• Wed. May 29th, 2024

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University honours UK’s leading lights of arts health culture and industry

2016pr054pic3A legendary TV producer, England’s leading nurse, an artist renowned for his fantastical inventions, a Knighted headteacher, Hong Kong’s chief engineer and a former newspaper editor will be among those being honoured by the University of Sunderland next week, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to their industries.

The Honoraries will be joined by almost 3,000 graduates receiving awards from University Chancellor Steve Cram CBE, during a week of ceremonies at the Stadium of Light. Held between 4 and 8 July, close to 12,000 people are expected to attend the Graduation Ceremonies, including proud families and friends.

Among those honoured, with a Doctorate of Arts, will be Sir Peter Bazalgette, the current Chairman of ITV and Chair of Arts Council England. Sir Peter – who popularised Big Brother, created Deal or No Deal, Ready Steady Cook, Changing Rooms and Ground Force, and was once named “the most influential figurein British television” – is a Fellow of Bafta and the Royal Television Society. He has raised funds for arts and media organisations, notably as Chair of the Crossness Engines Trust (a steam museum) and as Deputy Chair of the National Film and Television School, and is the former Chair of English National Opera.

Another recipient of the Doctorate of Arts is inventor Dominic Wilcox, a Sunderland Art & Design graduate, who works between the worlds of art, design, craft and technology to create innovative and thought provoking objects, with commissions by a diverse range of organisations including Paul Smith, Selfridges, The V&A museum, BMW Mini and Jaffa Cakes. In 2009 he started an award nominated blog called Variations on Normal to showcase his sketchbook inventions and observations and his recent projects include the design of a pair of shoes with inbuilt GPS to guide the wearer home and a stained glass driverless car of the future.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt has been a community care worker, nurse, ward manager, academic, teacher and researcher, and is an influential figure in initiatives to improve patient care and advance the quality of the nursing profession. She joined Health Education England in 2012 as Director of Nursing, and is now also Deputy Director of Education and Quality. In her early career, Lisa worked in a variety of nursing roles across the public and private sector specialising in emergency care and surgery. Lisa was also instrumental in the roll-out of Flying Start England, the national development programme for all newly qualified nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in NHS England. Lisa will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Technology is Leo Kwok Kee Leung, who has worked on transport systems, bridges, tunnels, dams and other structures which have brought huge benefits in Europe (including our local Tyne-Wear Metro), Africa and South East Asia. Leo studied Civil Engineering when Sunderland was a Polytechnic, graduating (First Class Hons) in 1983, and as part of his course he worked with the team designing the overhead power line system for the Metro, ensuring the correct position and operation of equipment along the track. Leo is now one of Hong Kong’s most experienced engineers and plays a leading role in professional bodies. He has also had input into Hong Kong’s Government, including its Regional Strategic Planning. He is currently Executive Director of Hopewell Holdings Limited.

Also being honoured with a Doctorate of Technology is Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for UK Manufacturing Operations. As one of the original 22 supervisors hired to launch production at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. in Sunderland, Kevin’s Nissan career has seen him rise through the company in line with the plant’s growth in scale and importance. Kevin is now responsible for everything production-related to Nissan Sunderland Plant, the company’s biggest European factory, supporting 40,000 UK automotive jobs. On a day-to-day basis his job is delivering the production volume of vehicles at the required quality levels and at the required cost. As such Kevin coordinates the activities of teams including purchasing, design and logistics, as well as his own core responsibilities, to ensure that every function is able to meet their cost commitments on the cars built at Sunderland.

Sir Ken Gibson, Headteacher of Harton Technology College in South Shields, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his services to Education. Having transformed two failing North East secondary schools in recent years, Sir Ken – regarded as a ‘super-head’ for the way he brings struggling schools back to their former glory – received a knighthood in HM The Queen’s birthday honours in 2013.

Receiving an Honorary Fellowship during the week-long ceremonies will be the longest-serving editor in the history of the Northern Echo, Peter Barron, who stepped down earlier this year after 17 years at the helm. Peter first started at the Darlington-based newspaper as a reporter in 1984. He said he is most proud of the Echo’s campaigns which included cutting the times people were waiting for heart bypasses and helping convince Hitachi to open a factory in Newton Aycliffe.

Also receiving an Honorary Fellowship is Daniel Thompson, Head Coach with City of Sunderland Amateur Swimming Club, who last year won Coach of the Year award at the 2015 North East Disability Sports Awards. He has also been selected by British Swimming as one of its group of coaches preparing for the Paralympic Games in Rio.

University Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson commented: “We are proud to pay tribute to our honoraries at this year’s Graduation Ceremonies. They have all made a significant impact in their chosen careers and will be a tremendous inspiration to our graduates who are celebrating their academic success before beginning their own career.”


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