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UEA announces its 2017 honorary graduates

Graduation - David Kirkham, Fisheye Images

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is proud to announce the people and organisations it will recognise with honorary degrees at this year’s graduation ceremonies (17-21 July). Honorary degrees are the way universities acknowledge outstanding accomplishments or contributions to the community. This year’s recipients are:

Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Norfolk-born Ed Balls is Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Visiting Professor to the Policy Institute at King’s College London, Chairman of Norwich City Football Club and was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016. He’s also an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, a member of the Privy Council and a member of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation Board. His previous roles include Shadow Chancellor (2011-2015), Education Secretary (2007-2010) and Chief Economic Adviser to the Treasury (1997-2004).


Patrick Peal

Patrick Peal was instrumental in establishing the first East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopter, based at Norwich airport, in 2000. A second helicopter, based at Cambridge airport, came into service in 2007. He was a trustee of the EAAA before becoming chief executive in 2014.

Peter Wilson MBE

Former Chief Executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, Peter Wilson is widely credited with its transformation into one of Britain's principal regional theatres. He was presented with the Eastern Daily Press Denise Anderson Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of his contribution to the Norfolk economy and his dedication and commitment to the county’s cultural fabric. He also serves as a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk.

Matt Frei

Matt Frei is a German-born British TV news journalist who’s worked for ITN, the BBC and Channel 4, where he’s currently Europe editor and presenter. He’s reported on the first Intifada in Jerusalem, the Gulf War and events in Bosnia and Kosovo. He’s worked as Asia correspondent and was the BBC's Washington DC correspondent, returning to London then joining Channel 4 in 2011 and becoming its first Washington correspondent. He is a winner of the Amnesty International Asia Award, the Royal Television Society International News Award, the Prix Bayeux, the Peabody Award and the Dupont Award.

James Vowles

James Vowles is chief strategist for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, one of only three people advising drivers during each race, and is one of the most successful and high profile engineers in Formula 1. A UEA alumnus in Computing Science, he started out as a kart designer and has also worked for British American Racing, Honda Racing F1 and Brawn GP.

Hugh Quarshie

Stage, TV and film actor Hugh Quarshie stars in “Holby City”, and his other credits include “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace”, “Highlander”, episodes of Doctor Who and the RSC’s “Othello”.

Caroline Jarrold

Community affairs adviser at Jarrold, Caroline Jarrold was chairman of Visit Norwich from 2005 until February 2017 and the Norfolk & Norwich Festival from 2007 to 2016. She is chairman of Norwich Philharmonic Society and a director of The Forum Trust and Cox’s Boatyard. She is secretary to and a trustee of the John Jarrold Trust, which gives donations of £100 to more than £4,000 to charities and other good causes that have an impact on Norwich and Norfolk. She is also an ambassador for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Prof Raymond Tallis

Prof Raymomd Tallis is a rehabilitation research pioneer who’s enjoying a second career as a philosopher exposing holes in "common sense" thinking. His books include "Hippocratic Oaths" and he regularly appears on Radio 4. He’s a member of the Institute of Ideas and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. 

Marie Curie

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals and, with its nine hospices around the UK, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.

Anne Marie Rafferty CBE

Anne Marie Rafferty is Professor of Nursing Policy, former Dean of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London and Visiting Professor at Imperial College’s Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. She graduated (BSc) SocSci Nursing Studies (Edinburgh University), MPhil (Surgery) (Nottingham University) and DPhil Modern History (Oxford University). She won a Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy to the University of Pennsylvania and was seconded to the Department of Health to work with Lord Ara Darzi on the Next Stage Review of the NHS. She was awarded a CBE in 2008 and appointed to the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery 2009-10 and has been the recipient of various awards: Nursing Times Leadership Award (2014), Health Services Journal Top 100 Clinical Leaders Award (2015), Sigma Theta Tau International Hall of Fame (2016). She holds fellowships from the Royal College of Nursing and American Academy of Nursing and is a member of the Parliamentary Review of the Welsh Health and Social Care Service.

William Armstrong OBE

William Armstrong retired as senior coroner for Norfolk in 2013, after 19 years’ service. During his tenure, he introduced a number of initiatives aimed at putting bereaved families first, including establishing a support service at inquests and appointing the country’s first coroner’s chaplain. His OBE (2015) is for services to the bereaved and to charity. Norfolk born, he was a solicitor in Norwich, specialising in child care and mental health law, for 30 years.  He has acted as a legal assessor to the General Medical Council and the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and continues to sit as a mental health tribunal judge. He is also a patron of Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, chairman of Healthwatch Norfolk, president of Norwich and Central Norfolk Cruse Bereavement Care, patron of Nelson’s Journey, president of Norfolk Community Law Service, patron of the Mancroft Advice Project,  patron of Asperger's East Anglia and Norwich YMCA. He is also a lay canon of Norwich Cathedral and a member of the Cathedral Chapter. He was the first Town Mayor of Wymondham and served as Sheriff of Norwich for 2014-15. 

George Szirtes

George Szirtes lives in Wymondham and is a poet and translator and retired UEA reader: Born in Budapest, he came to England as a refugee in 1956 aged eight. His first book, “The Slant Door”, was published in 1979 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Other accolades include the 2004 TS Eliot Prize for his collection “Reel”, the Bess Hokin Prize for poetry in 2008, the US Best Translated Book Award in 2014 and he shared the Man Booker International Translators prize in 2015.

Prof Jacqueline Hunter CBE

Prof Jacqueline Hunter is a Professor at St George’s Hospital Medical School and currently CEO of BenevolentBio, where she leads the application of BenevolentAI’s technology for drug development. Following her PhD, she undertook a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral research fellowship at St George’s Hospital Medical School before joining the pharmaceutical industry, working for a number of companies including GSK, Proximagen and OI Pharma Partners, which she founded. Jackie served as CEO of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council between 2013 and 2016. She is also a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and of the Academy of Medical Sciences. For her services to the pharmaceutical industry, she was awarded a CBE in 2010 Birthday Honours and the 2010 Women of Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology Award for Discovery, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is a non-executive director of Chiltern International plc, an Advisory Board member for A* Singapore, a non-Executive Director of the Centre for Excellence in Livestock and an In Focus Ambassador for Women Entrepreneurs for Innovate UK.

Dr Yongguan Zhu

Dr Yongguan Zhu is a Professor of Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biology and the Director General of the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has worked on the biogeochemistry of nutrients, metals and emerging pollutants. He is co-editor-in-chief of “Environmental Technology & Innovation” and associate editor of “Environment International”. He is also a scientific committee member for the ICSU program on Human Health and Wellbeing in Changing Urban Environment and served for nine years as a member of Standing Advisory Group for Nuclear Application, International Atomic Energy Agency (2004-2012). He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a recipient of many merit awards, such as TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries) Agricultural Science Prize (2013), and was selected as highly cited researcher by Web of Science (2016).

Prof Willy Aspinall

Prof Willy Aspinall, who grew up in Lowestoft, is one of the most influential international figures in natural hazards and risk assessment, particularly volcanic and seismic hazards, and in the use of structured expert elicitations to inform scientific decision-making. He’s a recipient of the William Smith Medal of the Geological Society of London for his pioneering contributions to the management of volcanic hazards, and was appointed CMG in the New Year’s Honours for services to Montserrat in relation to the nearly 20 years of eruptive activity there.

Alex Smith                                                                                                                            

Alex Smith, a UEA alumnus, retired last year as CEO of Pier 1 Imports, a Texas-based retailer specialising in imported home furnishing, and is now on a number of private and public boards. His previous roles include director of merchandising at clothing retailer Wallis and the department store Harvey Nichols and managing director of the department store group Owen Owen plc. In the early 1990s he relocated to Singapore as managing director of luxury goods retailer Lane Crawford, returning to the UK as group president of the US retailer TJX Companies, where he was instrumental in the development of the TK Maxx stores in UK and became head of the company’s international operations.

Dinah Rose QC                                                                                                                  

Dinah Rose QC is a British barrister and Deputy High Court Judge. She specialises in human rights, public law and competition law. She was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1989 and took silk in 2006. She was named Barrister of the Year in The Lawyer Awards 2009. She was president of the Leicester University Law Society 2015-16. Notable cases in which she has appeared include claims brought by detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Julian Assange’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

Philippe Sands QC

Philippe Sands QC is Professor of Law at University College London and a barrister at Matrix Chambers. His books “Lawless World” and “Torture Team” address justice and international law, including the illegalities of the Iraq war and the recent embrace of torture. His latest book, “East West Street”, won the 2016 Baillie Gifford Award and the 2017 British Book Award for Non-Fiction, interweaving the origins of international criminal justice with his own family story, connected to Norwich by the discovery that Miss Elsie Tilney, a missionary from the city’s Surrey Chapel had, in 1939, saved the life of his mother. 

Mike Hammond                                                                                                                   

UEA alumnus Mike Hammond joined Sedgwick Group, a large British Insurance broker, after graduating in 1980. He joined the UK Board in 1991 and moved to New York becoming MD of Sedgwick Global Ltd between 1992 & 1997. On returning to the UK he became CEO of Marsh UK in 2000, after the Marsh acquisition of Sedgwick. In 2006 he worked with the Lockton family, owners of Lockton inc. in Kansas City and became the founding Chairman & CEO of Lockton International, which has subsequently grown to be the largest Privately held insurance broker in the world with operations all over the world.He is retiring as Chairman of Lockton this year. Mike is also a past Vice President of, both, the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Insurance Institute of London.

Over many years, Mike has become active in a number of charitable causes and institutions, including establishing a charity, after the events of 9/11 when 295 of his Marsh colleagues died, which awards university scholarships in the UK and USA for students seeking careers in the insurance industry. He was also a past trustee and chairman of Ace Africa, a charity that provides education and support to children impacted by HIV/Aids in Kenya and Tanzania, and has personally supported the local education of two Kenyan children through school and university. He has been an ambassador for Whizzkidz and has actively sought employment opportunities for young wheelchair users in the London insurance community. Finally, he has established two scholarships enabling students to study for a degree at UEA’s School of Economics.

Prof Dame Vicki Bruce

Prof Dame Vicki Bruce is an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She was awarded an OBE for services to psychology in 1997 and made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to higher education and psychology. She was on the psychology review panel at UEA which led to the recommendation to form a School of Psychology.