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BBC journalist, Paralympic gold medallist, South African mediator, & NASA scientist to receive honorary degrees from the University of Warwick

Leading BBC Journalist Stephen Sackur, Paralympic rowing gold medallist Pamela Relph, a South African conflict mediator Peter Harris, and a NASA scientist Douglas Terrier, are just four of the people who will receive honorary degrees from the University of Warwick at its 2018 summer graduation ceremonies in July.

The University’s summer graduations will take place throughout the period Tuesday 17th – 25th July 2018 (excluding the weekend) and they will be held in the Butterworth Hall in Warwick Arts Centre.

Biographies of all of those who will receive Honorary Degrees follow below, along with the title of the degree they will receive. Details of media opportunities for each honorary graduand will be released nearer the time.


Tuesday 17th July Morning
Peter Harris (Hon LLD)
Professor Alan Barrett (Hon DSc)

Tuesday 17th July Afternoon
Pamela Relph MBE (Hon DSc)

Wednesday 18th July Morning
Professor Chunli Bai (Hon DSc)

Wednesday 18th July Afternoon
Currently no honorary graduate

Thursday 19th July Morning
Stephen Sackur (Hon DLitt)

Thursday 19th July Afternoon
Charles Fefferman (Hon DSc)

Friday 20th July Morning
Philippa Foster Back (Hon LLD)
Douglas Terrier (Hon DSc)

Friday 20th July Afternoon
Julie Maxton (Hon LLD)

Monday 23rd July Morning
Deirdre McCloskey (Hon LLD)

Monday 23rd July Afternoon
Currently no honorary graduate

Tuesday 24th July Morning
Parveen Kumar (Hon DSc)

Tuesday 24th July Afternoon
Smita Jamdar (Hon LLD)

Wednesday 25th July Morning
Heidi Meyer (Hon LLD)

Wednesday 25th July Afternoon
Currently no honorary graduate

Philippa Foster Back - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Philippa Foster Back CBE has been the Director of the Institute of Business Ethics since 2001. She began her career at Citibank NA before joining Bowater in their Corporate Treasury Department in 1979, leaving in 1988 as Group Treasurer. Philippa was Group Finance Director at DG Gardner Group, a training organisation, prior to joining Thorn EMI in 1993 as Group Treasurer until 2000.

She speaks widely on business ethics issues, encouraging high standards of business behaviour based on ethical values. In connection with her IBE role she served on the Woolf Committee 2007/8 looking at ethical business practice in BAE Systems plc.

She sits on the Boards/Advisory Boards of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, and RAND Europe. She is a Visiting Fellow of the Said Business School at Oxford University and Honorary Vice President of Employee Ownership Association. She chairs the Antarctic Place Names Committee and is former chairman of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Philippa was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours in 2006. In 2014 she was awarded an MBE for services to UK Antarctic Heritage.

Professor Chunli Bai - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Chunli BaiProfessor Chunli Bai is a leading research chemist and an expert in nanoscience. He is President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Chairman of the Presidium of the Academic Divisions of CAS.

He is also President of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS), and the Honorary President of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS).

Professor Chunli Bai graduated from the Department of Chemistry, Peking University in 1978 and received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from CAS Institute of Chemistry in 1981 and 1985, respectively. From 1985 to 1987, he worked at California Institute of Technology in US as a visiting scholar. After coming back to China in 1987, he continued his research at CAS Institute of Chemistry. From 1991 to 1992, he worked as a visiting professor at Tohoku University in Japan.

In 1996, he was appointed as Vice President of CAS; in 2004, he was appointed as Executive Vice President of CAS (full ministerial level).

His research areas include organic molecular crystal structure, EXAFS (Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure), molecular nanostructure, and scanning tunneling microscopy. He has been elected member or foreign member of world-known academies of sciences or engineering in approximately 20 countries and territories, including CAS, TWAS, National Academy of Sciences of US, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of UK, the European Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

He also serves as the Honorary President of the Chinese Society of Micro-Nano Technology, the Chief Scientist for the National Steering Committee for Nanoscience and Technology, Vice Chairman of Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, Vice Chairman of the National Committee for Science & Technology Awards, and member of the National Leading Group for Science and Technology Education. Moreover, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the journals National Science Review and Nanoscale.

Professor Alan Barrett - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Professor Barrett has made major research and health policy contributions to the World Health Organization’s approach to vaccines.

He was chair of the Steering Committee on Vaccine Development for dengue and other flaviviruses (2004-2008) and has served on many WHO flavivirus vaccine working groups that prepare recommendations for the use of vaccines including : Working Group on Technical Specifications for Manufacture and Evaluation of Dengue Vaccines (2009-2011), Working Group on Revision of Recommendations to Assure the Quality, Safety and Efficacy of Yellow Fever Vaccine (2009-2010), Informal Technical Consultation on Vaccines and Vaccination Against Tick-borne Encephalitis (2010-2011), Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization Working Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine (2012-2013), Technical Expert Group of Dengue Vaccines in Late Stage Development (2012-2015), Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization Working Group on Japanese encephalitis Vaccine (2013-2014), Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization Working Group on Dengue Vaccines (2015-2016), Emerging Vaccine Framework Working Group (2015), and he is currently a member of the Working Group on Zika Vaccine Target Product Profile.

He studied and researched for three degrees at Warwick (BSc, MSc. PhD) and has continued to maintain informal links with the virologists in what is now the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences.

Among the many national and international committees he has served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Singapore Environmental Health Institute (2008-2015), and as member of: the inaugural NIH Vaccines Special Emphasis Panel (1998-2003), Scientific Advisory Group of the Paediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (2004-2007), Scientific Advisory Board of the STOP Dengue Translational Clinical Research Program of the National Medical Research Council, Singapore (2011-2013), UK Medical Research Council Zika Expert Grant Review Panel (2016), and Scientific Review of the Medical Research Council University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (2015).

Professor Charles Fefferman - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Professor Charles Fefferman is the Herbert E. Jones, Jr. '43 Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. He has also produced fundamental work in mathematical analysis and has made significant contributions to many fields, including partial differential equations, mathematical physics, fluid dynamics, neural networks, geometry, mathematical finance,

He was born in Washington, DC, in 1949. He showed exceptional ability in mathematics as a child entering the University of Maryland in 1963 aged just fourteen and publishing his first mathematics paper in a journal at fifteen. In 1966, at the age of just seventeen, he received his BSc in Mathematics and Physics and was awarded a three-year NSF fellowship for research. He received his PhD from Princeton University in 1969. After a year (1969–1970) as a lecturer at Princeton, he accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Chicago and was promoted to full professor in 1971—the youngest full professor ever appointed in the United States. He returned to Princeton in 1973.

He has been the recipient of a Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1970) and a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship (1971). He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1978. His many awards and prizes include the Salem Prize (1971); the inaugural Alan T. Waterman Award (1976); the Bergman Prize (1992); and the Bôcher Memorial Prize of the AMS (2008). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972, the National Academy of Sciences in 1979, and the American Philosophical Society in 1989. He became an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society in 2009. He was awarded the Wolf Prize in 2017 which is one of the highest awards in its field.

Peter Harris - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Peter HarrisPeter Harris is already a graduate of the University of Warwick (earning a Masters in Law (LLM) at Warwick in 1989 - and is today a Trustee for Warwick in Africa in South Africa.

He was born in Durban and practised law for 15 years. In the early 1990s he was seconded to work on the South African National Peace Accord and was responsible for brokering a number of the agreements between the political parties in order to assist peace and stability in South Africa. After this he established and headed the Monitoring Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission (responsible for ensuring the freeness and fairness of South Africa’s first democratic election in April 1994).

In 2008 he published a book entitled In a Different Time (retitled A Just Defiance in the UK). This looks at the case of four young black men in Pretoria who were arrested for a string of political murders in 1987. Peter was the lawyer called upon to defend them, and his work on this case and others laid the groundwork for the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In a Different Time was honoured with the Sunday Times’ Alan Paton Award and the South African Booksellers’ Choice Award.

His 2010 book, Birth, reflected on the challenges of staging the 1994 South African election, and was named one of the 'Best Reads' of 2010 by The Times (South Africa).

Following his work in South Africa he was appointed Director of Programmes at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm for two years. In this role, he was responsible for all electoral and conflict resolution programmes worldwide. He has also led a project team working on judicial reform in Sierra Leone.

In recent years he has returned to significant mediation roles in South Africa leading a team responsible for drafting the National Language Policy for South Africa and mediating in the 2013 disputes on wages and terms and conditions in the South African gold mining sector at a time when nearly two thirds of the sector’s workforce were involved in strike action. He is currently facilitating, at the request of the Minister of Communication, a way forward between the many parties in the challenging Digital Terrestrial Television migration process in South Africa.

Smita Jamdar - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Smita Jamdar leads the education team at the legal firm Shakespeare Martineau, where she is partner and has worked for 20 years. As head of education, Smita oversees the firms’ work for all university and college clients based all over England and Wales. She joined the firm in 1994, qualified in 1996 and became partner in 2004.

Smita has over 20 years' experience of advising on higher education law. As an education specialist, Smita is a co-author of Workplace Stress, Law and Practice (2003), a contributor to Higher Education Law (2002) and a sought-after speaker at education conferences, presenting on topics such as student discipline, duties of care to students, plagiarism, health and safety management and workplace stress.

She is a regular contributor to a number of higher education media publications and web sites and is identified as a leader in her field in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners publications.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar
- Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar is one of the pre-eminent physicians of her generation. She is professor of medicine and education at Barts and the London School of Medicine, University of London, and president of the Medical Women’s Federation in its centenary year, 2017.

Dame Parveen is also president of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and, during her distinguished career, has been president of the British Medical Association, president of the Royal Society of Medicine, academic vice president of the Royal College of Physicians, chairman of the former Medicines Commission of the UK and a founding non-executive director of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Professor Kumar is also co-founder and editor of Kumar and Clark’s Clinical medicine, the indispensable textbook used for decades by medical students and doctors across the globe.

In 1999 she won the first Asian Woman of the Year Award and the following year was awarded a CBE for services to medicine. In 2006 she was made President of the British Medical Association, and in 2008 received their gold medal for services to medicine and education. In 2017 she was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Julie Maxton - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Dr Julie Maxton is the Executive Director of the RoyaJulie Maxtonl Society, the first woman in 350 years to hold the post. Before taking up her position at the Royal Society in 2011 Julie was Registrar at the University of Oxford, the first woman in 550 years in the role. She is an Honorary Fellow of University College Oxford, a Bencher of the Middle Temple, a Freeman of the Goldsmith’s Company, and a Board member of the Charities Aid Foundation, the Alan Turing Institute and the Faraday Institute. In the past she has also been on the Boards of the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford; Haberdasher Aske’s School (Elstree) and Engineering UK. Originally trained as a barrister at the Middle Temple, Julie combined a career as a practising lawyer with that of an academic, holding a number of senior academic positions, including those of Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Academic and other recognition Julie has received include a CBE (2017) and Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Huddersfield (2016) and Canterbury (2017). She is the author of numerous articles concerned with trusts, equity, commercial and property law.


Deirdre McCloskey - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Deirdre N. McCloskey has been since 2000 UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Trained at Harvard as an economist, she has written sixteen books and edited seven more, and has published some three hundred and sixty articles on economic theory, economic history, philosophy, rhetoric, feminism, ethics, and law. She taught for twelve years in Economics at the University of Chicago, and describes herself now as a "postmodern free-market quantitative Episcopalian feminist Aristotelian." Her latest books are How to be Human* *Though an Economist (University of Michigan Press 2001), Measurement and Meaning in Economics (S. Ziliak, ed.; Edward Elgar 2001), The Secret Sins of Economics (Prickly Paradigm Pamphlets, U. of Chicago Press, 2002), The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives [with Stephen Ziliak; University of Michigan Press, 2008], The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Capitalism (U. of Chicago Press, 2006), Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World (U. of Chicago Press, 2010), and Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (U. of Chicago Press, 2016). Before The Bourgeois Virtues her best-known books were The Rhetoric of Economics (University of Wisconsin Press, 1st ed. 1985, 2nd ed. 1998) and Crossing: A Memoir (U. of Chicago Press, 1999), which was a New York Times Notable Book.

One of her key research focuses has been on economic history, especially British. Her recent book Bourgeois Equality is a study of Dutch and British economic and social history. She has written on British economic "failure" in the 19th century, trade and growth in the 19th century, open field agriculture in the middle ages, the Gold Standard, and the Industrial Revolution.

Her philosophical books include The Rhetoric of Economics (University of Wisconsin Press 1st ed. 1985; 2nd ed. 1998), If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (University of Chicago Press 1990), and Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics (Cambridge 1994). They concern the maladies of social scientific positivism, the epistemological limits of a future social science, and the promise of a rhetorically sophisticated philosophy of science. In her later work she has turned to ethics and to a philosophical-historical apology for modern economies.


Heidi Meyer - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Heidi MeyerHeidi has recently been made Master at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick (an historic complex which is also a place of sanctuary for needy and wounded soldiers) and is the first woman in its 450 year history to fulfil this role.

She has a wealth of diplomatic experience abroad, including working in the office of the US Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon, Washington as Country Director of Afghan Defense Policy, the US Embassy in Afghanistan as a US diplomat and as a Senior NATO official.

She began her career in the British Army reaching the rank of Captain and was assigned in Germany, Cyprus and the UK. From there she worked as a Director of Admission at Dartmouth College and then after Graduate school at Georgetown University she founded Joint Relief International - a humanitarian non-profit operation which delivered donated emergency aid to forty unstable or conflict nations worldwide over a five year period.
She has worked for NATO during the Kosovo crisis and recently as the Senior Political Advisor to the Commander of Land forces NATO in Izmir Turkey.

She has worked in defence policy and operations in Italy, Belgium, Washington, Turkey and five years in Afghanistan.
Heidi was awarded the US State Department Superior Honor Award by US Ambassador Eikenberry for advancing Governance.


Pamela Relph MBE - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Pamela Jones (née Relph when she received her Paralympic gold medals) is a member of the GB Paralympic Rowing Team. She has suffered from a condition called psoriatic arthritis from the age of 7 resulting in severe and permanent damage to some of her joints. Though she grew up with the condition she never allowed it to dictate her life choices and played sport at a high level throughout secondary school.

She came to the attention of the GB Paralympic Rowing Team through Monica, Pam’s older sister who had represented Great Britain as a rower. Within a week she had been classified to compete as a Paralympic athlete. It didn’t take long for success to come and within 9 months of taking up the sport Pam became World Champion in the Legs, Trunk and Arms Mixed Coxed 4 (LTA4+) at the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

The following year Pam went on to win gold at London 2012 along with her crew. She defended her crown 4 years later in Rio. Winning gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games put Pam in the record books as being the only Paralympic rower in history who has won 2 paralympic rowing gold medals.

Pam has won 15 consecutive international races including four consecutive World titles at the 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships. The GB LTA4+ continued this winning streak and successfully defended the Paralympic gold medal won at London 2012.

She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to rowing.


Stephen Sackur - Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Stephen Sackur is a renowned British journalist, and the award-winning presenter of HARDtalk, BBC World News' flagship current affairs interview programme. He is also the main Friday presenter of GMT on BBC World News. He has been a journalist with BBC News since 1986 and has interviewed presidents, prime ministers and leading personalities from all over the world.

Stephen has also made a host of documentaries for BBC's current affairs programme Panorama and has written for Television and Radio and has written for a variety of newspapers and magazines.

Stephen was appointed as a BBC Foreign Correspondent in 1990 and was part of the BBC's team of correspondents covering the Gulf War, spending eight weeks with the British Army when the conflict began.

He was the first correspondent to break the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of Kuwait City, marking the end of the war. He wrote a book about his experiences - On The Basra Road - named as one of the Books of the Year by The Spectator magazine. He travelled back to Iraq just after the downfall of Saddam Hussein and filed the first television reports on Iraq's mass graves containing the bodies of thousands of victims of Saddam's regime.

Stephen was BBC Middle East Correspondent in both Cairo (from 1992 to 1995) and Jerusalem (from 1995 to 1997), covering the peace process, the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the emergence of the Palestinian Authority under the late Yasser Arafat.

He was the BBC's Washington Correspondent from July 1997 where he interviewed Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton, covered the 2000 US Presidential Elections and the attempted impeachment of Bill Clinton. Following this he was based in Brussels for three years as the BBC's Europe Correspondent.

In November 2010, Stephen was awarded the "International TV Personality of the Year Award" by the Association of International Broadcasters.

Douglas Terrier - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Dr Douglas Terrier is NASA’s acting chief technologist. He is the principal advisor and advocate on NASA technology policy and programs, helping plot the strategic direction of the agency's space technology program.

Prior to this role he worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, as the centre’s chief technologist. He also served as the deputy director of NASA Johnson’s Strategic Opportunity and Partnership Development (SOPD) Office, and as NASA’s Associate Director of Engineering where he led teams responsible for design and development of spacecraft for NASA’s human space exploration program. He also managed the multi-centre Crew Exploration Vehicle Aero-science Project developing the critical aerodynamic and aero-thermal environment design database for the Orion spacecraft.

Prior to joining JSC, he served in the Enterprise Readiness Division in the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation at NASA HQ. He first joined NASA in 2003 at the Langley Research Center in the Office of Business Development.

Dr Terrier worked in the commercial aerospace sector for a total of 23 years with Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and General Electric Aircraft Engines. He was responsible for International Business Development for Lockheed Martin in the Asia/Pacific region.

He earned a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas. He also completed the Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Management program with the Lockheed Martin Institute for Leadership Excellence. Terrier holds patents for his work in aerospace propulsion and has published numerous technical papers. He has earned the Lockheed Martin “Outstanding Technical Achievement” award on four occasions, several NASA “Superior Technical Accomplishment” awards, and the NASA Leadership medal.


For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Media Relations, University of Warwick
Tel UK 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile
Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell
Twitter @peterjdunn

PR PJD 14th May 2018