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Research in arthritis and alzheimer‘s to be honoured by University of Warwick

The University of Warwick has today announced the names of twelve people who will received Honorary Degrees from the University during its Summer degree ceremonies in week beginning  19th July 2010. Further details on the press opportunities available will be issued nearer the time but short bios on each person now follow along with details on the honorary degree they are to receive:

Baron Baker of Dorking: Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

A Conservative Member of Parliament for almost 30 years, Kenneth Baker held important ministerial posts in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and was Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1989-1990. After studying Law at Oxford, he worked for Royal Dutch Shell before entering Parliament as MP for Acton in 1968. In 1981, he became the UK’s first Minister for Information Technology, responsible  for introducing computers into schools and overseeing the privatisation of  British Telecom. He entered the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Environment in 1985, and then served as Secretary of State for Education and Science from 1986 to 1989. His Education Reform Act of 1988 introduced the National Curriculum, gave state schools the right to opt out of local authority control, established the concept of Key Stages (with educational objectives to be achieved by pupils at each Stage) and of published league tables for schools. He also introduced in-service training days for teachers, which immediately became known as ‘Baker days’. From 1990-92, Kenneth Baker was Home Secretary in John Major’s government. He retired from the Commons in 1997 and was created a life peer. He has recently championed the cause of new-style technical schools, based on the lines of Germany’s Realschule system. Lord Baker’s published works include several poetry anthologies, his memoirs, a history of political cartoons, George IV: A Life in Caricature, 2005, and George III: A Life in Caricature, 2007.

Professor Sir John Bell FRS: Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Sir John Bell has been Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford since 2002, and President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. A Canadian by birth, Professor Bell went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1975 to study medicine. In 1982, he was appointed as a Clinical Fellow in Immunology at Stanford University where he worked on histocompatibility antigens and autoimmune disease. He returned to Oxford in 1987 as a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow, working in the Institute of Molecular Medicine, and was elected to the Nuffield Professorship of Clinical Medicine in 1992. Professor Bell’s research has identified genes involved in susceptibility to Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. He has been greatly involved in the development of research programmes in genetics and genomics and in 1994 co-founded the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford.  He has also worked to bring about the development of a UK-wide clinical research programme and at Oxford is responsible for the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, the largest biomedical research department in the UK. Professor Bell sits on a wide range of advisory panels for public and private bodies involved in biomedical research across the world. In 2006 he was appointed Chair of the Office for the Strategic Coordination of Health Research (OSCHR) in the UK. In 2008, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and was knighted for services to medicine.

Professor Timothy Brook: Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Timothy Brook is Shaw Professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford. a position which he has held since 2007. His research interests include the social and cultural history of Ming China, law and punishment in Imperial China, collaboration during Japan’s wartime occupation of China (1937-45), and war crimes trials in Asia: his publications range over the last six centuries. Professor Brook was born in Toronto and was educated at the Universities of Toronto and Harvard, where he obtained his PhD in 1984. He has taught at the Universities of Alberta, Toronto, and Stanford and from 2004-9 was Principal and Professor at St John’s College, University of British Columbia.  Professor Brook has published extensively in the fields of Asian social, economic and legal history and international trade. His most recent publications include The Chinese State in Ming Society, 2005; Collaboration: Japanese Agents and the Chinese Elites in Wartime China, 2005, and Vermeer’s Hat: the Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, 2008. The latter uses some of Vermeer’s paintings to introduce the reader to the rapidly expanding world of the seventeenth century – the first properly ‘global ‘age. Vermeer’s Hat was awarded the Mark Lynton History Prize from Columbia University in 2009: the citation described it as a ‘bold, original and compulsively readable work of history’.

Professor Craig Clunas:  Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Craig Clunas is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford. An eminent historian of the art and history of China, Professor Clunas has focussed particularly on the Ming period (1368-1644). However, his work includes the material and visual of China from around 1200, and he also has research and teaching interests in 20th century and contemporary Chinese art, and in the methodology and historiography of art history. Professor Clunas obtained a first class degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge and moved to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London for his PhD. For 15 years, he was on the curatorial staff of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, where he was responsible for the installation of new Chinese galleries. In 1994, he moved to the University of Sussex, becoming Professor of Art History there in 1997. In 2003, he returned to SOAS as the Percival David Professor of Chinese and East Asian Art, moving to Oxford in 2007, where he is the first holder of the Chair in the History of Art to specialise in art from Asia. Professor Clunas has published extensively on early modern China, including Superfluous Things: social status and material culture in Early Modern China, 1991; Art in China, 1997; Elegant debts: the social art of Wen Zhengming, 2004 and, most recently, Empires of Great brightness: visual and material cultures of Ming China, 2007, based on the Slade lectures which he gave at Oxford in 2004.

Baroness Brenda Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde: Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Trade unionist Brenda Dean was the first British woman to lead a major craft or industrial trade union. Born in Lancashire, she started her working life as a junior secretary in a local print firm.  Her involvement with trade unionism started at a young age and continued throughout her working life.  In 1983 she was elected General President of the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (SOGAT) and in 1985 General Secretary, a position which she held until 1991. This was the time of SOGAT’s dispute with News International. Brenda Dean led the negotiations with News International, in a year-long battle that she subsequently described in her book, Hot Mettle, published in 2007. Between 1985 and 1992, she also served on the General Council of the TUC. In 1993, Brenda Dean entered the House of Lords. Although she had turned down the offer of a candidacy in a ‘safe’ labour seat in the Commons, she became a very active working peer. She has served on the National Committee of Inquiry into the Future of Higher Education, 1996-97, the Press Complaints Commission, 1993-98 and the Royal Commission on House of Lords Reform, 1999. Brenda Dean has served on the Councils of City University, the Open University and the Bar Council of Legal Education and was a member of the Court of Governors of the London School of Economics from 1996 to 1998.

Professor Robert Grubbs: Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of  Science)

Nobel Laureate Robert Grubbs is Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a position he has held since 1990. Professor Grubbs works in organometallic chemlstry and synthetic chemistry, concentrating particularly on catalysts. His research on olefin metathesis (a particular form of  organic reaction often used in research and industry as key step to create medicines, polymers types of fuel) developed powerful, ruthenium based catalysts to enhance this reaction and its use in the fields of medicine and industry. In particular his work produced industrial and pharmaceutical methods that are more environmentally friendly: his citation for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, which he won in 2005 with Richard R Schrock and Yves Chauvin , described it as ‘a great step forward in the development of “green chemistry”.’  Professor Grubbs has won many other awards and prizes during his career, including the American Chemical Society’s Benjamin Franklin medal in Chemistry and its Herman F Mark Polymer Chemistry Award in 2000, and the Tolman Medal in 2002. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989, was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2004. He is the author of more than 400 publications and has over 80 patents.

Sir Stuart Hampson: Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of  Laws)

Sir Stuart Hampson was Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 1993-2007. After completing his BA in Modern languages at Oxford, Stuart Hampson joined the civil service. He worked at the Board of Trade, 1969-72, including two years on the UK Mission to the UN at Geneva. He was principal private secretary to Roy Hattersley (Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, 1976-79) and, after 1979, was private secretary to a succession of Conservative ministers.  He left the civil service to join the John Lewis Partnership in 1982 and, famously, spent his first six weeks in a basement department selling pyjamas. In 1986, he was appointed to the Partnership’s Central Board as Director of Research and Expansion, and was responsible for the first out-of-town John Lewis store (High Wycombe, 1988) and for new stores in Aberdeen and Kingston. In 1989 he became Deputy Chairman and in 1993, Chairman. His chairmanship was marked by a steady expansion of the Partnership – the refurbishment of flagship stores in London’s Oxford Street and Sloane Square, the extension of trading hours, the expansion of the product range and the establishment of an online presence. From 2006-7, Sir Stuart Hampson was President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. He was also appointed by Prince Charles as one of his personal ambassadors on responsible business practice. He was knighted in 1998, and became Chairman of the Crown Estate in January 2010.

Dr Richard Lerner: Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Dr Richard Lerner is President of the Scripps Research Institute, and a member of its Skaggs Research Institute for Chemical Biology, La Jolla, California. Richard Lerner graduated from Stanford Medical School in 1964 and worked for his PhD at what was then the Scripps Clinic. In the 1970s, he worked at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia before returning to La Jolla, where from 1982-86 he served as Chairman of the Scripps Institute’s Department of Molecular Biology before assuming the presidency of the organisation. Dr Lerner’s scientific achievements span diverse areas of biomedical research and include unique insights into protein and peptide structure and the identification of a sleep-inducing lipid. However, he is most well-known for his groundbreaking research in the field of catalytic antibodies, where he showed that antibodies can be employed as enzymes: this has relevance to conditions such as atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. As leader of the Scripps Institute, he has seen the organisation triple its laboratory space and quadruple its staff and has focussed its strength at the border between biology and chemistry. He has emphasised interdisciplinary work and fostered industrial collaboration agreements with major pharmaceutical companies. He also encouraged the establishment of Scripps Florida, a major science centre focussing on biomedical research, technology development and drug design which opened in 2009. During his long career, Dr Lerner has been the recipient of many international prizes and awards; he has been elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the United States National Academy of Sciences and has received honorary degrees from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2003 and the University of Oxford, 2007.

Professor Ole Danbolt Mjøs : Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Professor Ole Danbolt Mjøs is a former chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. A physician and politician (belonging to Norway’s Christian Democratic Party), Professor Mjøs is also a former Rector of the University of Tromsø. He obtained his MD from the University of Bergen and his PhD from the University of Oslo. After a period of research in San Francisco and Edinburgh – his research interests lie in cardiology – he joined Tromsø (the world’s northernmost university) as Reader (1974), then Professor in Medical Physiology(1975), becoming Dean of the Medical Faculty in 1983, and Rector of the University in 1989, a position which he held until 1995. He was appointed Chair of the Nobel Committee in 2003 and remained in this office until 2008. Under his chairmanship, the Nobel Committee continued to expand its definition of ‘peacemaking’: for instance, Nobel laureates during his tenure of office included Iranian Mohammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank (2006) and environmentalist Al Gore (2007). His committee also significantly increased the number of women laureates, awarding the prize to Iranian human rights lawyer, Shirin Ebadi in2003 and African environmentalist Wangari Maathai in 2004. Professor Mjøs has also been concerned with the role of universities in promoting world peace. In 2000, he organised an international conference on the role of higher education in peace and in 2002 helped to found the Centre for Peace Studies at Tromsø. Professor Mjøs has been decorated with the Royal Norwegian order of St Olav and the Order of the Lion of Finland.

Professor Richard Sennett: Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Richard Sennett is the Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, the Bemis Adjunct Professor of Sociology at MIT and Professor of the Humanities at New York University. Sociologist, musician, novelist, he works across disciplinary boundaries, writing on the development of cities, the nature of work in modern society and the sociology of culture. Richard Sennett was born in Chicago in 1943, the son of radical parents. A promising career in music – he studied piano and cello from the age of six – was brought to an untimely end by a hand injury in 1963. He then studied at the University of Chicago and at Harvard where he obtained his PhD. In the 1970s he co-founded and ran the New York Institute for the Humanities, working with Edmund White, Susan Sontag, and Joseph Brodsky. In the 1980s, he was advisor to UNESCO and President of the American Council on Work; he also taught at Harvard. In 1999, he became Professor of Social and Cultural Theory at LSE, where he helped to create and chaired the Cities Programme. Professor Sennett’s many books include The Fall of Public Man, 1974, The Conscience of the Eye, 1990, The Corrosion of Character, 1998, and The Craftsman, 2008; he also published three novels in the 1980s. In 2004, he delivered the Rothermere Lectures at Oxford and the Castle Lectures at Yale; in 2006, he chaired the jury of the Venice Biennale. Professor Sennett has won numerous awards and prizes including the Berlin Prize for Sociology, 2001, the Helen and Robert Lynd Award for Sociology from the American Sociological Association, 2004, the Hegel Prize, Germany, 2006 and the Spinoza Lens, The Netherlands, 2010.

Professor Barbara Stafford: Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Barbara Stafford is an eminent art historian and W B Ogden Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago. She studied for her BA and MA at Northwestern University, and at the University of Chicago for her PhD.  A Fellowship from the American Association of University Women also enabled her to study with Ernst Gombrich at the Warburg Institute, London. Since 1981 she has taught at the University of Chicago. Barbara Stafford’s work has consistently explored the intersections between the visual arts and the physical and biological sciences from the early modern period to the present digital age. Recently, she has begun to focus on the way neuroscience changes our fundamental assumptions about perception, sensation, emotion, mental imagery and subjectivity. She has published extensively and has won many awards and prizes – for example, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Clifford Prize (1979), the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Prize ((1989-91); most recently, her book, Echo Objects: the Cognitive Work of Images,  won the Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, and the Thomas N Bonner Award of the Academy of Scholars, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.  She has also been concerned with the vital significance of the visual arts to general education, and in 2001-2, co-curated an innovative exhibition at the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles  - Devices of Wonder: from the World in a Box to Images on a Screen. She is currently working on a cognitive history of images.

Mrs Jyotsna Suri, Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Mrs Jyotsna Suri is Chairperson and Managing Director of India’s Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, formerly Bharat Hotels Ltd. She took on this position in 2006 on the sudden and untimely death of her husband, Mr Lalit Suri, the founder of the Bharat Group in 1987. In 2008, she rebranded the Group as ‘The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group’, in tribute to her late husband.  Mrs Suri had been the Bharat Group’s Joint Managing Director since its inception, but since 2006 has been the driving force of its expanding activities. It is now the fastest growing hotel chain in India, offering 17 five star luxury hotels, with seven hotels in operation and ten under restoration and development. Earlier this year, came the announcement of a $500 million expansion plan to extend the Lalit Group’s luxury hotels across India and also to move into mid-market hotels.  Mrs Suri has also taken the Group into the international market: in 2011, guests will be welcomed into Lalit hotels in Dubai and Thailand. Mrs Suri is the only Indian member of the International Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council, and is Chairperson of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Tourism Committee (FICCI). She is a tireless promoter of Indian tourism -  and it was under her direction that in 2008 the FICCI introduced ‘The Great Indian Travel Bazaar’, now an annual event. She is a passionate believer in education - the Group provides vocational training in the hospitality industry, including IT, and Mrs Suri herself has set up the Lalit Suri Junior Golf Coaching Programme in key Indian cities to encourage talent. She sits on a number of organisations involved in education, skills and training, in women’s safety, and in help for the elderly, and also finances rehabilitation programmes for a blind school. She is also a great patron of India’s performing and visual arts.

For further information please contact:               

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications
University of Warwick 02476 523708   
mobile 07767 655860 

PR41      PJD   17th May 2010