Mr Chancellor, Mr Vice Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen
There are few ministers who can make a genuine claim to have transformed our national life in their time chained to a Red Box.
Many politicians find that while great deference is paid to their office, rather less deference is paid to their ideas.
Kenneth Baker, Lord Baker of Dorking, proves that it is possible for a reforming minister to make real, lasting changes.
Whether as the Britain’s first Minister for Information Technology or as Education Secretary – or today using his expertise to create a new generation of technology schools – Lord Baker always makes a difference. He has always been an innovative thinker, and on technology, a visionary, whose pioneering work deserves wider recognition.
When he was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1986, Margaret Thatcher simply told him “read yourself into it, come back to me in two months and tell me what you'd like to do”.
I doubt a minister has ever used freedom to think with greater results.
The result of Lord Baker’s “reading himself into it”, was the Great Education Reform Bill.
This single piece of legislation has defined Britain’s education system for a generation. To it we owe the National Curriculum, regular testing of children before 16, giving budgetary control to head-teachers, and the creation of state schools outside Local Authority control.
The Bill also made provision for training days for teachers during termtime. As a result, Lord Baker became something of a popular hero for schoolchildren – the Robin Hood of the playground, a legendary figure who had granted children days of liberation from toil at the chalkface.
While the reforms Lord Baker introduced were controversial at the time, the fundamental system Lord Baker introduced has survived four Prime Ministers and a dozen Education secretaries. These principles look to prosper under many more ministers.
This is largely because Lord Baker saw that in order to secure lasting change you have to involve others and allow them to make decisions which you may disagree with.
So on the teaching of the reading of English, while himself a partisan of phonics, he accepted the verdict of the researchers of the time –allowing them to make their own mistakes. This personal restraint is a model of political leadership that has stood the test of time, and should be a lesson to Ministers past, present and future.
Of course, Lord Baker’s career is not defined by a single act, no matter how great. One area that deserves special mention in a long ministerial career is his commitment to and vision for Britain’s Information Technology industry.
Lord Baker developed the first National Strategy for Information Technology in 1980, and fittingly became the first ever minister for Information Technology, and grasped the importance of IT, computing and telecommunications earlier than perhaps any other politician.
It is worth quoting a Common speech Lord Baker gave in 1980:
“The most successful countries in the future will be those with strong and inventive electronics industries with close links with capital and consumer goods industries. Britain should not be left behind in this technological race....”
In that same speech Lord Baker called for the introduction of computers into schools, a measure he was to himself oversee two years later, giving a generation of Children an early familiarity with Computing, often in the form of a BBC Micro-computer or a Research Machines 3802.
It is rare for a speech in the House of Commons to seem both correct and visionary, some thirty years later.
Of course, no politician is remembered simply by their achievements. They are too often battered by brickbats hurled from the crowd.
Lord Baker is a an expert on political caricature of the golden age of Cruikshank and Gilray, when George the Fourth, Fox and Pitt were mocked so piercingly that the satire defines them to this day.
So it is perhaps fitting that Lord Baker, a vice-chairman of the Cartoon museum, a curator of political cartoons and an author of several books on satire, has himself not been spared by satirists.
Lord Baker has accepted these calumnies with good grace and humour. Perhaps, though modesty would forbid him to say so, he feels his achievements are enough to shield him from the wrath of any pen or a sneer of any puppeteer.
That commitment to achievement, to making a difference and to the importance of technology in education continues to this day.
Lord Baker is working with the University of Warwick to develop a new type of Technology based school which prioritises high level vocational skills with the kit and investment needed to make vocational and technical education successful, while at the same time providing pupils with a rounded, demanding academic education.
Mr Chancellor, on behalf of the Council, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Kenneth Baker.
This oration was written by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, WMG
I am honoured to present Sir John Bell for the award of an honorary degree at Warwick in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the fields of medical research, research capacity development and academic leadership - in the UK and well beyond.
Sir John was born in Edmonton, Alberta, was educated in Ridley College Ontario, and then returned home to read a pre-med program at the University of Alberta. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to complete his medical training at Magdelen College Oxford in 1975, graduating in 1978. In 1982, he became a Clinical Fellow in Immunology at Stanford University. He returned to Oxford in 1987 as a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow, working in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and was elected to the Nuffield Chair of Clinical Medicine, succeeding Sir David Weatherall in 1992.
Sir John has been Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford since 2002, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008, and was knighted for services to Medicine.
Since 1986, Sir John’s major research contributions have been in the field of Immunogenetics. His Fellowship at Stanford was during a Golden Era, when his mentors (Professor Hugh McDevitt and Mark Davis) were leading the world in their field. Sir John became involved in the molecular characterisation of the human Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II region. This work facilitated analysis of the molecular basis for HLA disease associations such as in diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. In these days of Research Excellence Frameworks it is salutary to note the number of papers in Nature, PNAS, New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet in Sir John’s CV.
Sir John’s laboratory was a supportive environment that saw further generations of gifted scientists flourish and develop. Taking over from Sir David Weatherall – surely a daunting prospect – Sir John not only maintained the momentum of the Nuffield Department of Medicine, but even quickened its pace. He was instrumental in stablishing:
• The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
• The Centre for Clinical Vaccinology & tropical Medicine
• The Centre for Diabetes Endocrinology & Metabolism
Sir John grew up with North American enterprise a constant element in his environment – indeed, on the Maternal side, there were links to the founders of Hewlett-Packard. It’s therefore perhaps no surprise that an interest in the translation of excellent science into tools for the generation of health and wealth is a recurring theme in Sir John’s career. Thus while at Stanford Sir John witnessed Molecular Biology taking off in the Bay area, and also saw Stanford academics establishing spin-out businesses. But he also saw the University struggled to come to terms with this phenomenon – a twofold mistake in Sir John’s view since it deprived the university of research income, and was insufficiently needful of the societal need to see discovery turned into public benefit – much has changed over the years! Sir John has been instrumental in exploitation of IP while Nuffield Professor of Medicine: one such enterprise established Powderject, a company that specialises in needle-free injections. First floated in 1996, within seven years Powderject reached a turnover of £160 million and , in August 2003 Powderject was acquired by the Chiron Corporation of America for £542 million.
The UK ranks second in the world after the US in biomedical research, but of course such matters are fluid, there is much new competition and it’s vital (both for the public good and the scientific community) that our national contribution continues to be world-beating. The UK has an excellent science base, a huge pool of talented people, a National Health Service committed to providing high-quality care and vibrant biomedical enterprise. The realisation that these apparently diverse matters – Universities, the NHS and industry – need to be seen in a joined-up strategy has been a major achievement of the last ten years and Sir John has been instrumental. He has pivotal roles, and works tirelessly, on a on a wide range of related advisory panels. For example:
• President of the Academy of Medical Sciences – steering this body’s mission to ensure better healthcare through the rapid application of research to the practice of medicine.
• The Scientific Advisory Committee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – a funder that believes that ‘all lives are worth saving’, the vision of which is being taken forward with the help of the UK’s deep research involvement in Global Health.
• The Scientific Advisory Boards of several private companies including AstraZeneca, Roche, and Genentech – a vital link between the UK scientific establishment and commerce.
• His Chairmanship of OSCHR (the Office for the Strategic Coordination of Health Research) perhaps encapsulates these various contributions – for he was one of the few people who understood that NHS R&D (hitherto something of an arcane art) needed to fund excellent science in open competition and be open to commercial partnerships.
However, for me, all of this pales into insignificance when compared to his achievements with the University Chest at Oxford (I am grateful to his “Australian friend” for this particular anecdote). As the new Professor of Medicine, faced with frequent invoices from Central University and a net flow of revenue in their direction, Sir John (aided by the late Brigadier Michael Addison) managed not only to reverse the flow but also did this with minimal upset - using his gifted powers of persuasion! I really must see him later for a few tips.
This oration was written by Professor Peter Winstanley, Dean, Warwick Medical School.
If the last century was purportedly the American century, this one, so all the pundits say, will be the Chinese one. Historians, especially really good historians like our honorary graduand, Tim Brook, formerly Shaw Professor of Chinese history at Oxford and the recent principal of St. John’s College, University of British Columbia, are suspicious of such wild claims. It’s best to wait and see. But if China does turn out to play a disproportionately larger role in the world this century than in the last two, it will not come as a surprise. As Tim Brook has shown us in numerous books, connecting the history of China to the world from the period of the Ming to the end of World War II and even to the 1980s, we cannot understand the world today or the world in the past without understanding China and its rich and often turbulent history. As Brook notes in his brilliant meditation on global history as seen through a series of mid-seventeenth century Dutch paintings, the best selling Vermeer’s Hat (2008), we underestimate China’s global importance still because “it has taken China most of the last two centuries to recover from the collapse of its own imperial pretensions and begin to reconstruct itself as a world power.”
As that last quotation suggests, Brook sees himself more than just the best guide that we could hope for in understanding China’s place in global history. He is, to be sure, a terrific guide – erudite, witty, graceful and never ever boring. But what gives his work its enduring power and importance is its moral urgency, his insistence that history is central to the humanities – the humanities being the study of the question of the human. He appreciates that understanding what is human culture, imagination, capacities and heritage remains fundamental for people in any decent and civilised society. In Vermeer’s Hat, he shows us, looking at his favourite period, the mid-seventeenth century, when Europe started to move decisively across the world and when, in 1644, the mighty empire of the Ming emperors fell, that John Donne was right in stating that no person is an island. What interests him, as well as his interest in the events of those years, is how this vision of the world can translate into the present day. As Brook argues, “today more than ever before we need to know as a species how to narrate the past in a way that enables us to acknowledge and come to terms with the global nature of our experience.”
Advancing this utopian vision has been Professor Brook’s aim as a teacher. He has taught at several universities, after gaining degrees from Toronto (he is a native Canadian) and Harvard. After many years teaching at Toronto, he has worked at Stanford and Oxford and is now teaching at the University of British Columbia, where he lives with his wife on Salt Spring Island. He also has a visiting position at East China Normal University in Shanghai. It is also his aim as a scholar. He is the author of five books on the Ming period of Chinese history, the most notable of which has been his award winning The Confusions of Pleasure (1998). This concise but wide-ranging book is undoubtedly the best guide to the Ming period in English, both for the ordinary reader, who will delight in the careful pen portraits of individual Chinese men and women living in the largest and most important empire in the world from fourteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries. In all of these books he seeks to explain China to the West and to place China in a global history. This is the very opposite of parochial, dry-as-dust history. He does this through both pleasant means – viewing the impact of China in the world through Vermeer’s paintings – and through less enjoyable but just as revealing vignettes of Chinese society. His most recent book looks at the peculiar Chinese torture, last done in public in 1904 and banned in 1905, of sentencing a person to die by a thousand cuts. In his 2009 book of the same name, Brook shows us what was the meaning of this horrific form of torture both institutionally and also to ordinary people. He illustrates that this torture tells us a great deal more about China than we might have initially thought possible, making it an exemplary study in cultural history as well as Chinese history. It complicates Chinese history but also reveals a great about it. To complicate but also to reveal – this might be taken as the essence of Tim Brook’s scholarship. We honour that scholarship today by awarding Professor Brook the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. We are delighted to honour Tom Brook at our summer degree congregation.
This oration was written by Professor Trevor Burnard, Head, Department of History
In 1915, the great art historian Heinrich Wölfflin wrote ‘Vision itself has a history.’ He insisted that the task of the art historian was to understand the very different ways in which people have viewed the world at different historical moments. Craig Clunas, Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University and perhaps the world’s pre-eminent scholar of Ming art and material culture, might add that vision itself also has a geography; that those of us in Europe and North America should not assume that our own visual habits constitute the only way, or the only correct way, of looking at the world. For Professor Clunas’ scholarship extends beyond brilliant historical research and analysis. It raises crucial ethical questions about how we look and think and speak in an age of increasing globalisation.
After undergraduate study at Cambridge and a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, Professor Clunas began his scholarly career at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Here, as a curator, he mounted many wide-ranging exhibitions and was a major figure in the installation of the magnificent Chinese gallery. What is more telling is that he was part of a generation of curators who began to think deeply about the museum itself. Professor Clunas has written with great force about the V&A, not as a neutral depository for objects but as an institution at the heart of global politics. He has detailed the ways in which, for most of its history, the museum continually misunderstood its East Asian objects, using them to fabricate myths about those other cultures.
Professor Clunas moved from the V&A back to the academy in 1994 but he continued to challenge and expose these myths in his extensive and influential work on Ming China; this covers the period that here in Europe we would call the mid-14th century to the mid-17th century. He went first to Sussex University, where he became Professor of History of Art in 1997, and then to SOAS, where he was the Percival David Professor of Chinese and East Asian Art from 2004. Through this distinguished career, he has written a series of pioneering books, all of which, incidentally, have the most beautiful titles: Superfluous Things (1991), Fruitful Sites (1996), and Elegant Debts (2004). These volumes elaborate the making and use and re-use of objects and gardens and spaces and texts in Ming China. But they also make a more fundamental contribution. Too often it is assumed that the European Renaissance represents the emergence of a modern culture while other parts of the globe remain mired in unchanging tradition. Professor Clunas reveals how profoundly mistaken this is, carefully demolishing the prejudices that have structured European attitudes: the myth of the dynamic West and the static East, of the progressive West and the regressive East. The Ming era in his brilliant analysis is no less modern than the European Renaissance, and a failure to understand this is a failure of both our historical and our moral imagination.
Given this, it seems particularly important that, like so many of the greatest scholars in the humanities, Professor Clunas writes not only for his academic peers but also for the wider world. In two wonderful books, Art in China (1997) and Empire of Great Brightness (2007), Professor Clunas has provided subtle, scholarly and fascinating accounts for those of us without expertise in this field. Again, this is not simply the imparting of information or knowledge. Professor Clunas challenges us in the best tradition of the humanities, demanding that in considering other cultures, we reflect upon our own. If vision has a geography, then that geography includes all of us.
He took up his current position at the University of Oxford in 2007. This is a highly prestigious chair, and Professor Clunas is the first scholar of Asian art to have occupied it. This is testament to the quality of his scholarship and its significance for the field of Chinese history and culture, and to its wider impact on the History of Art. For his work is not only significant for those in his particular field; it has shaped the discipline as whole, its theories and methods, its inclusions and exclusions, its purpose and values.
It is particularly fitting that Professor Clunas be honoured by the University of Warwick. Central to Warwick’s ethos is the belief in internationalization, the belief that the role of the university is to think globally and to participate globally. As such, we increasingly make our curricula more international, we forge research links with international partners, and we recruit ever more students from around the world. But the task is more than any of these; it is also an ethical task, in exactly the way that Professor Clunas has taught us. As members and alumni of an international university we must not just look at others but look with them; not just learn about others, but learn with them; and not just understand others, but understand ourselves. Professor Clunas is an inspiring guide to how this might be realised.
His work, then, is of the greatest scholarly significance, and it also reminds us of the wider function and duty the humanities have. His is fruitful work, elegant work, work of great brightness. It is a great privilege and a profound pleasure to honour this outstanding scholar. Mr. Chancellor, in the name of the Council, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Professor Craig Clunas.
This oration was written by Professor Michael Hatt, Head, Department of History of Art.
Mr Chancellor, Mr Vice-Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, It is an honour to be the Orator for Baroness Dean, of Thornton-le-Fylde in the County of Lancashire, or Brenda Dean, as she is more popularly and appreciatively known.
Baroness Dean has enjoyed a storied career. She was the first woman to lead a major British Trade Union, a member of the Lords, chairman of the Housing Corporation and a stalwart defender of the interests of the enlisted soldier, sailor and airman and woman as chairman of the Armed forces pay review body.
Today, with her CV so garlanded, it is easy to underestimate the remarkable nature of Brenda Dean’s career.
Brenda’s father, Hugh, was a railway signalman. Her mother, Lillian, worked in a carpet factory. In those post war years of full employment, Brenda Dean was one of the great social evils of the age – the Latch-key kid.
Leaving school at of sixteen, Brenda went to work as a secretary at a North West printing firm. Her manager was a man of little ambition and less work rate. Finding herself at a loose end, Brenda sought out a fellow secretary who was overwhelmed, and offered to help her.
The reaction came quickly. Her manager demanded to know why his secretary was showing him up by making it obvious how little work HE was doing. “Why don’t you just bring in knitting, like the other girls?” he demanded.
He would soon learn that Brenda Dean would never be one for idly knitting while there was work to be done.
Fearing the retribution of an angry manager, and impressed by her drive, Union members at the company suggested she transfer to the Manchester branch of the National Union of Printing, Bookbinding and Paper Workers.
So at the age of sixteen, Brenda began the trade union career that was to take her to the top of her union and to the centre of British political and industrial life. Brenda became an innovative and canny negotiator. She always knew the bottom line for her members, and how to get a little more than that.
One employer told the New York Times how effective her negotiating strategy was: “I knew I’d been hit” he said “but I never felt the bullet”.
Careful to involve her members in negotiations, and aware of the impact of technology on the workplace, she developed what came to be known as Brenda’s Law – that any cost saving should be divided fairly - a third to the company, a third to the employees and a third to the customer.
Brenda also led a cervical and breast cancer screening programme for print workers in the North West. The campaign faced resistance from women who found the subject of these cancers disturbing – until, that it, a much loved union figure was discovered to have cancer, and the screening had likely saved her life.
Always willing to innovate, always willing to help employers change, Brenda Dean rose rapidly through union ranks, become the National President of the Printing Union SOGAT in 1983, and taking the top job of General Secretary two years later.
Brenda became leader of Britain’s print workers at the height of the era of Murdoch and Maxwell, both, in very different ways taking advantage of the commercial freedom and technologies of the time.
Readers of Baroness Dean’s papers, generously gifted to the University of Warwick’s Modern Record’s centre, will discover that while she found Murdoch a tough but shrewd operator, she found Maxwell untrustworthy, and led a long campaign against his abuse of employees.
Yet it was to be a confrontation Brenda did not seek that brought her to the full glare of media attention. Before her election as General Secretary, Rupert Murdoch had tired of the strikes and walk outs of Fleet Street printers. He had prepared to do a flit to Wapping, throwing several thousand print workers out of work.
The resulting dispute, with demonstrations, passionate debate, violence and negotiation, was both a landmark and the end of an era. Only Brenda Dean – fair minded, straightforward and honest - emerged from the great Labour disputes of the eighties with her reputation enhanced.
Privately, many business leaders said that if only Brenda Dean had been the union leader half a decade earlier, her leadership would have avoided the dispute. Sadly, it was not to be.
Still, Baroness Dean ensured that those who had lost their jobs received £55 million in compensation that would not have been available without her leadership and negotiation skills. She never forgot who she represented.
Perhaps some of the credit for that down to earth quality should go to her husband, Keith McDowall. Baroness Dean has said that during her career she has met many males but very few men. If I may say so, in Keith she found a perfect match - a successful, insightful man perfect for a strong, intelligent woman.
After leaving the now merged SOGAT, Brenda Dean became Baroness Dean. It cannot be said she was in it for personal glory. She has refused both a safe parliamentary seat and an important ministerial job.
In the Lords, she saw the opportunity to continue doing quiet hard work, as she had done as chair of the Armed forces pay review body, and as a member of the Dearing committee on Higher Education, which helped open up the funding of universities.
From latch-key kid to legislator. From Railwayman’s daughter to Union leader.
From teen-age secretary to member of the Privy council.
Baroness Dean has led a remarkable life – and displayed even more remarkable leadership.
Throughout it all, she has never forgotten, never wavered from the cause of serving those who work hard, seek fair reward and sacrifice for their community, their family or their nation.
What better cause can a University have to honour?
Mr Chancellor, on behalf of the Council, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Brenda Dean
This oration was written by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, WMG
Professor Bob Grubbs won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005 for his contribution to the discovery and exploitation of the chemical transformation metathesis: one of organic chemistry's most important reactions. Fantastic commercial and academic opportunities have been created for producing many new molecules from polymers to pharmaceuticals.
The word metathesis means 'change-places'. In metathesis reactions, double bonds are broken and made between carbon atoms in ways that cause atom groups to change places. This happens with the assistance of special catalyst molecules. Metathesis can be compared to a dance in which the couples change partners.
Considering the relatively short time metathesis catalysts have been available, it is remarkable to note the breadth of applications they have found. These include the synthesis of insect pheromones, herbicides, additives for polymers and fuels, polymers with special properties and various substances of interest in pharmaceuticals development. Metathesis is thus an important weapon in the hunt for new pharmaceuticals for treating many of the world’s major diseases. Truly, chemistry that affects all of our lives and not just those graduating in Chemistry at this week’s ceremonies. An excellent example of where chemistry is a continuing force for good.
Bob was born Kentucky in 1942, in a house that his father had built. Both his parents were from small farm families in western Kentucky where most people stayed close to their homes. Although his grandmother spent her years working on the farm, she was very well educated and set a high standard that has resulted in many of her grandchildren becoming teachers and educators. Bob says,“Some of my early memories are of going to school with her when the baby sitter was not available and going to night and weekend classes with her while she finished her BA degree. It took her 28 years, but she finished her degree.”
His interest in science started in Junior High School and he started college at the University of Florida as an Agricultural Chemistry major combining interests in science and agriculture. He then worked for Ron Breslow in the emerging area of organometallic chemistry which was in its infancy. There was an incredible array of important catalytic processes emerging in the field while one of which was olefin metathesis. It turned out that completely new fundamental steps were required to understand this reaction.
In 1969 Michigan State University (MSU) offered him a position in which to start his independent academic career. In 1978 he moved to Caltech where he still is today. One of the important developments in his group was the growth of research in polymer chemistry. Many of the students and postdoctoral fellows who helped to develop his polymer program have moved on to outstanding careers and have helped to establish polymer chemistry in other universities. The polymer program has opened many new opportunities and has led the group in a number of directions from biomedical applications to the synthesis of new membranes and barrier films. In the present commercial environment, it is difficult for fundamental discoveries to be transitioned into large companies. After a number of early frustrations that resulted from attempts to move his work directly into major companies, he was involved in the creation of a start-up company to aid in the transition of technology from discovery to product, Materia, Inc.,
During his career, over 200 students and postdoctoral fellows have worked in his research group. During his second year at Columbia, he met his now wife, Helen O'Kane. They have three children, Barney, now a Professor of Chemistry at Stony Brook University, Brendan, an MD and Kathleen, who obtained a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Hawaii.
We are awarding Professor Grubbs this honorary degree in recognition for his outstanding contribution to research at the highest level and for his continued enthusiasm and commitment to Chemistry and the teaching of Chemistry: an inspiration for us all.
This oration was written by Professor David Haddleton, Department of Chemistry
Sir Stuart Hampson was Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership for fourteen years, from 1993 until his retirement in March 2007.
After completing his first degree in Modern Languages at Oxford, Sir Stuart joined the civil service for twelve years. He worked at the Board of Trade from 1969-1972, including two years on the UK Mission to the United Nations at Geneva. Sir Stuart 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 government ministers.
Sir Stuart 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, in High Wycombe and for new stores in Aberdeen and Kingston. In 1989, he became Deputy Chairman and in 1993, became the fourth Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.
An influential and popular figure in the business world, during his fourteen years at the helm of the John Lewis Partnership Sir Stuart presided over an important programme of modernisation, but without sacrificing the John Lewis Partnership ethos and principles that were embodied in its pioneering 1929 constitution, namely co-ownership and the welfare and happiness of all stakeholders including staff, and which is often held up as a model of innovative corporate governance. Sir Stuart’s 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 through John Lewis Direct and Ocado, the home-delivery grocery service.
The partnership’s 2006 results, announced shortly before Sir Stuart’s departure at the end of March 2007, are a testament to his efforts. Pre-tax profits hit a new high, up 27 per cent on the previous year, and the 68,000 staff – or partners - shared a bonus that was up 29 per cent from the previous year 2005 and equivalent to 18 per cent of salaries.
Sir Stuart is a founding deputy chairman of London First, an influential business membership organisation with the mission to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. He was also President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (2005-06) and is current President of the Employee Ownership Association, which champions employee engagement and ownership in business.
Sir Stuart also chaired the team tackling economic renewal in deprived communities and is one of the Prince of Wales’s Ambassadors in this area. He has been a member of the Corporate Leaders Group pressing the government for stronger action on climate change and he is also an influential and widely sought after public speaker on a wide range of business issues. He was knighted in 1998, and became Chairman of the Crown Estate in January 2010.
In short, Sir Stuart is the consummate, well rounded and socially responsible businessman. The University of Warwick is extremely glad to be able to honour Sir Stuart Hampson at our Summer Degree congregation.
This oration was written by Professor Mark Taylor, Dean of Warwick Business School.
Richard Lerner has played a pivotal role in shaping many aspects of biology both through his own research and also through his inspiring leadership of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California. He has been associated with some of the major advances in biology at a fundamental level but also many that address practical issues related to human disease and suffering. For the majority of his research career he has been a driving force in bringing together fundamental science and clinical medicine to try to address critical questions and to harness biological process to derive the greatest potential benefit to patients. He has also championed the melding together of elements of chemistry and biology to harness the powers of both in new ways.
Richard Lerner obtained his MD in 1964 from Stanford Medical School. This was followed by a research appointment at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. This was the first contact with the institute he would ultimately lead. At this time his research work contained elements of study of the human antibody response that would inform much of his subsequent research career but at this time the focus was on their role in disease and tissue transplantation. Dr Lerner’s association with the Scripps Clinic was interrupted by a brief placement at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia before returning to the renamed Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, becoming the Director in 1987. He became President of the Scripps Research Institute in 1991 since which time it has trebled in physical size and quadrupled in staff numbers to become one of the largest non-profit research institutes in the world.
Richard Lerner’s research has spanned a diverse range of areas in which he has consistently made significant advances. He has led developments in the analysis of protein structure and in the analysis of lipid molecules involved in the intriguing phenomenon of sleep induction. However, the area with which he is most associated is the field of catalytic antibodies where he was a pioneer. Bringing together his interest in biology and chemistry he recognised the potential strength of using the power of biological systems to solve seemingly intractable problems in chemistry. He recognised the catalytic power of biological enzymes that carry out a vast range of chemical reactions in physiological conditions which frequently cannot be matched by conventional industrial chemical approaches. He coupled this with the novel concept of using antibodies to retain the enzymes while directing them to sites where they are required. These principles have been brought together in the generation of chimeric antibody molecules coupled with enzyme catalysts capable of carrying out specific complex chemical reactions. This concept has opened up new avenues for research in chemistry with the ability to carry out potentially commercially valuable reactions under relatively simple conditions. In the sphere of biology the exquisite specificity of these novel chimeric antibodies has been used to direct enzymes to sites in the body where they can activate drugs at the place they are required thus avoiding problems of non-specific toxicity which is a significant problem in the treatment of some diseases. This has allowed the use of drugs which would previously have been discarded as unusable. The impact on therapies for a wide range of disorders and diseases continues to increase. Having developed this principle the work has now extended beyond the boundaries set by biology by generating and identifying antibodies with the desired specificity without the activation of the immune system. This has revolutionised the application of antibodies to a vast range of fields.
The impact of Richard Lerner’s research has been realised in the form of many patents for the exploitation of his work as well as in over 400 scientific papers describing his work. Its value and his own contribution has been recognised by election to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the United States Academy of Sciences as well as the conferment of a large number of honorary degrees and awards in the area of both chemistry and biology.
Richard Lerner is a pioneer in the application of interdisciplinary research. His leadership of The Scripps Research Institute and in particular his focus on increasing interactions at the borders of chemistry and biology have transformed both disciplines. His own contributions have opened up new avenues of research which will benefit countless patients. His involvement in the establishment of Scripps Florida, a major science centre focussing on biomedical research, technology development and drug design which opened in 2009 demonstrates that his vision and energy remain focussed on further expanding our knowledge of new fields of study. His influence will continue benefit future generations. It is with great pleasure that Warwick welcomes Richard Lerner and recognises his significant contributions to science with an honorary degree.
This oration was written by Dr David Roper, Department of Biological Sciences
Professor Ole Danbolt Mjøs has held a significant position on the world stage, yet his activities have been discreet. Between 2003 and 2008 he served as chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Together with his four colleagues, his task was to award the Nobel Peace Prize, one of the world's most prestigious honours.
Professor Mjøs has pursued several careers. He is a distinguished physician specialising in cardiology. 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 he joined the University of Tromsø (the world’s northernmost university) as Reader in 1974 and soon became a Professor in Medical Physiology.
He has spent time in university leadership, serving as Dean of the Medical Faculty and then Rector of the University of Tromsø for six years. He is also a long-standing member of Norway’s Christian Democratic Party. He was appointed Chair of the Nobel Committee in 2003 and remained in this office until the end of 2008.
The Nobel Peace Prize is regarded as internationally important and attracts enormous interest and comment. Those who receive it often find that their position as a champion of peace is transformed by the status and attention that it bestows.
The Nobel Peace prize is highly sought after. In order to try to insulate themselves from any pressure or lobbying, the work of the Nobel Committee is kept highly confidential – one might even say slightly secretive. No minutes of its deliberations are published and no explanation is given of how the final decision is reached. The names of those who were nominated - but not chosen - are kept from public inspection for a period of half a century.
There are often many nominations. Members of parliaments and national assemblies can make suggest names. So can university professors in fields such as history, political science, philosophy and law. Peace research centres and institutes of international relations can also suggest nominees. The committee begins to trawl though these many possibilities and suggestions at the start of the year – meeting every four weeks - and finally coming up with a decision in the autumn.
Professor Mjøs has done much to enhance the role of the Nobel Peace Prize. Under his leadership the committee has developed a more holistic definition of peace-making. Traditionally, the award has tended to go to negotiators who have resolved traditional inter-state conflict. When Alfred Nobel initiated the prize, the emphasis was upon people who had worked for the fraternity of nations, for the cause of arms control or who had initiated major peace conferences.
Instead Professor Mjøs has sought to embrace many of the new security challenges of the early twentieth-first century. He has recognized that the challenges of global uncertainty that we face as we enter the second decade of the 21st century are as broad as they are daunting. New security problems include deep-seated ethnic conflict, poverty, the environment, human rights and the possibility of global pandemics. He has moved in the spirit of human security in seeking to award the prize to environmentalists such as Al Gore, or campaigners against global poverty, such as Muhammad Yunus.
It is also important to note that under his leadership the committee significantly increased the number of women laureates, awarding the prize to Iranian human rights lawyer, Shirring Ebadi in 2003 and African environmentalist Wangari Maathai in 2004. The Nobel Peace Prize is now truly global. In the last few years it has been awarded to a mixture of campaigning activists and traditional political leaders. It has also expanded its reach to include Asia and Africa.
His roles as a professor of medicine and a promoter of peace do not seem to have an obvious connection. In fact they have come together in important ways. Professor Mjøs has also been keen to highlight the role of universities as agents to advance the cause of world peace. He has organised international conferences on the contribution that higher education can make to conflict resolution. In 2002 he assisted with the creation of the Centre for Peace Studies at Tromsø.
Universities can assist the cause of peace not only through their research on the causes of conflict - but also by promoting a “Culture of Peace”. Professor Mjøs has argued that more universities should set up peace studies departments where research will help to find new ways to prevent conflict. Education has a part to play in teaching each generation of students about the importance of a peaceful path to the resolution of human difficulties.
The challenges to peace in the second decade of the 21st century are truly daunting. They will require imagination, intelligence and above all improved understanding if we are to find a way forward. Under the guidance of Professor Mjøs the Nobel Prize Committee has played an increasingly important role in redefining the very concept of peace. Professor Mjøs represents a public servant who has devoted much of his life to the cause of peace and to education for peace. It is fit and proper, and a privilege for Warwick, to recognise this important work with the award of this honorary degree.
This oration was written by Richard J. Aldrich, Professor of Security in the Department of Politics and International Studies.
The Chancellor’s Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the University’s work and development.
Dr Russell Moseley, to whom we award the Chancellor’s medal this morning, has served as one of the University’s senior administrators since 1988, and since 2002 as the inaugural Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning.
The University has always had a strong commitment to the principle of lifelong learning, regarding it as one of the most important ways in which it can enrich lives – particularly those of people in our local region. We have been fortunate to find in Russell a practitioner who wholeheartedly shares this view and who has worked knowledgeably and steadily to make our Department – first called simply ‘Continuing Education’ – one of the best in the UK.
Under Russell’s guidance, the Department has created a range of partnerships locally and regionally, particularly with our local Further Education Colleges. He has developed with them our 2+2 degree programme and more recently Foundation Degrees – we are proud of the fact that we were the first research-led University to take Foundation degrees on board. These programmes have enabled a steady stream of people to enter higher education who otherwise might never have had the opportunity to do so.
The past decade has, however, been a challenging funding period for continuing education and lifelong learning, resulting in the closure of many departments in universities across the country. Russell, however, has ensured that this vital part of Warwick’s mission continues. He has steered the Centre into new areas, including teacher training for post-compulsory education (in 2007, Warwick was awarded one of the nine national Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Training); essential skills; counselling and, most recently, training for careers guidance. All this while retaining our popular programme of Open Studies courses, day schools, and study visits and tours.
Russell has a strong national and international reputation in his field and has played an important part in developing policy and practice in the area of higher education in further education, a subject on which he has written a number of good practice guides. He has been involved in a range of evaluation projects in this area and has been Treasurer of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning. His national perspective on lifelong learning has been invaluable to Warwick during his long career here.
Russell retires from the University in September and it is a great pleasure to recognise his long and important contribution to Warwick by awarding him this Chancellor’s Medal.
The Chancellor's Medal presentation will be made by the University Chancellor, Mr Richard Lambert.
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. Yet he might not have become the public intellectual that he undoubtedly is. He studied piano and cello from the age of six but his hopes of becoming a professional cellist ended in 1962 when he developed a form of carpal tunnel syndrome which was made worse by a disastrous hand operation.
So what to do when such a catastrophe strikes and early hopes and ambition are thwarted? Richard Sennett went to study 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 the London School of Economics, where he helped to create and chaired the Cities Programme. 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.
It would be too easy, however, to view Richard Sennett in the one dimensional terms of an upwardly mobile and highly successful professional career or to view him as one who was let down in early life but who successfully managed to redirect his energies. Rather, the significance of Richard Sennett’s life work is more fundamental. It is in the way that he reaches us at a personal level and provokes us to questioning the taken-for-granted. Richard Sennett writes with lucidity and erudition. 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. Professor Sennett’s many books include The Uses of Disorder, 1970, The Hidden Injuries of Class, written with Jonathan Cobb 1972; The Fall of Public Man, 1974, the Conscience of the Eye, 1990, Flesh and Stone, 1992, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, 1998 and The Craftsman, 2008. He also published three novels in the 1980s.
Commentators reflect that Richard Sennett, born in Chicago in 1943 to radical parents - his father and uncles were members of the Communist party and fought in the Spanish Civil War - reacted against the ‘self-indulgence’ of 1960s alternative culture. Not for him a navel gazing, therapeutic approach. Rather, his approach is to both ‘honour the idealism of an old left and re-mould it in the light of contemporary realities’. The radical concerns at the heart of his published works hold on to deep-rooted values of respect, recognition and the value of people. They also challenge newer truths such as those that suggest that the thrust toward egalitarianism can wipe away insecurity of condition and status and those that believe that dependency and loyalty should have no place in new world orders. Whilst many, for example, have suggested that class is no longer a salient category in this egalitarian age, Richard Sennett provides in The Hidden Injuries of Class an extremely sensitive exploration of working class life. The subtlety of analysis demonstrates how we are wrong to presume that social distinctions have been erased in an equal opportunities age. Class has become not so much a question of economics but certainly a question of character, morality and taste. In his text The Corrosion of Character Richard Sennett eloquently demonstrates the insecurities of the new economy and how it perverts important qualities of loyalty, trust, commitment and self-discipline.
These negativities in contemporary workplace and social relations may have prompted Richard Sennett to turn his attention to a place where such values remain of value. His more recent work, The Craftsman, has been concerned to challenge the degradation to humanity that is a mark of many contemporary workplaces by reminding us of the importance of skill and craftsmanship. Richard Sennett offers us here a fundamental truth that we should listen to. This is that there is a basic and enduring human impulse. This impulse is the desire to do a job well. Such a desire is not for extrinsic reward. After all, as Richard Sennett points out, even incompetents often have no trouble in being successful in work organisations. Rather it is because what the craftsman teaches us is that doing a job well brings other kinds of reward. At a personal level, these are those of deep inner satisfaction, self-respect and self-worth. Politically, craftwork provides the necessary skills for shaping and repairing a social world.
Richard Sennett is testimony to this philosophy. He is a craftsman par excellence whose work inspires us to political and social challenge and renewal.
We are delighted to honour Richard Sennett at our Summer Degree Congregation.
This oration was written by Professor Christina Hughes, Chair, Faculty of Social Sciences.
Professor Barbara Maria Stafford is foremost an eminent art historian, yet her work covers much more than traditional history of art. Having moved to the United States from her native Austria at the age of seven, she studied for her BA in Continental Philosophy and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University, and then spent a year at the Sorbonne before returning for an MA in Art History. She received her doctorate from the University of Chicago, where she has been a full professor since 1981 and is currently William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor Emerita. Professor Stafford also benefited from a Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, which enabled her to study with Ernst Gombrich at the Warburg Institute, London.
In the course of her career, Professor Stafford has published extensively on a wide range of subjects. She has won many fellowships, awards and prizes, including the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Clifford Prize (1979), the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Prize (1989-91), the 1992 Gottschalk Prize, and in 2007 the Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts.
Much of her work focuses on understanding the nature and meaning of the optical and the visual, and their role in culture from the early modern era to the present digital age. She is deeply concerned with the significance of images and so she treats them as challenging things, as objects that can and must be interrogated to reveal their true significance. She has written authoritatively about the confrontation between the body and art, between the physical and the images that aim to capture its essence. She has explored the historical roles of the visual in medicine and anatomy, in education, in natural sciences and in geography. Her approach transcends the common theories, conventions and traditions of any established field – visual culture, she argues, can only be understood in its full richness by bringing together perspectives from the arts and the sciences, including the history and theory of art, archaeology, life sciences and evolutionary biology, geography, communication science, semiotics, and cognitive science and neuroscience.
Professor Stafford has not only written numerous books and articles; she has also communicated her ideas in projects and exhibitions, such as Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen Show, which she co-curated at the Getty Museum in 2001/2002. In Devices of Wonder, she shows that virtual image making and sensory enhancement through devices such as lenses, mirrors and prisms have a very long history, and have profoundly shaped not only our perception but also our thinking about the world.
Throughout her work, and true to her conviction about the relevance – and indeed importance – of the many facets of the visual, Professor Stafford demonstrates a remarkable ability to think outside disciplinary boundaries in a way that not only inspires those within her own field, but also those whose subjects she approaches as a relative outsider, bringing new, often unexpected and illuminating insights to them. As a cognitive scientist, I found numerous examples of this in her work on the intersection between the arts and the cognitive and neurosciences.
Recently she has demonstrated that insights into how the brain processes visual information to derive meaning and produce action can help us to understand visual culture. Her work clearly indicates what the humanities can gain from embracing and absorbing what we know about neuroscience and cognitive science.
However, Professor Stafford shows that the benefits of this novel intersection of perspectives also flow in the other direction, such that neuroscientists who wish to understand the brain need to consider how its functions are reflected in, and even shaped by, art. In their attempts to understand the regularities of human cognition, cognitive scientists have traditionally relied on the textual representations of such fields as computer science, symbolic logic, and traditional artificial intelligence, and these textual representations have provided the building blocks for theories of concepts, knowledge and thought. Professor Stafford calls into question this text-centred approach, challenging for instance Dennett’s assumption that language offers the primary route to the knowledge of other minds. Instead, she argues, the cognitive sciences should be equally informed by the study of visual representations. Mental activity, she claims, is visually situated, just as much as it is narratively situated. Our concepts of the world are not based on passively collected information that somehow exists independently from us, with pre-existing meaning; rather, our senses cooperate with our higher-level cognitive apparatus to construct percepts and thoughts in an active and productive manner. The arts, she argues, have produced concrete images that exhibit how the visual brain extracts the essence of form and shape from the constant flow of sensory input. The visual arts show the results of our cognitive system’s irrepressible desire to discover patterns and regularities, and thereby create structure and simplicity. Through this work, Professor Stafford has contributed significantly to a new approach to thinking about the mind; an approach in which the situated, embodied nature of cognition is central. Recent work in cognitive science has highlighted the primacy of the visual in human thought, and even abstract concepts seem to have foundations in the perceptual and motor systems that allow us to interact with our environment. Cognitive science has much to learn from the study of the visual, and few are better placed than Professor Stafford to articulate the questions and insights that matter most. Her work brings together the arts and the sciences in a unique and profoundly inspiring way, and has thereby laid the foundations for a genuinely new approach to understanding human experience.
We are delighted to honour Professor Barbara Maria Stafford at this Summer Degree Congregation.
This oration was written by Professor Koen Lamberts, Chair of the Board of the Faculty of Science and Director, Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems
Jyotsna Suri is Chairperson and Managing Director of India’s Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, formerly Bharat Hotels Ltd. Mrs Suri took on this demanding position in 2006, on the sudden and untimely death of her husband, Mr Lalit Suri, who founded the Bharat Group in 1987. Mr Suri was an eminent political figure In India, elected to the Rajya Sabha as an Independent from Uttar Pradesh in 2002. On 9 October 2006, he attended a reception in London hosted by the Indian community in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, where he sadly passed away the following day, aged 59. Jyotsna later rebranded the Bharat Group as ‘The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group’, in tribute to her late husband.
Highly respected and widely regarded for her astute leadership by her peers and the corporate community alike, Jyotsna Suri has been the driving force of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group’s expanding activities since 2006. 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 (Rs.2,200 crore) 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.
In 2009, Jyotsna Suri appeared in BT’s list of the Most Powerful Women in Indian Business, a true accolade to her ambition and expertise.
Jyotsna 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.
A multi-faceted individual, Jyotsna Suri is a passionate believer in education. Her work day does not conclude until she has enquired about the various initiatives and charities with which she is involved. She is a key member of the governing committees in a wide spectrum of organisations – The Subros Education Society (which operates The Step by Step Schools); SAVERA (working for the underprivileged), 24/7 Women’s Security (focused on women safety and security), VRIDHA (an organisation for elderly citizens) and SEEDS (which provides skills training and education for the needy).
Jyotsna Suri firmly believes that ‘teaching them young’ is the best way to ensure a bright future. Towards this cause, she has started The Lalit Suri Junior Golf coaching programme – which runs camps in key Indian cities, with a view to not only promoting the sport, but also finding and encouraging talent.
Mrs Suri is also a great patron of India’s performing and visual arts and it is to her credit that the Art Junction operates in New Delhi – an art gallery which promotes young and deserving artists.
Jyotsna Suri is an alumna of the famous Lawrence School, Sanawar, and graduated in English honours from Miranda House College, one of the premier women's institutions of Delhi University.
Her family, and most importantly her grandchildren, give her a lot of joy. She has three married daughters and a son and we are pleased to say that a total of nine members of her family have been educated here at Warwick. It is a source of great pleasure to us that Mrs Suri has such a passion for the United Kingdom, for its culture and for its education system.
The University of Warwick is extremely glad to be able to honour Jyotsna Suri at our Summer Degree congregation.
This oration was written by Professor Mark Taylor, Dean of Warwick Business School.