gareth Malone is a choral animateur, singer and TV presenter. He is best known for his Bafta award-winning TV series The Choir which has re-ignited popular interest in choral singing.

The choirmaster and broadcaster studied drama at UEA. He was in the university choir and composed music for drama productions. After graduating, he studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and completed a postgraduate degree with distinction in 2005.

His subsequent career has been spectacular. He has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, was assistant conductor to Marin Alsop on Bernstein’s Mass in 2005 and was chorus master for Britten’s St Nicolas Mass. He runs the London Symphony Orchestra St Luke’s Community and Youth Choirs.

But it is his TV work which catapulted him into the limelight to become the nation’s favourite singing teacher – in BBC2’s The Choir and Boys Don’t Sing, as well as his work for Comic Relief which saw him train an ensemble of celebrity chefs to form a choir for Red Nose Day.

Gareth is currently filming the fourth series of The Choir and his first book Music for the People has just been published.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Music.

Actress Juliet Stevenson is best known for her leading role in the film Truly, Madly, Deeply as well as roles in Emma and Bend It Like Beckham.

She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, which led to a stage career starting in the early 1980s with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Although she has gained fame through her television and film work, and has often undertaken roles for BBC radio, she is still primarily a stage actress.

Her notable stage roles included the female lead, Anna, opposite John Malkovich in the UK premier of Burn This, and Paulina in Death and the Maiden, for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress.

She receives an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

Richard Mabey is a writer and broadcaster with a special interest in the relations between nature and culture.

His books include Food For Free and Flora Britannica, as well as his Whitbread Award-winning biography of Gilbert White, and his recent memoir Nature Cure, which was shortlisted for both the Whitbread and Ondaatje prizes.

He contributes frequently to BBC radio and television.

He is vice-president of the Open Spaces Society, patron of the John Clare Society, and lives in Norfolk.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

Dr Ian Gibson is a former Labour MP for Norwich North and dean of the university's School of Biological Sciences.

He studied genetics at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to Indiana University and the University of Washington.

He came to UEA in 1965 where he worked for 32 years. He became dean in 1991 and was head of a cancer research team and set up the Francesca Gunn Leukaemia Laboratory at UEA.

He was awarded a 'Champion' award by Macmillan Cancer Relief as well as being awarded the title of Health Champion at the Charity Awards for three years running from 2003.

He is currently a trustee of the Children with Cancer charity and chairs the national group coordinating brain tumour research.

He was MP for Norwich North from 1997 until 2009, and was chair of the All Party cancer group during this period. He was also chair of the Science and Technology Committee 2001-2005. He was voted Backbencher of the Year in 2004 in a poll of MPs and Lords.

He was coach of the parliamentary football team, and is a keen supporter of Norwich City FC.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law.

Sir Richard Eyre CBE is a director of film, theatre, television, and opera.

His early career saw him become associate director at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, and artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse.

He was artistic director of the Royal National Theatre between 1987-1997 – a period he chronicles in his published diary National Service.

He has directed films including the Oscar-winning Iris - a biopic of writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch starring Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent - and Notes on a Scandal starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett.

His many awards include the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

Prof Sir David Baulcombe is a plant scientist and geneticist. His research on virus resistance and genetic regulation in plants has benefited agriculture and medical science.

After the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge he was at Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich for twenty years and since 2007 he has been at Cambridge University where he is Regius Professor of Botany.

He was elected to the Royal Society in 2001, the US National Academy of Sciences in 2005 and in 2009 he was knighted for services to plant science.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Prof Sir John Beringer is a microbiologist whose association with science in Norwich started 40 years ago, when he joined the John Innes Centre (JIC).

He completed a PhD at UEA and was made an honorary lecturer in the Biological Sciences department in 1975.

He went on to hold positions at the University of Bristol, including director of molecular genetics, dean of the faculty of science, and pro-vice chancellor.

In 1999 he was awarded a knighthood for services to environmental safety and in 2000 he was appointed chair of the JIC governing council.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Prof Terry Eagleton is an influential literary critic and theorist.

He has written more than 40 books, including Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), The Ideology of the Aesthetic (1990), and The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996).

He studied at Cambridge and has been Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford.

He is currently a distinguished professor of English literature at the University of Lancaster and at the University of Notre Dame in the USA. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy.

His specialist interests include literary and cultural theory, and the literature and culture of Ireland.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

Dr Zara Steiner is a leading historian of 20th century British and European international history.

Her research focuses on expanding the domestic base and content of international relations and on the comparative history of the administration and conduct of foreign affairs.

She is the author of The Triumph of the Dark (2011), The Lights that Failed (2005) and Britain and the Origins of the First World War (1977).

Her pioneering work in international history has opened the field to an expanding number of contemporary historians.

She is an emeritus fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, founded as New Hall, and of the British Academy.

She received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

UEA graduate Tito Mboweni is the former governor of the South African Reserve Bank.

He grew up in Tzaneen before leaving South Africa to go into exile in 1980. He studied at the National University of Lesotho and went on to complete an MA in development economics from UEA in 1987.

He has been an activist for the African National Congress (ANC) and has held many posts within the party. He was Minister of Labour in the 1990s in Nelson Mandela’s cabinet, before moving to the South African Reserve Bank.

He is currently international advisor at Goldman Sachs, and chair of both AngloGoldAshanti and Nampak.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law.

Prof Eric Fernie is a former director of the Courtauld Institute of Art and dean of UEA’s School of Fine Arts and Music, as it was then known.

His main field of interest is medieval architecture. He has written books including An Architectural History Norwich Cathedral, The Architecture of Norman England, The Architecture of the Anglo-Saxons and Art History and its Methods.

After leaving UEA 25 years ago, he moved to Edinburgh University, and went on to become director of the Courtauld Institute in 1995.

He was awarded a CBE for services to architectural history and conservation.

He is a fellow of the British Academy and has been a commissioner for English Heritage.

He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

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