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Warwick Honorary Degrees for leading figures in medicine, museums & climate science


The University of Warwick has announced that it is to award Honorary Degrees to leading figures in sport,  medicine, museums and the science of climate change at its Winter Degree ceremonies on 21st and 22nd January. Those to be honoured include: paralympic athlete Melanie Easter, the former President of the General Medical Council Sir Donald Irvine, British Museum Director Robert Neil MacGregor, and climate change researcher Rajendra Kumar Pachauri.

Details on press opportunities and short biographies on each of the honorary graduands, with a note as to what honorary degree each will be awarded, now follow:

Melanie Easter: Hon MA (Honorary MA)
Interview and Photo opportunity 10.30am Chancellor’s Suite Rootes Building 21st January

A Kenilworth based paralympic athlete who was bon blind in one eye and with very severe sight loss in her other eye.  She represented Great Britain at the Atlanta Paralympics in 1996 gaining both gold and silver medals.  She won  four gold medals at the 1999 European Swimming Championships in Germany.  At the Sydney Paralympics in 2000, she gained a full set of medals: gold, silver and bronze in the 400 metre, 100 metre and 200 metre individual medley respectively.  Not content with her success in the pool, including a world record for the women's 400m freestyle, Melanie moved her sporting career in  2007 to the new challenge of  competitive cycling.  That year she competed in he World Para Cycling Championships in Bordeaux, France where she  gained fourth place in both her road and track events. She has mostly recently taken on a new sport- the Triathlon (swimming, cycling and running over substantial distances)  and 2008 she was voted Disabled Female Athlete of the Year by the British Triathlon Federation.


Robert Neil MacGregor - Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)
Interview and Photo opportunity 2.30pm Chancellor’s Suite Rootes Building 21st January

An art historian and museum director, Director of the British Museum. He is also Chairman of World Collections, a British diplomatic post created in 2008.

He taught History of Art and Architecture at the University of Reading until he left to assume the position of editor of the Burlington Magazine from 1981 until 1987, when he became director of the National Gallery in London. During his directorship MacGregor presented two BBC television series on art: Making Masterpieces, a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Gallery, in 1997 and Seeing Salvation, on the representation of Jesus in western art, in 2000.

He was made director of the British Museum in 2002, at a time when the institution was in a financial crisis. MacGregor has thus far proved himself to be a diplomatic director of the British Museum, opening discussions with Greece about the Elgin Marbles and sending curators to Iraq in 2003 to assess the damage done to the country's museums during the Iraq War. During his directorship he was interviewed for the BBC Television documentaries Our Top Ten Treasures (2003) and The Museum (2007).


Rajendra Kumar Pachauri - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)
Interview and Photo opportunity 1030am Chancellor’s Suite Rootes Building 22nd January

An economist and environmental scientist who has served as the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002. Pachauri is also the director general of The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, an institution devoted to researching and promoting sustainable development. To honour his contributions to the environment, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, in January 2001. On December 10, 2007, Dr. Pachauri accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, along with co-recipient Al Gore. 


Sir Donald Irvine: Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)
Interview and Photo opportunity 2.30pm Chancellor’s Suite Rootes Building 22nd January

A physician and writer on general practice and a pioneer of good management in family medicine, and he is the former President of the General Medical Council. 

After qualifying from Newcastle Medical School in 1958, Sir Donald was a general practitioner in Northumberland for 35 years. Between 1983 and 1985 was Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners. In 1995 he was elected President of the General Medical Council, the first general practitioner to hold that office.

Throughout his career Donald has had extensive teaching and research interests, focused primarily on general practice and on standards of practice and the quality of healthcare. As chairman of the GMC Standards Committee he was responsible for the development of Good Medical Practice, which sets out the duties and responsibilities of every UK doctor and the standards which form the basic template for modern medical regulation and education.

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager
Communications Office, University House,
University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523708
Mobile/Cell: +44 (0)7767 655860

PR103  18th January 2009