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Honorary graduates

The University awards honorary degrees to individuals of high intellectual or cultural disctinction or those who have served the University or the community. These are typically awarded during the University's degree congregations held in January and July each year. On this page you can see our most recent honorary graduates. You can see a full list of all our honorary graduates here.


Malcolm Green

Professor Malcolm Green
Doctor of Science (2014)
Professor Malcolm Green is an internationally renowned chemist. He pioneered the development of the organometallic chemistry of the transition metals and was the first to demonstrate the intermolecular insertion of transition metals into carbon-hydrogen bonds (‘C-H bond activation’). His mechanism for the polymerization of alkenes (eg polythene) is the standard taught in textbooks. He developed a new taxonomy of chemical compounds – the Covalent Bond Classification. In the 1990s, he initiated fundamental studies into carbon nanotubes and other carbon nanomaterials. He also worked in the field of heterogeneous catalysts of hydrocarbon reactions leading to the discovery of highly selective metal carbide catalysts for the catalytic partial oxidation of methane. This resulted in the formation in 2006 of the highly successful spin-off company, Oxford Catalysts plc.

Professor Green has received numerous awards, including the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Medals in Inorganic Chemistry, Transition Chemistry, and Organometallic Chemistry, the Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Medal and Prize, 2000, and the American Chemical Society’s Annual Awards for Inorganic Chemistry and Organometallic Chemistry. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1985, and received the Royal Society’s Davy Medal in 1995.

Steven Katz  Professor Steven Katz
Doctor of Literature (2014)
Professor Katz holds the Slater Chair in Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Boston University and is the former Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1972.

He is the Academic Advisor to the Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a member and former co-chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Chair of the Holocaust Commission of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. His numerous works on the Holocaust and Jewish philosophy include Post-Holocaust Dialogues: Studies in 20th Century Jewish Thought, 1983, which won the 1984 Jewish Book Award in Jewish thought, and The Holocaust in Historical Context, vol. 1, 1994, selected as the “Outstanding book of 1994 in the category of philosophy and religion” by the American Association of Publishers. He has also edited five important books on comparative mysticism, all published by Oxford University Press, the most recent of which is Comparative Mysticism: An Anthology of Original Sources, 2013. He edited Volume IV of The Cambridge History of Judaism: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period which won the 2007 US National Jewish Book Award in the reference category, and he founded and continues to edit the prize-winning journal Modern Judaism.

Tarell McCraney 

Tarell Alvin McCraney
Doctor of Literature (2014)
An award winning American playwright, director and actor, Tarell McCraney is a member of Teo Castellanos/D Projects Theater Company in Miami and was RSC/Warwick International Playwright in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company, 2009-10. In April 2010, he became the 43rd member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble. His plays have premiered at theatres such as Steppenwolf, Chicago, the Royal Court, London, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Tarell graduated from the New World School of the Arts High School in Miami in 1999, with the Exemplary Artist Award and the Dean’s Award in Theater. He holds a BFA in Acting from DePaul University, and has a Master’s Degree from the Yale School of Drama’s playwriting programme, graduating in 2007 with the Cole Porter Playwriting Award. He won the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition and was the 2009 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

Tarell McCraney’s many awards include the 2007 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award; the 2007 Whiting Award; the 2008 London Evening Standard Award for the most promising playwright; the inaugural Windham Campbell Literary Award for Drama and the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Award’, 2013, and in 2014 a prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award and nomination for an Outer Critics Circle Award.

Richard Parry-Jones 

Professor Richard Parry-Jones CBE
Doctor of Science (2014)
Richard Parry-Jones has had around 40 years' global career experience in the automotive industry. Having obtained his BSc in Mechanical Engineering at Salford University, he joined the Ford Motor Company in 1969, rising to become Group Vice-President Global Product Development, Chief Technical Officer and Head of global R&D operations. He was a key player in shaping and implementing Ford’s global business strategy, including the acquisition of Volvo and Land Rover.

In 2012 Professor Parry-Jones became Chairman of Network Rail, where he has launched the Safety Culture Change Programme and has led the submission of a major investment bid to the UK government. He is also a Senior Independent Director of both GKN and Cosworth Group Holdings Ltd. He has played an important role in public life: he chaired the Ministerial Advisory Group for the Deputy First Minister of the Welsh Assembly (2006-11), and, with Secretary of State Vince Cable, currently co-chairs the UK Automotive Council. In 2005, he was made a CBE for services to the automobile industry.

Professor Parry-Jones is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. He holds honorary degrees from Salford, Bangor, Cranfield and Swansea Universities and was Pro-Chancellor of Loughborough University from 2003 to 2012. He also served for five years on the Advisory Board of Warwick Business School.

Subra Suresh 

Dr Subra Suresh
Doctor of Science (2014)
Subra Suresh is President of Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a member of all three of the United States National Academies (the National Academies of Engineering and of Science and the Institute of Medicine), elected in recognition of his pioneering contributions to engineering, sciences and medicine. He has also been elected to membership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences – the highest honour bestowed by the People’s Republic of China – and of academies in India, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Spain.

From 2010 to 2013, Dr Suresh held the prestigious post of Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States. Here, he created the Innovation Corps, the Global Research Council, the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide Initiative and the Science Across Virtual Institutes Program. Before this, he was Dean and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research into the properties of engineered and biological materials and their connections to human diseases (published in over 300 articles, 21 patents and three books) has shaped many disciplines and technologies at the intersections of engineering, sciences and medicine.

Dr Suresh has a Bachelor of Technology degree (first class with distinction) from the Indian institute of Technology, Madras; a Master of Science degree from Iowa State University and a Doctor of Science degree from MIT. He holds ten honorary doctorates from institutes in the United States, Europe and Asia, and the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from the Franklin Institute. In 2011, he received the Padma Shri award, one of the highest civilian honours, from the President of India.

Michael W Doyle 

Professor Michael Doyle
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Michael W. Doyle is an eminent international relations scholar. He is the Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and the Harold Brown Professor of International Affairs, Law and Political Science at Columbia University. He has previously taught at the University of Warwick, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Professor Doyle’s major publications include Ways of War and Peace; Empires; Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict; Making War and Building Peace (co-authored with Nicholas Sambanis), The Question of Intervention: J.S. Mill and the Responsibility to Protect (forthcoming 2014). He has also published numerous articles, chapters in books and occasional essays including "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs: Parts I and II," in Philosophy and Public Affairs and “Liberalism and World Politics,” in the American Political Science Review.In 2001-2003, he served as Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning and Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. His responsibilities in the Secretary-General’s Executive Office included strategic planning (the “Millennium Development Goals”), outreach to the international corporate sector (the “Global Compact’) and relations with Washington. He is the former chair of the Academic Council of the United Nations Community. He served as an individual member and the chair of the UN Democracy Fund, 2006-2013. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

Professor Doyle is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009 he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. He has received two awards from the American Political Science Association: the biennial Charles E. Merriam Award for his significant contribution to the art of government through the application of social science research, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Award for notable public service.

Gautam Banerjee  

Gautam Banerjee
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Gautam Banerjee joined Blackstone Singapore as Senior Adviser and Chairman on 1 January 2013. On 9 May 2014, he was appointed a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Group and Co-Chairman of the firm's Asia Operating Committee. In his new role, Mr Banerjee brings senior focus and oversight to risk, controls, and governance in Asia for the firm, across offices, businesses and functions. He continues to be a key external ambassador for the firm.

Previously, Mr Banerjee served as Executive Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Singapore for nine years until his retirement on 31 December 2012. He spent over 30 years with the firm in various leadership roles in Singapore, India and East Asia.Mr Banerjee is a Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Business Federation and sits on the boards of Singapore Airlines Limited, The Straits Trading Company Limited and Piramal Enterprises Limited. His public sector board appointments include GIC Private Limited and the Economic Development Board. Mr Banerjee’s roles in the not-for-profit sector include being a Governing Board member of Yale-NUS College, a trustee of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) and a Member of the Singapore Legal Service Commission. He was a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore from 2007 to 2009.Mr. Banerjee is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA). He has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Accounting and Financial Analysis from the University of Warwick.

Alexandra Pringle 

Alexandra Pringle
Doctor of Literature (2014)
Alexandra Pringle is Group Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury.She studied for her degree in English and English History at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, now Anglia Ruskin University.

She began her career in publishing as Editorial Assistant on the art magazine Art Monthly. She joined Virago Press in 1978; here she edited the acclaimed Virago Modern Classics series that encompasses writers such as Elizabeth von Arnim, Pat Barker, Edith Wharton and Angela Carter. In 1984 she was made Editorial Director, later becoming part of the management team to steer Virago through their management buy-out from Cape, Chatto and Bodley Head.In 1990 she joined Hamish Hamilton as Editorial Director and four years later left publishing to become a literary agent.

She joined Bloomsbury in 1999. She heads up Bloomsury's Adult Editorial Department and edits her own list of authors, which includes Donna Tartt, Madeline Miller, Barbara Trapido, Richard Ford, Esther Freud, William Boyd, Georgina Harding, Kate Summersdale, Ann Patchett, Jay McInerney, Margaret Atwood, Kamila Shamsie, Colum McCann, Patti Smith, TC Boyle and Elizabeth Gilbert.Alexandra Pringle is a Patron of Index on Censorship and is organiser of literary events at the Chelsea Arts Club. She has an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from Anglia Ruskin University.

Vivian Hunt 

Vivian Hunt
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Vivian Hunt is Director and Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company's United Kingdom and Ireland Offices. Vivian's primary consulting focus is serving leading pharmaceutical companies on a broad range of strategy, development, and organisational topics. Recent examples of her work include global corporate strategy, BU turnaround, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and health economic collaborations with acute hospitals. She also worked on due diligence and post-merger integration in a number of recent global pharmaceutical transactions.

Vivian has led the development of corporate and commercial strategy and operational plans for more than 25 major ethical and over-the-counter drugs in therapeutic areas such as hypertension, diabetes, respiratory, smoking cessation, thrombosis, depression, sexual health, and oncology. She has worked in a range of specialty health contexts, such as Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), acute and mental health trusts; this work has included efforts in brand and channel performance, industry consolidation, regulatory change, and global turnaround strategies.Vivian serves on the board of several UK charities including the Henry Smith Charity and Action on Addiction. Additionally, she sits as chair for the UK Black British Powerlist and was previously named most influential black woman in Britain.Prior to joining McKinsey, Vivian worked in both management and performance-improvement roles in the healthcare and consumer sectors. She has also worked as a Regional Co-ordinator, midwife, and volunteer in the US Peace Corps (Senegal) and as a healthcare project director in New York City.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Matthew Taylor has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006. During this time the Society has substantially increased its output of research and innovation, has provided new routes to support charitable initiatives of its 26,000 Fellows – including crowd funding – ­and has developed a global profile as a platform for ideas.

Prior to this appointment, Matthew was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister. Previous roles include Labour Party Director of Policy and Deputy General Secretary and Chief Executive of the IPPR, the UK’s leading left of centre think tank.Matthew is a regular media performer having appeared several times on the Today programme, Daily Politics and Newsnight. He has written and presented several Radio Four documentaries and is a panellist on the programme Moral Maze.

He has written for newspapers including the FT and Observer and journals including Management Today and the Municipal Journal. He has posted over a thousand times on his RSA blog site and tweets as @RSAMatthew.

Nigel Hitchin   Professor Nigel Hitchin FRS
Doctor of Science (2014)

Nigel Hitchin was born on 2 August 1946. His early education took place in Duffield, near Derby, and he then went to study Mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford, obtaining his BA in 1968.He subsequently gained a DPhil and continued research with Michael Atiyah at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton until 1973.

After a year at New York University, he returned to a Research Fellowship in Oxford and in 1977 played a key role with Atiyah and Singer in showing how the physicists’ “instantons” could be constructed mathematically. This formative experience of using pure mathematics at the interface with physics governed much of his future research, involving differential and algebraic geometry in a variety of contexts.In 1979, he became Tutor in Mathematics at St Catherine’s College, Oxford and in 1990 was appointed Professor at Warwick. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1991 and was President of the London Mathematical Society from 1994-96.In 1994, he was elected to the Rouse Ball Chair in Cambridge, but then in 1997 accepted the offer of the Savilian Professorship of Geometry in Oxford, where he remains.

Professor Hitchin has won the Whitehead, Berwick and Pólya prizes of the London Mathematical Society and the Sylvester Medal of the Royal Society. He is frequently called upon to give named lectures in the USA, Europe and Asia and has served on numerous committees both national and international.

Martyn Day 

Martyn Day
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Martyn Day is the Senior Partner of Leigh Day and Co, a firm of solicitors based in the City of London. Martyn trained with Colombotti and Partners; he moved to Clifford and Co in 1981 and then in the same year to the civil rights practice, Bindman and Partners. In 1987, he set up Leigh Day and Co with Sarah Leigh OBE. The firm now has 30 partners and some 250 staff.

Leigh Day and Co specialises in representing individuals both in the UK and abroad. Martyn is head of the International Claims Team which brings legal actions on behalf of people, primarily in the developing world, against multi-national corporations as well as the British Government. Recent cases have included successful claims on behalf of 30,000 Ivorians against Trafigura Limited following the dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, successfully representing the family of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi tortured and murdered by British soldiers, as well as hundreds of other Iraqis, and suing Shell on behalf of some 30,000 Nigerians following two very large oil spills in 2008.

Martyn is a former Chair of Greenpeace in the UK and CHEM Trust, and is now a Trustee of The Greenpeace Environmental Trust. He is an Executive Committee Member of the Society of Labour Lawyers, and a Fellow of the Association of Professional Injury Lawyers. He is the co-author of Personal Injury Handbook, Toxic Torts, Multi-party Actions and Environmental Action: a Citizen’s Guide. In 2004 he co-authored a report with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Law Foundation, Environmental Justice. Martyn regularly addresses lectures, seminars and media on environmental and justice issues.

Douglas Miller 

Douglas Miller
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Doug is an American, born in Kansas. He lived in London for 32 years and presently resides in Concord, Massachusetts. He is a University of Kansas Honours graduate in International Relations and Economics (1966) and obtained an MBA in 1971 (interrupted by three years in the army). He has been active in the finance industry for over 40 years with senior positions in commercial lending, international leasing, investment banking and private equity. For the last 20 years, he has run his own company, International Private Equity Limited, which specialised in raising capital from institutional investors from 20 countries for private equity funds, raising over US$ 6.5 billion.

Doug is Founder Chairman of both the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) and the Asian Venture Philanthropy Association (AVPA); together these organisations have over 340 members in 40 countries. He has been a personal start-up investor in a number of venture philanthropy funds in the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Estonia and India. He also has direct social enterprise investments in the UK and Mozambique.

He has supported the development and expansion of an existing Multicultural Scholars’ Programme at the University of Kansas from an original nine students up to over 130 students in nine colleges of the University. At the University of Warwick, he was the initiator of a similar Multicultural Scholars’ Programme in the School of Law in 2005. This programme has attracted nearly 80 students, 39 of whom are now graduates. The Programme was expanded in 2012 to Warwick Business School, which at present has ten students in the programme. There are plans for further expansion into other departments at Warwick. Other charitable activities include international development projects in South Asia, Africa and mine clearance projects in Vietnam, Laos, and Sri Lanka.

Ed Byrne  

Professor Ed Byrne AC
Doctor of Science (2014)
Professor Ed Byrne became President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University in 2009, having previously been Vice-Provost (Health) at University College London (UCL). At Monash, he has established a close strategic alliance with the University of Warwick: he is a key proponent of the globally networked research university concept.

Professor Byrne graduated with first class honours from the University of Tasmania in 1974. He became Neurology Registrar at Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1978. In 1983, he was appointed Director of Neurology at St Vincent's Hospital and Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 1992. He was a founding director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and the Centre for Neuroscience, 1993, and in 2001 was made Professor of Experimental Neurology at Melbourne. From 2003 to 2007, he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash.Professor Byrne is a non-executive director of Cochlear Pty Ltd, and was previously a Director of BUPA. He is an Executive Committee Member of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee. He was an executive board member of the Committee for Melbourne from 2009 to 2013. In 2012 he was appointed as a third-term economic consultant of Jiangsu Provincial People's Government. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), and in 2013 became Chairman of the Board of the Global Foundation, an organisation that promotes high-level thinking within Australia and co-operation between Australia and the world.

Professor Byrne has honorary professorships from UCL and Warwick. He holds a Doctor of Science degree from Melbourne, awarded in recognition of his demonstrated record of research excellence. He was admitted as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2014.

 Julie Meyer

Julie Meyer MBE
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Julie Meyer MBE is Chairman and Chief Executive of Ariadne Capital and a Managing Partner of the Ariadne Fund. She founded Ariadne Capital in August 2000 to create a new model for the financing of entrepreneurship in Europe and the UK – ‘Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs’. She created the founding Investor Partnership of 60 leading entrepreneurs and business builders who are Ariadne's core shareholders.

She was part of the early team at Tom Teichman's NewMedia Investors in 1998, where she co-managed deals in key technology companies including ArcCores, and WGSN. She founded First Tuesday, the network of entrepreneurs, credited by many for igniting the Internet generation in Europe, and sold in 2000 for $50 million in cash and shares.

Julie has appeared in the BBC’s award-winning Dragon's Den Online. She is setting up a ‘Dads and Daughters’ foundation to support and extend her thesis that women's identities are shaped by the messages they receive from their fathers as children and young adults. Her first book, Welcome to Entrepreneur Country, was published in 2012.

She has been named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow, TIME Magazine Digital 50, one of Wired's 100, and one of the Top 30 Most Influential Women in Europe. In 2011, she was asked to be on the Secretary of State's Entrepreneurs Panel and the Secretary of Health's Innovation Panel. In 2012, Julie received an honorary MBE, for her services to entrepreneurship.

 Dorothy Wilson

Dorothy Wilson MBE FRSA
Doctor of Literature (2014)
Dorothy was educated in Northumberland, at the University of Wales and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music: she has continued to pursue her interests as a singer, instrumentalist and vocal coach. Since 1990, she has been Artistic Director and Chief Executive of mac birmingham (Midlands Arts Centre). She is a very experienced venue manager and programmer in local authority venues as well as independent theatres and arts centres.

Before joining mac birmingham, Dorothy spent 14 years at West Midlands Arts, including seven years as Deputy Director, working across a range of art forms. For eight years till late 2009 she chaired the West Midlands Regional Arts Council and served on the national board of Arts Council England. She is currently Chair of the boards of a number of charitable organisations, including the BBC Performing Arts Fund, Artrix - Bromsgrove’s Arts Centre and Motionhouse Dance Theatre. She is a Council member of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, a Board member of Dancefest Herefordshire and Worcestershire and of Culture Coventry.

In 2005 she was made ITV Central's Midlander of the Year in the Arts and Media category and received an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University, then UCE. Dorothy was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006 and received an MBE for services to the arts in the New Year’s Honours list 2011.

John Hood 

Dr John Hood
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Dr Hood is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robertson Foundation and Chair of the Rhodes Trust. He also serves as a director on the Board of BG Group, plc; and as Chairman of Urenco Limited, Matakina Limited, and of Study Group Limited. In January 2014, Dr Hood will join the Board of WPP plc.

In addition to these appointments, Dr Hood serves on the Boards of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, the Kawharu Foundation, and the Said Business School Foundation; he also serves on Advisory Boards for Lund University, Singapore Management University, the African Leadership Academy and the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division.

From 2004 to 2009, Dr Hood served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland from 1999 to 2004.

Dr Hood earned a Bachelor of Engineering and a PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of Auckland. Upon completing his doctorate, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. There he read for an MPhil in Management Studies and was a member of Worcester College.

Kevin Finnan  

Dr Kevin Finnan MBE
Doctor of Literature (2014)
As Motionhouse's Artistic Director Kevin has created, either alone or in collaboration with Executive Director Louise Richards, each of Motionhouse major touring productions. This includes all of Motionhouse's theatre productions as well as a series of shorter festival pieces and large-scale outdoor spectacles.

Kevin is passionate about exploring and exploding the traditional use of space in performance and has a history of creating extraordinary dance spectacles including the acclaimed Machine Dance for JCB diggers and dancers. In 2012 he was Choreographer and Movement Director for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. That same year he created The Voyage for the London 2012 Festival – an enormous outdoor performance event performed on a life size ship in the centre of Birmingham and made in collaboration with Legs On The Wall from Australia.

Kevin has created bespoke performance events to celebrate cultural capital celebrations in Copenhagen and Marseille-Provence and has also been commissioned to make-work for numerous other companies in the UK and further afield.

Committed to collaboration, Kevin has worked with artists from many disciplines including writer A.L.Kennedy, installation artist Rosa Sanchez, film-makers Logela Multimedia, set visionary Simon Dormon and international companies such as Legs On The Wall and Vancouver’s Headlines Theatre.

Kevin has an MA in Contemporary Performing Arts from University College Bretton Hall and a PhD in Theatre from Warwick University. He is also a visiting Fellow at the University of Warwick and Associate Artist of Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. He was awarded an MBE for services to Dance in 2013.

Oliver Sacks 

Professor Oliver Sacks
Doctor of Science (2014)
Oliver Sacks was born in 1933 in London, into a family of physicians, scientists and teachers. He earned his medical degree at The Queen’s College, Oxford University, and in 1961 moved to California for his medical residencies and fellowship work. Since 1965, he has lived in New York, where he recently became a Professor of Neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. The University of Warwick has many close ties with NYU, and with the encouragement of David and Susie Sainsbury, Dr. Sacks has become a Visiting Professor at Warwick. We are delighted to welcome him on his first visit in this new capacity.

In 1966, Dr. Sacks began working at a chronic care hospital in the Bronx where he encountered an extraordinary group of patients, many of whom had spent decades in strange, frozen states, like human statues, unable to initiate movement. He recognized these patients as survivors of the great pandemic of encephalitis lethargica, the long-forgotten "sleepy sickness" that had swept the world from 1916 to 1927, and he treated them with a then-experimental drug, L-dopa, which enabled them to come back to life. They became the subjects of his book Awakenings, which later inspired a play by Harold Pinter (“A Kind of Alaska”) and the Oscar-nominated feature film (“Awakenings”) with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

The New York Times has referred to Dr. Sacks as “the poet laureate of medicine,” because he sees and practices medicine not only as a science but as an art, and because his work has given voice to many people normally overlooked by society. In books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars, Sacks describes patients struggling to live with conditions ranging from Tourette’s syndrome to autism, parkinsonism, epilepsy, phantom limb syndrome, retardation, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Sacks's books and essays have deeply influenced our understanding of human illness and the ways in which we adapt to illness as patients, the ways we care for those who are neurologically challenged, and the fundamental ways in which illness affects our identity as individuals or communities.

His work has not only inspired countless young people to embark on careers in medicine and health care; it has inspired and fertilized the work of a wide array of scientists working in subjects ranging from the mechanics of visual and auditory perception to the workings of memory and consciousness itself. Sacks’s work has also permeated the culture at large, so that people now speak of “Oliver Sacks-like conditions” when they mean something odd and interesting that requires our compassion and understanding—or that sheds light on the ways in which the human brain functions and adapts and shapes our world. Even people who have not read any of his books are likely to have heard of his ideas—either on the radio, television, or internet, or in one of the many artistic adaptations that have been made of his work. Some of our leading artists and writers, including Harold Pinter, Peter Brook, and Brian Friel, have been inspired to adapt Sacks’s work for the stage.

His newest book, Hallucinations, has received marvellous reviews from Hilary Mantel and many others. Will Self, writing in the Guardian, calls the book “the keystone of the amazing edifice that is this remarkable thinker’s oeuvre, a body of work that sets out to do nothing more or less than examine the totality of human being from the perspective of neurology.”

George Loewenstein 

Professor George Loewenstein
Doctor of Science (2014)
George Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1985 and since then has held academic positions at The University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University, and fellowships at Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, The Russell Sage Foundation and The Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He is one of the founders of the field of behavioral economics and more recently of the field of neuroeconomics. He is past president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Loewenstein's research focuses on applications of psychology to economics, and his specific interests include decision making over time, bargaining and negotiations, psychology and health, law and economics, the psychology of adaptation, the role of emotion in decision making, the psychology of curiosity, conflict of interest, and "out of control" behaviors such as impulsive violent crime and drug addiction. He has published over 200 journal articles and book chapters, and has written or edited 6 books on topics ranging from intertemporal choice to behavioral economics to emotions.

Vernon Ellis 

Sir Vernon Ellis
Doctor of Laws (2014)
Vernon Ellis is Chair of the British Council. Since taking the Chair in 2010, he has led the Board and management through an extensive reframing of the strategy and organisation structure. He has a background in both business and the arts.

Prior to early 2010, he spent all his working life at Accenture in a number of major operational roles overseeing a period of extraordinary growth. From 2000, he was International Chairman with a focus on geographic strategy, the transition to a public company and external relations. Inter alia, he led the global Corporate Citizenship Activities through its pro bono, volunteering and Foundations giving activities. He was also the founder Chairman of Accenture Development Partnerships as well as leading Accenture’s activities with the World Economic Forum at Davos.

He is Chairman of Martin Randall Travel and of One Medicare, a company providing primary health care services to the NHS. He is a non-executive Director of FTI Consulting Inc.

He is President of English National Opera, having been Chairman from 2006-12, was for 6 years a Trustee of the Royal College of Music and is currently Chair of the National Opera Studio. Through his Foundation he supports a wide range of arts organisations and he also organises around 60 concerts a year at his home in London. He has a growing interest and involvement in organisations bringing music experience to schools.

He was knighted in 2011 for services to music and in 2012 was appointed Chairman of the Arts and Media Honours Committee and a member of the overall Honours Committee and the Philanthropy Committee.


Leslie Valiant

Professor Leslie Valiant
Doctor of Science (2013)
Leslie Valiant was educated at King's College, Cambridge; Imperial College, London and at the University of Warwick, where he received his PhD in computer science in 1974. He is currently T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1982. Before coming to Harvard he had taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Leeds University, and the University of Edinburgh.

His work has ranged over several areas of theoretical computer science, particularly complexity theory, learning, and parallel computation. He also has interests in computational neuroscience, evolution and artificial intelligence. Leslie is the author of two books, Circuits of the Mind, and Probably Approximately Correct.

He received the Nevanlinna Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1986, the Knuth Award in 1997, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science EATCS Award in 2008, and the 2010 A. M. Turing Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

lester.jpg Adrian Lester
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Adrian Lester is an award-winning actor, director and writer who was born in Birmingham in 1968 and began acting with the Birmingham Youth Theatre at the age of 14. He went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for three years.

Adrian’s acting career quickly began and he appeared on stage with the Royal National Theatre in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. His subsequent theatre experience includes major roles in Company, As You Like it, Six Degrees of Separation, Kiss of the Spider Woman, a Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the title role in Peter Brook’s 2000 production of Hamlet, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and of course the title roles of both Othello and Henry V for the National Theatre.

Adrian’s achievements were celebrated when Adrian was appointed Office of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for Services to drama.


Anne Marie Slaughter
Doctor of Laws (2013)
Professor Slaughter is president of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute and idea incubator based in Washington and New York and professor emerita at Princeton University. From 2009–2011 she served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Upon leaving the State Department she received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for her work leading the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, as well as meritorious service awards from USAID and the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe. Prior to her government service, Dr Slaughter was the Dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002–2009 and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School from 1994-2002.

robert_caulderbank_3.jpg Robert Calderbank
Doctor of Science (2013)
Professor Calderbank graduated from Warwick in 1975 with a first class honours in Mathematics. His postgraduate studies took him to Oxford and the United States where he received a PhD from the California Institute of Technology. Robert spent 20 years in industry, joining Bell Labs as a member of technical staff and retiring from AT&T in 2003 as Vice President for Research with additional responsibility for Intellectual Property.

Professor Calderbank was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005 and received the IEEE Hamming Medal in 2013.

In 2004 he joined Princeton University as Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. He joined Duke University in 2010 as Dean of Natural Sciences. He has served as Director of the Duke Initiative in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and he currently directs the Information Initiative at Duke.


Sir Paul Nurse
Doctor of Science (2013)
Sir Paul is a geneticist and cell biologist, President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London and has served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and President of Rockefeller University.

He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and has received the Albert Lasker Award and the Royal Society's Royal and Copley Medals. He was knighted in 1999 for services in cancer research and cell biology, and he received the Legion d'honneur in 2003.


Gregory Doran
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Gregory Doran is Artistic Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). His career with the RSC dates back to 1987, when he joined as an actor. He became an Assistant Director in 1989 and he was made an Associate Director in 1996 before he was appointed Chief Associate Director in 2006.

He is an Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute. He is also the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Drama at the University of Oxford.

In June 2012, he received the Sam Wanamaker Award from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, an annual award that recognises and celebrates work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare.


Ruth Jones
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Ruth Jones is an actress, writer and producer. Born in Bridgend, South Wales, she studied Theatre Studies and Dramatic Arts at Warwick between 1985 and 1988. She went on to study acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Her first professional acting role was with Dominic Cooke's theatre company Pan Optic playing the countess in a national tour of The Marriage of Figaro.

Ruth’s subsequent success meant that she quickly became a household name. Perhaps best known for co-scripting and starring in the multi-award winning hit TV comedy Gavin and Stacey, for which she won the Best Female Comedy Newcomer award at the British Comedy Awards in 2007.

In 2009 Ruth scooped the Sian Phillips Award by Bafta Cymru was made a Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and drama in 2009.


Michael Mackenzie
Doctor of Letter (2013)
Whilst working in Bosnia in 1993, Mike broke his ribs, collapsed his lungs, lost his spleen, broke his hands, lost his left leg, gave his head a serious bash and severed his spinal cord, resulting in paralysis from the chest level. He ended up in The National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville. He later lost the other leg.

After 18 months in hospital he returned home and found that, with some determination, life was a great but very possible challenge. Michael is now a motivational speaker, hotel and leisure industry disability consultant, writer, charity chairman and adventurer.

Michael founded Spinal Injuries Together, a consortium of five national spinal charities, for which he is now Founding President. He is a Director at Motorsport Endeavour, a motorsport organisation for disabled people, especially service personnel. He is a Trustee at Dive-able, an organisation training people with disabilities to scuba dive. He is also Chairman and Trustee of the Poppa Guttmann Trust.


Jan de Vries
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Jan de Vries holds the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Chair in European History and an appointment in the Economics department the University of California at Berkeley.

Jan is a past president of the Economic History Association and was editor of the Journal of Economic History. He has Woodrow Wilson and Guggenheim fellowships and has held visiting fellowships to the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, and All Souls College, Oxford.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the British Academy, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and the Flemish Academy of Sciences of Belgium. He is the 2000 recipient of the A.H. Heineken Prize in History.

dominic_cooke_2.jpg  Dominic Cooke
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Dominic Cooke is a theatre director who studied at the University of Warwick. After graduating he took on his first job in television, as a runner. He then founded a production company which he ran for two years until he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as an Assistant Director. At the same time he worked as a freelance director. He joined London’s Royal Court Theatre as Associate Director in 1999. He then worked as Associate Director of the RSC between 2002 and 2006.


Prue Leith
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Prue Leith is a novelist who has also been a food writer, television presenter, cook, caterer, teacher, businesswoman, journalist and charity worker.

Prue chaired the School Food Trust from November 2006 until January 2010, helping transform school meals. She has also been a judge on the BBC television programme Great British Menu since its inception in 2006. Prue’s honours include an OBE, awarded in 1989, the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year award, which she received in 1990, and a CBE, awarded in 2010.


Earl Cameron
Doctor of Letters (2013)
Born in Bermuda and now living in Kenilworth, Earl was one of the first black actors to break the unofficial "colour bar" on film and TV, beginning with his breakthrough film acting role in Pool of London, a 1951 film set in post-war London involving racial prejudice, romance and a diamond robbery. Most recently his roles include Inception, The Interpreter and The Queen. Earl has also appeared on a range of TV shows including Danger Man, The Prisoner, Jackanory, Doctor Who, Dixon of Dock Green, Crown Court, Lovejoy, Waking the Dead, Kavanagh QC and EastEnders.

In 2009 Earl was awarded a CBE for his services to drama and The Earl Cameron Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda, was named in his honour in 2012.

img_0094_edited.jpg Fiona Reynolds
Doctor of Science (2013)
Dame Fiona Reynolds is Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She was Director-General of the National Trust from 2001 until 2012. Previously she had served as the Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office, Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England and Secretary to the Council for National Parks. She was awarded the CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998, Dame Fiona was then appointed a DBE in 2008.