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Founder of MORI organisation among those to be honoured at University of Warwick graduation

The founder of leading public research organisation MORI, a distinguished meteorologist and a key figure from the Royal Shakespeare Company will all receive Honorary Degrees from the University of Warwick during its winter degree ceremonies.

Winter graduation will take place from January 17-19, brief biographies of all three graduands now follow along with the title of the degree they will receive and details of when they will be available for media interviews and photography.

Lady Sainsbury of Turville: Hon DLitt

Media opportunity: Tuesday 17th January, 4.30pm

Lady Susie Sainsbury is Deputy Chair of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Chair of RSC America Inc. She has had a distinguished career in publishing and the arts. Lady Sainsbury began her publishing career at the Oxford University press, working in the international sales division. She then moved into educational publishing, joining Jonathan Cape where she was Commissioning Editor in its educational divisions, Jackdaw Publications. She became a Director of Jackdaw Publications before becoming an editorial advisor on education for Walker Books.

Lady Sainsbury has made an enormous contribution to the arts in the UK and the USA. She chaired the Transformation Project for the rebuilding of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which opened in its new incarnation in November 2010. She is also deputy Chair of the Royal Academy of Music and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In the USA, she is a member of the International Advisory Council and the Dean’s Council of the School of Arts at Columbia University, a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, Washington DC, and a member of the Kennedy Center’s International Committee for Arts.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2010, Lady Sainsbury was awarded a CBE for services to the RSC and to the Arts.

Professor Alan Thorpe: Hon DSc

Media opportunity: Wednesday 18th January, 4.30pm

Alan Thorpe is a Warwick graduate, having studied physics here in the early 1970s. He moved to Imperial College to study for a doctorate in atmospheric physics, staying on for another five years as a postdoctoral researcher. After a short interval at the Met Office, he took up a lectureship in the Department of Meteorology at Reading University in 1982, becoming a Professor of Meteorology in 1991 and Head of Department in 1996.

Professor Thorpe’s research involves the basic dynamics and predictability of weather and climate. He was Director of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, 1999-2001. In 2001, he moved to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), becoming the first director of its newly established Centre for Atmospheric Science. In 2005, he became Chief Executive of NERC itself, a position which he held until June 2011. He is currently Director-General of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Professor Thorpe has been Vice-President of the Royal Meteorological Society, and was awarded the Society’s L F Richardson prize (1979) and its Buchan Prize (1992) for his research. He was a founding co-chair of the World Meteorological Organisation’s research programme ‘ THORPEX: A World Weather Research Programme’. He has been an assessor on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Science Advisory Council and is a member of a number of national and international science committees. He is also engaged in the ongoing climate change debates, engaging at various levels with the general public and with climate change sceptics.

Sir Robert Worcester: Hon LLD

Media opportunity: Thursday 19th January, 12.30pm

Sir Robert Worcester is the founder of the MORI polling and research organisation – the leading public opinion research organisation in the UK.

A native of Kansas City, Sir Robert graduated from the University of Kansas in 1955, and worked in management consultancy and opinion research before coming to the UK in 1969 to found Market & Opinion Research International (MORI). When MORI was sold to the French research company, Ipsos, in October 2005, Sir Robert became International Director of Ipsos (2005-2008) and since 2008 has been Senior Advisor, Ipsos MORI. He is well known as a media commentator, especially about voting intentions in elections, and has published a number of books on public opinion polling and election results in the UK.

Sir Robert is involved with a number of voluntary organisations. He is a trustee of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and of the Magna Carta Trust, chairman of the Pilgrims Society of Great Britain, and of the Magna Carta 2015 Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Advisory Councils of the National Consumer Council, the Institute for Business Ethics and Forum for the Future. He is also a Freeman of the City of London.

Sir Robert was a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Kent (where he lives) and is a county council appointed Kent Ambassador. He is Chancellor of the University of Kent, where he was formerly a member of Council and Chair of the Finance Resources Committee. He is a Governor, Visiting Professor and Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics, an Honorary Fellow of Kings College London and an Honorary Professor of Politics at Warwick. He holds honorary degrees from five UK universities and is a Distinguished Graduate of the University of Kansas.

In 2005, Sir Robert was knighted in recognition of his outstanding services to political, social and economic research and for his contributions to government policy and programmes.

Chancellor's Medals

The University of Warwick will also present two Chancellor’s Medals during the winter graduation ceremonies. The Chancellor’s Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the University’s work and development.

One of the recipients is David Rowe, Director of the University of Warwick Science Park since its establishment in 1982, until 2011. He took what was a derelict piece of land and made it into one of the country’s most flourishing University Science Parks, now employing over 2,000 people in more than 150 high tech businesses.

The second medal will be awarded to Sheila Fitzgerald, who is responsible for the establishment and development of the Friends of the Mead Gallery Association, formed when the Gallery first opened in Warwick Arts Centre in 1987. Sheila was its first secretary. She went on to initiate the sale of artwork by the association’s members in the University’s management training centres, and in the process has raised more than £22,000 for the University’s arts acquisitions budget over the last twenty years.


Notes to editors: If you would like to arrange an interview with any of the graduands or send a photographer, please contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Press and Communications Manager, University of Warwick, 02476 150868, 07824 540863,