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Honorary Degrees for Pensions Campaigner, World Trade Director and Theatre Critic

The University of Warwick has announced that it is to award 15 Honorary degrees during its Summer degree ceremonies on 13th- 17th July. They include awards to pensions campaigner Rodney Bickerstaffe, Leamington born theatre critic Michael Billington, and Pascal Lamy  Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. Short biographies of each of the people who will receive a Warwick Honorary degree with details on their degree follow below. Dates and times of press opportunities during the ceremonies will follow in July.  

Rodney Bickerstaffe Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws)

Rodney Bickerstaffe  has been  president of the UK National Pensioners Convention, and was also leader of Britain's largest trade union, UNISON until 2001.

He became an organiser for the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) in 1966 in Yorkshire, rising to be divisional officer of the northern division. He then became national officer responsible for members working in local government, universities and the water industry. In 1981 he was appointed NUPE general secretary. When NUPE, COHSE and NALGO merged to create UNISON in July 1993 he became Associate General Secretary and was elected General Secretary in November 1995.

He retired from UNISON in 2001 and succeeded Jack Jones as president of the National Pensioners Convention in April 2001. The organisation champions the rights and voice of Britain's 11 million pensioners and campaigns for better pensions and healthcare. He stood down in 2005 to focus on his international commitments . He chairs the Global Network which works with organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America and is the President of War on Want.

Michael Billington Hon DLitt (Doctor of Letters)

Michael Billington was actually born in Leamington Spa in 1939 (one of the nearest towns to the University of Warwick) and attended Warwick School. 

He began working as an arts critic in Liverpool in 1961 for the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo. From 1962 to 1964, he served as public liaison officer and Director for the Lincoln Theatre Company, in Lincolnshire. From 1965 to 1971, he reviewed television, movies, and plays as an arts critic for The Times; from 1968 to 1978, he was also film reviewer for the Birmingham Post, and from 1968 to 1981, for The Illustrated London News. In October 1971, he left The Times to become theatre critic for The Guardian. He has also served as London arts correspondent for The New York Times, and as drama critic for Country Life.

He has also directed a number of plays. As a member of Oxford University Dramatic Society he directed a production of Eugène Ionesco's The Bald Prima Donna, a performance of which was attended by Harold Hobson, the drama critic for The Sunday Times. His directing work also includes The Will by Marivaux at the Barbican Conservatory, London, with an ensemble from the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987; Pinter's The Lover and Strindberg's The Stronger at the Battersea Arts Centre in 1997, and in 2008 at the MacOwan Theatre, Kensington, Pinter's Party Time and Celebration with students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

He has been a presenter on Critics Forum and Kaleidoscope (now Front Row), both broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and contributed regularly to other British arts and drama radio and television programmes. He has taught in the University of Pennsylvania's Penn English Program in London since 2006, and he teaches courses in theatre at King's College London, where he has been a visiting professor since 2002. He is the author of several biographical and critical studies of subjects relating to British theatre and the arts.

Val Gooding CBE Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws)

Val Gooding is a non-executive director to the BBC's Executive Board.  She is also a non-executive director of Standard Chartered and J Sainsbury.  Val was the Chief Executive of BUPA from 1998 to 2008. She joined BUPA from British Airways in 1996.

She worked with British Airways for more than 20 years in a variety of posts including Head of Cabin Services, Head of Marketing and Director of Asia Pacific. She is an Advisory Board Member of Warwick Business School, a Trustee of the British Museum and a non-executive director of the Lawn Tennis Association.

She was awarded the CBE for services to business in the 2002 New Year's Honours list.

Professor Leroy Hood  Hon DSc (Doctor of Science)

Leroy Hood is a renowned research biologist whose career has focussed on the study of molecular immunology, geneomics and biotechnology. He won the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Prize for inventing "four instruments that have unlocked much of the mystery of human biology" as they played a significant role in decoding the genome.  In 2000 he co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.

He has been  awarded a number of other prizes including the 1987 Lasker Prize for his studies on the mechanism of immune diversity; the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Award for outstanding contributions to Biomolecular Technologies in 2000; the 2002 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology for technology development;  the 2004 Biotechnology Heritage award, the 12th Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment in 2006 for his extraordinary breakthroughs in biomedical science; and the 2006 Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award for his society-transforming use of information technology

Brenda King MBE  Hon MA (Master of Arts)

Brenda King is Chief Executive of ACDiversity, President of the specialised section in employment, social affairs and citizenship ( SOC) of the European Economic and Social Committee, Commissioner of the Women's National Commission and Advisory Board member on Hays Executive and VSO. The European Economic and Social Committee is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups, and others, a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. In October 2003 Brenda was presented with the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners' European Award for her work with the European Union.

She works in the area of change management and advises a number of government departments, blue chip companies, voluntary organisations and special interest groups on their diversity strategies. Brenda was a senior Consultant with Royal Mail Group for 15 years and during her time there she led many cultural change programmes. In the 2004 Brenda was awarded an MBE for her work within the African and Caribbean communities. In January 2005 she was appointed a Commissioner of the Women’s National Commission, an independent advisory body giving the views of women to the UK government. She is also an independent assessor for the appointment of people on public bodies.

Brenda was educated at Harrison College, Barbados; has a BSc in Statistics and Computing from University College, London (1985) and also has a MSc in Management Science and Operational Research from Warwick.

Pascal Lamy Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws)

Pascal Lamy has been Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since September 2005.

He holds degrees from the Paris based Ecole des Hautes Études Commerciales ( HEC), from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) and from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA). He began his career in the French civil service at the Inspection Générale des Finances and at the Treasury. He then became an advisor to the Finance Minister Jacques Delors, and subsequently to Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy.

From 1985 to 1994, Pascal Lamy was Chief of Staff for the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, and his representative  in the G7.  In November 1994, he joined the team in charge of rescuing Credit Lyonnais, and later became CEO of the bank until its privatisation in 1999. Between 1999 and 2004, Pascal Lamy was Commissioner for Trade at the European Commission under Romano Prodi.

After his tenure in Brussels, Pascal Lamy spent a short sabbatical period as President of “Notre Europe”, a think tank working on European integration, as associate Professor at the l’Institut d’études politiques in Paris and as advisor to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (President of the European Socialist Party).

His publications include: Towards World Democracy (Policy Network) (La démocratie monde: pour une autre gouvernance globale (Seuil, 2004)) ; L'Europe en première ligne  with Erik Orsenna (Seuil, 2002);  The Europe We Want with Jean Pisani-Ferry (Policy Network) (L'Europe de nos volontés (Plon, 2002); and Monde-Europe (Dunod, 1993).

Professor Bruno Latour Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws)

Bruno Latour, trained first as a philosopher and then an anthropologist. From 1982 to 2006, he was a professor at the Centre de sociologie de l'Innovation at the Ecole nationale supérieure des mines in Paris.  He is now professor at Sciences Po Paris.

He has specialized in the analysis of scientists and engineers at work. In addition to work in philosophy, history, sociology and anthropology of science, he has collaborated into many studies in science policy and research management.

He publications include a series of books exploring the consequences of science studies on different traditional topics of the social sciences. He has also been curator of major international exhibitions on themes of   “The image wars in science, religion and art”, and “The atmospheres of democracy”.

His Awards and Honours include: in 1992 the Bernal Prize awarded by the 4S Society, the Prix Roberval du Livre et de la Communication grand public (for Aramis ou l’amour des techniques),  in 2005 the Spinoza Chair of the University of Amsterdam, in 2008 the  Medal of Honor of the  Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bologna, in 2008 he was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass and in the same year received the Siegfried Unseld Prize for his life achievements.

Dr James Martin Hon DSc (Doctor of Science)

Dr James Martin founded the Institute for Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford and the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford.  The mission of the 21st Century School is to utilize integrated scholarship across a range of disciplines to identify, research and find solutions to the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century. He has probably written more textbooks than any other living person (104).  His latest book, The Meaning of the 21st Century has been made into a major film. The Wired Society, written by Martin in 1977, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and contained remarkably accurate and timely descriptions of the use of computers and the Internet 25 years later. 

He was ranked 4th in Computer World’s 25th Anniversary Edition’s most influential people in computer technology. He has commonly been referred to in the IT world as the "Father of CASE" (Computer-Aided Systems Engineering) - tools that help automate software development. The original prototypes for the Texas Instruments and KnowledgeWare CASE tools were built in Martin's home under his direction.  He founded WatchIT, a company making computerized education for IT professionals, and James Martin and Company, now called "Headstrong," which has a leading-edge reputation for ultra-complex systems development.

Peter Ogden Hon DSc (Doctor of Science)

Peter Ogden is a successful businessman who has invested much of the proceeds of that success into a range of chartable activities including a charitable trust to help bright children from low income backgrounds. His early business career was in investment banking in both the UK and the US. In 1981 he co-founded the computer services company Computacenter, of which he was Executive Chairman from 1981 – 1997. When Computacenter became a UK public company in 1998, Peter Ogden placed the entire proceeds of the 3,500,000 shares that he sold in the flotation (£22.5m) into the Ogden Charitable Trust, with the intention of helping bright children from low income backgrounds, and science education.

When the Ogden Trust was launched in November 1999, he said “Entrepreneurs need to think responsibly about the distribution of their wealth. There is not much point in dying wealthy and leaving the problem to another generation. I chose education because it is so fundamental to the development of an individual”.

He received a knighthood for services to education from Her Majesty the Queen, at Buckingham Palace on 9 February 2005.

Professor Stephen O’Rahilly Hon DSc (Doctor of Science)

Professor Stephen O’Rahilly is Professor of Clinical Biochemistry & Medicine and Head of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Clinical Biochemistry.  He is Co-Director of the Institute of Metabolic Science, which he also founded, and is also Director of the Metabolic Research Laboratories at the University of Cambridge.  He is recognised world-wide as a leader in research relating to fundamental defects that result in human diabetes.  His work has provided a better molecular understanding of these disease processes so that improved therapy can be designed. His work has lead to many fundamental contributions to our understanding of the normal biology of insulin action and also defects that cause both human obesity and insulin resistance. 

He continues to be actively involved in clinical practice and the teaching of clinical medical students, has won many awards for his research including the Society for Endocrinology Medal, the Graham Bull Prize of the Royal College of Physicians of London, the European Journal of Endocrinology Prize, the Novartis International Award for Clinical Research in Diabetes, the Heinrich Wieland Prize and the Rolf Luft Award. He was elected to the Royal Society in 2003.

Brian Pearce  Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws)

Brian Pearce recently retired as Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK. He had been Director of the Inter Faith network for the UK since it was established in 1987. 

Before becoming involved full time in inter faith work, he served in the civil service from 1959 to 1986, including posts in the Department of Economic Affairs, Civil Service Department and HM Treasury.  He took a sabbatical from the Treasury to help with exploratory work to look at the need for a new body which could link the major faiths in the UK and promote good relations between people of different religions.  He was already active in the World Congress of Faiths, the Council of Christians and Jews and the Inter-Faith Committee of the British Council of Churches and set up the Inter Faith Network for the UK.

The Inter Faith Network links national representative organisations of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian communities; national and local inter faith organisations; and educational bodies with an interest in inter faith and multi faith issues.  It works at national and local levels to foster inter faith co-operations and understanding.  Under Brian Pearce’s leadership, the Network has had significant educational outreach, working with  Ministries and with education NGOs such as the Religious Education Council of England & Wales, the Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education and European Association for World Religions in Education, and has facilitated work at the interface between the study of religions and citizenship education through the organisation of conferences.

David Richards CBE  Hon MA (Master of Arts)

After studying accountancy, David became a professional rally co-driver, competing for the factory Leyland, Opel and Ford teams. Whilst with Ford, he co-drove Ari Vatanen to victory in the British and Scandinavian Championships, and finished his competition career by winning the World Rally Championship title with Vatanen in 1981.

Following the 1981 season, David devoted his time to developing his business interests, which led to the formation of his own rally team and the creation of Prodrive in 1984. The company established its headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire, where, under David’s direction, it has grown into a world leading independent motorsport and automotive technology business, with operations on four continents, employing nearly 1000 staff, and with annual sales of £100 million.

Since 1984, Prodrive has won more than 200 international motorsport events, as well as six World Rally titles with Subaru; five British Touring Car championships with BMW, Alfa Romeo and Ford; and class wins at Le Mans with Ferrari in 2003 and Aston Martin in 2007 and 2008.  In 2004, the BAR Honda F1 team, managed by Prodrive, finished runners up in the F1 Constructors’ Championship. Today, Prodrive oversees the Subaru World Rally Team, Aston Martin’s sports car racing programme, as well as the Ford Performance Racing team in Australia.

David also sits on the Advisory Board of the Warwick Business School, and is also a member of Government Motorsport Development UK.  In the 2005 New Years’ honours, he was made a Commander of the British Empire, CBE, for his services to motorsport.

Dr Peter Sloterdijk  Hon DLitt (Doctor of Letters)

Since the publication of his Critique of Cynical Reason (English version 1988) Professor Dr Peter Sloterdijk has become the most important representative of the post-Frankfurt School of critical theory in Germany.  In a series of publications, ranging from treatments of Nietzsche (Thinker on Stage), engagement with postmodern philosophy (Derrida, ein Ägypter), and discussions of the relationship between religion, science and politics (Eurotaoismus, Regeln für den Menschenpark), leading to his famous dispute with Jürgen Habermas in 2001 over genetic engineering and eugenics), to the recent three-volume work Sphären (spheres), Professor Sloterdijk has cemented his role as one of Europe’s most sought-after intellectuals.  In addition, he is a national media figure in Germany, hosting the bi-monthly discussion programme Philosophische Quartett on ZDF.  For many years Professor Sloterdijk operated as a freelance writer but since 1992 he has taught at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, a leading institution in higher education devoted to research and teaching on the relationship between philosophy, the arts, the human sciences and new modes of communication.  For the last few years he has been its Rector.   Last summer, he spent time at Warwick as a Visiting Fellow in The Warwick Institute of Advanced Study.

Professor Joseph Roach Hon DLitt (Doctor of Letters)

Joseph Roach is Sterling Professor of Theatre and Professor of English and African American Studies at Yale University, where he leads the World Performance Project.

A foremost theatre historian and pioneer in the development of performance studies methods and research, his books include Cities of the Dead: Circum- Atlantic Performance (1996), for which he won the Lowell and Calloway prizes; The Players’ Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (1985) for which he won the Barnard Hewitt Award, and his most recent book It (2007), which discusses “the easily perceived but hard-to-define quality possessed by abnormally interesting people.”

His research looks at the threshold between life and death, the relationships between religion, ritual, performance, and daily life, and the way in which history “isn’t over yet.”

He has also directed over forty plays and operas, most recently "PsychoHamlet” (2006)

Martin Wolf CBE  Hon DSc (Doctor of Science)

Martin Wolf is Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times.

In 1971, he joined the World Bank. He worked as an economist of the World Bank on East Africa from 1972 to 1974 and on India from 1974 to 1977.  In September 1981, Martin Wolf joined the London-based Trade Policy Research Centre as Director of Studies.   He has advised governments and international organizations on trade and economic integration.  He is the author of several books and numerous articles on global economics and political economy, including, most recently, Why Globalization Works and Fixing Global Finance.  In 1987 he joined the FT as Chief Economics  Leader Writer  and became  Chief Economics Commentator in 1996. Healso  become Associate Editor of the Financial Times in 1990.

Mr Wolf was joint winner of the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism for 1989 and 1997.  He won the RTZ David Watt memorial prize for 1994, the “Accenture Decade of Excellence” at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards of 2003 and the Newspaper Feature of the Year Award at the Workworld Media Awards 2003.  On December 1 2005 he was given First Magazine’s “Special Advocacy Award” at its annual “Award for Responsible Capitalism”.  In January 2008, he won the AMEC Lifetime Achievement Award at the Workworld Media Awards for 2007.  He came second equal in the Royal Statistical Society’s awards for statistical excellence in journalism for 2008, in the category for print and online journalism.  He won the “Commentator of the Year” award at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards 2008.  He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 "for services to financial journalism". In 2009 he won the “Ludwig-Erhard-Preis für Wirtschaftspublizistik” (“Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary”) from the Ludwig Erhard Stiftung (Foundation).

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager

Communications Office, University House,

University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom  


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