Dame Sarah Gilbert, Myleene Klass and Adam Kay among honorary graduates attending UEA’s 2022 graduation ceremonies

Published by  Communications

On 11th Jul 2022

Clockwise from top left: Samira Ahmed; Myleene Klass; Fiona Igwe; Adam Kay (credit: Charlie Clift); Dame Sarah Gilbert (credit: John Cairns/University of Oxford); Simon Thomas (credit: Jonny Barratt)

Clockwise from top left: Samira Ahmed; Myleene Klass; Fiona Igwe; Adam Kay (credit: Charlie Clift); Dame Sarah Gilbert (credit: John Cairns/University of Oxford); Simon Thomas (credit: Jonny Barratt)

 

Number-one best-selling authors, nationally-renowned TV presenters, campaigners for justice and equality and the project leader for one of the UK’s most widely used vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic – all of them and more will be heading to University of East Anglia’s (UEA’s) campus to receive honorary degrees during the University’s graduation celebration this month.

Twenty-five honorary graduates will be joining nearly 11,000 students from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 to receive their honour in ceremonies between Monday 14 – Friday 26 July. The 26 graduation ceremonies at Sportspark will be UEA’s first for three years.

Honorary degrees are awarded to acknowledge individuals for outstanding accomplishments in their field or for exceptional contributions to the community. Each honorary graduate will give a short speech at one of the upcoming ceremonies and receive one of three awards: an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law; an Honorary Doctorate in Letters or an Honorary Doctorate in Science.

 

See the full list of UEA Honorary Graduates 2022

 

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert is a vaccinologist and project leader of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine – the AstraZeneca vaccine. A Biological Sciences graduate at UEA, Dame Sarah and her team delivered a vaccine ready for clinical trials just a couple of weeks into the first COVID-19 UK-wide lockdown in 2020, with the AstraZeneca vaccine going on to be used in over 160 countries across the world.

Dame Sarah said: ““It is wonderful to be awarded an honorary degree from the University at which I began my scientific career. I look forward to visiting the campus next year to see how things have changed.”

A number of recognisable figures from the world of broadcasting will also be heading to campus later this month. Samira Ahmed has a storied history as a current affairs journalist and is a familiar name to listeners of BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme Front Row and viewers of Newswatch on BBC1. The Broadcasting Press Guild named her Audio Presenter of the Year in 2020, the same year she won a landmark sex discrimination case against the BBC for equal pay.

The One Show’s Myleene Klass hails from Great Yarmouth and has several no.1 classical albums to her name, while Norfolk-born Simon Thomas rose to fame as host of Blue Peter and has since gone on to front sports coverage for Sky Sports and Amazon Prime.

Samira said: “I was really touched to be awarded this honorary degree. Especially as it’s only thanks to the support of my union, the National Union of Journalists, and two outstanding lawyers - barrister Claire Darwin and solicitor Caroline Underhill - that I was able to bring and win my successful sex discrimination case against the BBC for equal pay.”

Myleene said: “It’s a huge honour and I couldn’t be more proud as I will be accepting my degree in the presence of my family. To be returning to my home city and to have this support and recognition is extremely humbling.

Simon said: “Being Norfolk born and bred, receiving an honorary degree by UEA is a massive honour and a hugely proud moment. This means an awful lot to me.”

UEA has a long-held association with creative writing, and fittingly there are a host of bestselling authors on the 2022 honorary graduates list. In fact, Adam Kay’s debut novel ‘This Is Going To Hurt’, which diarised his career as a junior doctor in the NHS, spent over a year at number one in the Sunday Times bestseller list, and has since been adapted into a BBC series. Paula Hawkins has sold over 28 million books worldwide and her most famous novel, ‘The Girl On The Train’, has been published in more than 50 languages and was adapted into a box office film in 2016.

Adam said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be awarded an honorary degree by such an inspiring institution as UEA, not just famed the world over for its creative writing course, but with a ground-breaking and hugely respected medical school. I just hope I don’t bring down the tone too much!”

Paula said: “Although I’m not an alumnus of UEA, I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know the wonderful staff in the creative writing department over the past few years, and I’ve huge admiration for the work that UEA does to ensure that talented young writers get a chance to hone their skills and put their stories out into the world.”

Sir Norman Lamb, Member of Parliament for North Norfolk for 18 years and Minister of State Care and Support at the Department of Health from 2012 to 2015, is being recognised for his impact in politics and local government, as is Laura McGillivray MBE, who served as Chief Executive of Norwich City Council for 14 years and was Chair of UEA Council during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sir Norman said: “I’m massively honoured to be awarded this degree given that it was my father’s appointment to UEA that first brought me and my family to Norfolk as a teenager, so I have always felt a close association with UEA."

Laura said: “UEA is so close to my heart, it will be wonderful to be able to come to the University and receive the degree at the same time as so many students.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson said: “As our students take the first step in their careers on graduation day, it’s always inspiring for them to be able to listen to insight from those who have gone on to find great success in their field, many of whom have a connection to UEA.

“From Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, who contributed towards the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of pulsars in 1974, to UEA alumnus Fiona Igwe, who was instrumental in the University signing up to the Race Equality Charter in 2018 and has gone on to establish the Eradicate Hate anti-racism campaign, all of our Honorary Graduates are excellent role models for our students to aspire to. I’m looking forward to meeting them all and hearing their stories.”

Details on all 25 of UEA’s 2022 honorary graduates, including a full selection of quotes and a short biography for each, can be found on the University website, with a list of when they are attending their ceremonies below. (Please note that this list contains individuals who are receiving honorary doctorates from UEA in 2022 but not attending this month’s ceremonies.)

Ceremony date

Ceremony time

Honorary graduate

Award 

Thursday 14 July

Morning

Myleene Klass 

Letters 

Evening

James Bartram 

Science 

Friday 15 July

Morning

Samira Ahmed 

Civil Law 

Afternoon

Philip Millward & Jeannie Millward

Civil Law

Evening

Professor Ray Jones 

Civil Law 

Monday 18 July

Morning

Dr Timothy Whitley 

Science 

Afternoon

Kathryn J. Skoyles 

Civil Law 

Evening

Fiona Igwe  

Civil Law 

Tuesday 19 July

Morning

Laura McGillivray MBE 

Civil Law 

Afternoon

Professor Paul Wellings CBE 

Science 

Evening

Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell 

Science 

Wednesday 20 July

Morning

Tony Davies 

Science 

Afternoon

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert 

Science 

Thursday 21 July

Morning

David Hill 

Civil Law 

Afternoon

Sir Norman Lamb 

Civil Law 

Evening

Kip Bertram 

Letters 

Friday 22 July

Morning

Mike Rands 

Science 

Afternoon

Peter Simpson 

Science 

Evening

Mary Chamberlain 

Letters 

Monday 25 July

Morning

Hermione Elliott 

Civil Law 

Afternoon

Mike Smith-Clare 

Civil Law 

Evening

Adam Kay 

Letters 

Tuesday 26 July

Morning

Sir Martin Laing 

Civil Law 

Afternoon

Simon Thomas 

Letters 

Evening

Paula Hawkins 

Letters 

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