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Honorary Graduands Orations - Summer 2011

Professor Yakov Sinai: Hon DSc (11.00am ceremony on Monday, 18 July)

 

Yakov Grigorevich Sinai was born in 1935. His career started in the Laboratory of Probabilistic and Statistical Methods, Moscow State University. He was made Professor there in 1971, and was simultaneously appointed to a senior researcher position at the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics. Since 1993 he has been a professor in Mathematics at Princeton University, while retaining his Landau Institute affiliation.

Professor Sinai is a remarkably creative mathematician whose profound insights have initiated a wide range of developments linking dynamical systems theory, probability theory and statistical mechanics.

It is Sinai who showed the world in significant generality how deterministic dynamical systems may behave like stochastic ones, indeed almost as randomly as a sequence of tosses of a die. For the class of deterministic dynamical systems called “uniformly hyperbolic” he constructed finite partitions of the state space such that the trajectory is uniquely determined by the sequence of partition elements visited. Then he proved that from typical initial conditions, after a transient stage the sequence of transitions between partition elements corresponds to a type of stochastic process called Gibbsian. It is a generalization of die-tossing in which the die has one side for each partition element and the probability distribution for the next side may depend on the whole of the sequence so far, but exponentially weakly on the distant past. He achieved this by writing the probability distribution for the sequence from time minus infinity to plus infinity as a problem in statistical mechanics, namely the Gibbs distribution of thermal equilibrium for a doubly infinite chain of dice in which each die makes a contribution to the energy depending exponentially weakly on the faces shown by the distant dice. The energy contribution is given by an explicit formula derived from how expansive the deterministic dynamics is. This was a remarkable achievement that has subsequently been extended in many directions under the name of Sinai-Ruelle-Bowen measure.

It is also Sinai who made the first major steps towards justifying one of the principles that underlay the development of statistical mechanics, namely Boltzmann’s ergodicity hypothesis that almost all trajectories of a classical mechanical system spend time in any region of the energy surface in proportion to its Liouville volume. He concentrated on the case of hard sphere gases. It was a very difficult problem, but the case of two hard spheres rolling on a two-dimensional torus yielded to his sharp intellect. It is universally known as the Sinai billiard and opened up a large domain of research activity. Building on his further results on this problem, some of the researchers whom he has inspired are now very close to proving the general case.

Sinai also initiated one of the most important methods of mathematical statistical mechanics since Peierls’ method of contours. Known as the Pirogov-Sinai method, it establishes non-unique phase for certain classes of spin system at low temperature.

He initiated the mathematical development of the theory of space-time chaos, with an important proof of unique phase for a class of weakly coupled arrays of chaotic dynamical systems.

Sinai’s random walk in a random environment has generated a huge literature. He obtained foundational results for stochastically forced partial differential equations, including Burger’s equation and the 2D Navier-Stokes equation.

In addition to creating these new avenues, he contributed to the development of several other important themes. As a student of the famous probabilist Kolmogorov, Sinai’s first work was to make a more tractable definition of the concept of entropy of a measure-preserving dynamical system, a quantification of the rate of chaos now universally known as Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy, and to develop the theory for it. He gave one of the few exact treatments of renormalisation of statistical mechanics systems in more than one dimension, namely of Dyson’s hierarchical models, and contributed to the renormalisation approach to understanding quasiperiodic orbits of dynamical systems. For quasiperiodic Schrodinger problems he proved regimes of localization and delocalization; joint work on this with Dinaburg is widely used.

With a modest and deeply caring manner, he has generated a stream of highly productive research students, involving them generously in many of the above developments, and has inspired a large number of other researchers around the world, including many of us in Mathematics at Warwick.

His work and influence have been recognized with many honours, most notably the Boltzmann Gold medal (1986), Heineman prize (1989), Dirac medal (1992), Wolf prize (1997), Nemmers prize (2002) and Lagrange prize (2008). He is a member of the Russian academy of sciences (1991), honorary member of the London Mathematical Society (1992), foreign member of several national academies including those of the USA, Hungary, Brazil, and the Royal Society (2009). He is an honorary doctor of Warsaw University, Budapest University and Hebrew University. It is a privilege for us to add the University of Warwick to this list today.

This oration was written by Professor Robert MacKay, Department of Mathematics.

 

Professor Harriet Zuckerman: Hon DLitt (3.00pm ceremony on Monday, 18 July)

 

Like the nations and states in which they are rooted, universities rely—for their health, their vitality and their futures—upon key individuals whose contributions to scholarship span disciplinary boundaries and transcend conventional career trajectories. We hope that many of the Warwick students in today’s degree ceremony will themselves in future play such transformative roles in universities and in society here in Britain and around the world. For those who choose to do so in the coming years, this afternoon’s honorary degree recipient, Professor Harriet Zuckerman, will provide an exemplary role model. A highly accomplished sociologist whose publications have been cited by hundreds of researchers in fields that include not only sociology but also economics, education, information science, law, management studies, politics and psychology, Professor Zuckerman has also played a leading role in enabling an international constellation of premier universities to develop innovative research agendas and to train up new generations of scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Professor Zuckerman received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her PhD from New York’s Columbia University, where she rose to become Professor of Sociology and (from 1978-1982) Chair of the Sociology Department. A distinguished record of publications marking out new research questions—and often providing disconcerting answers to these questions—underpinned her career at Columbia. Centred around the sociology of scientific knowledge, these works are remarkable for their intellectual range. Professor Zuckerman’s 1977 monograph, republished in 1996, explored the emergence of an American Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States; her co-edited volume of essays on The Outer Circle: Women in the Scientific Community, published in 1991, both explored and anatomised the differential professional success of men and women within the scientific community.

Many of the conclusions reached in Professor Zuckerman’s publications on these varied topics are unexpected. Whereas family responsibilities, for example, emerge from her research as factors that do not invariably diminish women’s publication profiles relative to those of male colleagues, winning the Nobel Prize typically serves to dampen the publication activity of the scientists (predominantly men) who achieve this international accolade. Professor Zuckerman’s many scholarly articles grapple with foundational issues about the emergence not only of scientific elites but also of broader knowledge systems. A 1986 article in the premier science journal Nature co-authored by Professor Zuckerman and Joshua Lederberg offers a telling example of her willingness and ability to range beyond the conventional subjects of her discipline. Entitled ‘Postmature Scientific Discovery’, this publication traces the often episodic and discontinuous pathways by which scientific paradigms shift. Focusing on changes in scientists’ understanding of bacterial reproduction, the article incisively interrogates the unexpected intellectual and institutional parameters that led researchers to reject the supposed ‘truth’ that all bacterial reproduction is asexual and thus to discover the processes of genetic recombination in bacteria that play central roles in twenty-first century science and medicine. A key finding from this research offers us a forceful reminder of the lessons of history for the scientists, social scientists and humanists of tomorrow. The erroneous belief that bacterial reproduction was asexual persisted for decades, the authors conclude, because ‘Dogma prevailed over focused curiosity’.

Not content to study the evolution of knowledge systems in the past, Professor Zuckerman in 1991 left Columbia University to join the Andrew Mellon Foundation, a charitable trust located in New York that has set an international gold standard for the philanthropic support of scholarship and teaching in the humanities. Rising to become Senior Vice President and Director of the Research Universities and Humanistic Scholarship programme at the Mellon Foundation prior to her retirement last year, Professor Zuckerman orchestrated the award of 1,400 research grants totally $775 million to over 200 institutions—including this university. Benefitting public and private, American and European universities, these awards have enriched the educations of undergraduates, postgraduates and academics at all stages of their careers on both sides of the Atlantic (and beyond). Complementing her transformative work at the Mellon Foundation is Professor Zuckerman’s generous contribution to the good governance of several of America’s premier centres of interdisciplinary scholarship. As her various past and present roles as the Senior Fellow of the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Professor Emerita at Columbia University, a trustee of the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a member of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation’s selection committee, President of the Society for Social Studies of Science and editorial board member of scholarly periodicals such as the American Journal of Sociology all attest, Professor Zuckerman’s commitment to intellectual endeavour is fundamentally a commitment to intellectual excellence. Her achievements in and for the international world of scholarship are beacons for our ambitions (as students and staff) at Warwick University.

We are delighted to honour Professor Harriet Zuckerman’s longstanding, formidable and transformative commitment to ‘focused curiosity’ in humanistic, social scientific and scientific knowledge today at this summer degree congregation.

This oration was written by Professor Margot Finn, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Access, Widening Participation and Development.

 

Professor Jinghai Li: Hon DSc (10.30am ceremony on Tuesday, 19 July)

 

Oration to follow.

 

Mr Alan Tuckett, OBE: Hon DLitt (13.30am ceremony on Tuesday, 19 July)

 

Alan Tuckett will retire from his role as Chief Executive of the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education on 31st August this year. It is a position he has filled with distinction since 1988. His working life has been dedicated to championing the cause for adult education, a task which he has taken on with passion and vigour.

Alan was born in West Country but spent part of his early life overseas; he studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia where a close friend has observed that’ in the seminar, Alan acted as a continual dialectical dynamo for the whole group. It wasn’t just that he was willing to talk when most of the rest of us were dumb, but that he talked in a way that provoked the rest of us to talk, so he talked in a way that moved things forward – and this meant that things got done, got achieved.’

Alan chose not to pursue the academic career which beckoned him. The need to earn a living meant that instead he started his working life teaching English to adults. Then, at the age of 24, he became principal of the Friends Centre, a voluntary adult education centre in Brighton. During this time he played a leading and national role in the adult literacy campaign, which for him was a highly political issue and an opportunity to engage with students in a way which gave them a voice and built political awareness; he changed its liberal adult education programme and promoted learning to those who had missed out on opportunities. When the Centre’s grant was cut Alan reacted not with despondency and cost cutting but with the energy and imagination which has characterised his life. He embarked on a 24 hour seven-day Teach- In, which not only attracted national attention from the media, but enabled the Centre to be sustained during harsher cuts.

At the age of 33 Alan became principal of Clapham and Battersea Adult Education Institute, where he protected established provision and also introduced new courses, such as Access courses to Higher Education. In 1988 he was appointed Director of the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education. Under his leadership NIACE became an effective political machine. NIACE became a ‘think-tank’ for adult education policy – one whose opinions gained national and international respect. He built alliances with the media and politicians, theorists and practitioners, learners and the public. He built a skilled, committed and enthusiastic team. NIACE developed a range of innovations, including supporting initiatives for older learners and family learning and initiating Adult Learners’ Week. Adult Learners’ Week has become a national institution, reinforcing and making highly visible the whole notion of lifelong learning. Alan made a substantial contribution to the development of work-related adult learning, developing methods used in informal adult education to raise demand for learning among shopfloor workers, and which recognised the complex relationships between learning, skills, economic productivity and workplace organisation. Under his leadership NIACE established itself at the heart of a modernised lifelong learning system, determined to act in the best interests of adult learners. Alan has also initiated national inquiries, especially the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning which NIACE sponsored and which he inspired, resulting in the Learning Through Life report.

Alan has been involved in many national and international committees. Indeed, although he is about to retire, he has just been elected President of the International Council for Adult Education for a four year term, the first European to hold the role.

During his career he has received many honours in recognition of the contribution he has made to the cause of adult learning, including an OBE, honorary professorships and honorary doctorates. However, as last week’s NIACE bulletin reminded him, although his honorary degree collection is approaching double figures, he has some way to go to catch Sir David Attenborough!

In a recent article, Alan reflected on the changes in the adult learning sector in the UK during his time at NIACE. He points to the expansion of adult participation in higher education alongside the decline in extramural courses – ‘a casualty…of the obsession with certification and accountability that dominates public policy discourse and decision-making about adult learning’; ongoing changes in the adult education funding structures; the growth in educational broadcasting and the digital media; the growth in adult education in the 1990s followed by a change in policy direction in the last decade to focus on courses preparing adults to work. In the article Alan observed that ‘battles won one year need to be won again the next’ and ‘advances in one direction seem to be accompanied… by reverses in the next’. He also noted that ‘a willingness to repeat ourselves regularly, coupled with unbounding optimism, have been key requirements of our jobs at NIACE, and in the wider field’. Alan has embodied these requirements, ceaselessly setting out the benefits, but also the complexities, of the adult education sector to policy makers.

In the same article Alan observed that ‘extra-mural work – a cornerstone of open access adult education since the days of Tawney and the 1919 report on adult education – has been eradicated in all but a small core of universities. If teaching and research were twin pillars on which university education developed, so, too, was the civic duty to make knowledge accessible to the communities that resource its development’. That is something which Warwick has not forgotten. Here we have been committed to continuing to provide and develop adult learning opportunities, through a range of provision, from foundation degrees, 2+2 degrees in partnership with local colleges, training lecturers in FE colleges, part-time undergraduate degrees to professional Masters courses, and Open Studies courses for the local community and our own students.

It is, therefore, right that we should honour Alan Tuckett’s contribution to the adult learning world – his contribution has been inestimable and one which, at Warwick, we particularly value.

Mr Chancellor, I am, therefore, delighted to present Alan Tuckett for the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

This oration was written by Dr David Lamburn, Centre for Lifelong Learning.

 

His Honour Richard Cole: The Chancellor's Medal (4.30pm ceremony on Tuesday, 19 July)

 

Judge Richard Cole is the Chairman of the new Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund, past Chairman of the Medical Research Fund and member of the appeal which together raised in excess of £7million from charitable donations to build, equip, and staff the Biomedical Research Institute here at Warwick University.

Richard Cole has served in many roles; Solicitor, School Governor, Recorder, Parish Councilor, member of The Parole Board, first Town Mayor of Burford, Circuit judge, and President of a host of organizations (too many to mention here) but notably and unusually including President of the National Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers. He has undoubtedly helped the local and wider community in these many and varied ways.

All of these roles illustrate his willingness and dedication for the common good and should be an inspiration to all of us, to engage with our communities wherever we are, and use the different skills we all have to make a difference.

It is this very willingness that landed Richard in the role of Chairman of the Medical Research Fund. In fact, over a meal at the previous Vice Chancellors residence, it was announced that Richard would be continuing the good work of the then outgoing chairman Howell Jones. Initially somewhat taken aback at this unexpected announcement Richard accepted the challenge! This once again goes to prove that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Always be aware of that if you are offered one!

Since then, under Richard’s wise leadership and guidance, the Medical Research Fund has gone on from strength to strength, fund raising and distributing these funds to pump prime Arden Research Fellowships, being guided by a steering committee, and a scientific committee to scrutinize and select applications only of the highest standard.

This civic activity chaired by Richard, has enabled the funding of pilot projects leading to research that will make a real difference to our health and wellbeing, and stretches back into a longstanding partnership (now over 15 years) between Warwick University Scientists, Medics, and, all importantly, the generosity of time and subscription of members of the local community.

Partnership between Warwick University and the local community is so important. Those of you who have been part of the thriving Warwick Student Volunteer program will recognize the great benefits such a partnership brings. The Medical Research Fund itself has clearly benefited from expertise within the community, assisting activity within the University. In this, recognition should be also given to Mrs Wendy Adam (who is here today) and has been a key member of the MRF and appeal Fundraising Committee for the past 15 years.

So, today we honour Richard Cole and all those within the Medical Research Fund who have worked with us at Warwick to further the excellence in research that we come to expect from this institution.

Vice Chancellor may I present his Honour Judge Richard Cole that you may award the Chancellor’s Medal for service to the University.

The Chancellor's Medal presentation will be made by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Thrift.

 

Mr John Leighfield, CBE: Hon LLD (11.00am ceremony on Wednesday, 20 July)

 

John Leighfield has had a sterling business career; he is a celebrated servant to the community and a dedicated supporter of the arts and education. In short, a truly distinguished individual.

John was born in Oxford, and was a pupil at Magdalen College School going on to read Greats at Exeter College, Oxford. He still lives in Oxford, playing an active role in the local community as former Chairman of the Governors of Magdalen College School, and, reflecting John’s love of music, Chairman of the Oxford Philomusica Advisory Council and the Resident Professional Orchestra at the University of Oxford.

A leading figure in the UK IT Industry, John pursued his career in IT, initially in the 1960s with the Ford Motor Company, Plessey (where he was Head of Management Services) and British Leyland (from the early 1970s). In 1987, he led an employee buy-out of Istel Ltd, which he had established as a subsidiary of British Leyland. In 1989, the company was subsequently taken over by AT&T and John was the Executive Chairman of AT&T Istel until April 1993.

In 1994, he was appointed Chairman of RM Plc, the leading provider of IT services to education, having joined the organisation as a Non-Executive Director in 1993. He has since overseen the company’s growing success, based on its unique combination of highly innovative – and educationally valuable – technology-based products, announcing his retirement only this year.

In 2006, John was awarded the prestigious Mountbatten Medal by the Institute of Engineering and Technology in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of electronics or information technology and their application. And, in 1998, he was awarded a CBE in Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to for services to training and development.

John’s longstanding association with the University of Warwick began in the early 1980’s when, during his time at Istel, he worked closely with the Warwick Manufacturing Group on a range of collaborative research and development projects in the automotive sector.

In 2001, he became Chairman of the newly established Board of the Warwick Business School, having previously served on the School’s Advisory Board, and he continued to lead the Board until he became Chair of the University Council in 2002. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Business School ever since and he himself became a Visiting Honorary Professor of the School in 2007.

Despite his busy professional life, John has continued to find time to give invaluable service to the University of Warwick at the highest level over many years – as a lay member of the University Council, from 1990 to 1996 and between 1997 and 2000, as Pro-Chancellor since 2000 and as Chair of Council since 2002, a post from which he retires this year.

As Chair of Council, John has also overseen the appointment of many senior members of the University’s staff, past and present, including my own appointment as Chancellor in 2009. And, under his stewardship, the University Council has driven a dynamic period of change, expansion and fierce ambition for the University of Warwick. Drawing on his prolific contacts and networks, John Leighfield has worked tirelessly for the good of this University, supporting social events, fundraising activities and new projects. His valuable insight, coupled with his sheer dedication to this institution, has ensured Warwick’s innovative, and sometimes radical, approach; it has resulted in the University’s bold strategy and indomitable style; and, ultimately, it has shaped the Warwick you know today.

Returning to the roots of John’s initial involvement with the University many years ago, in February 2010, the Queen formally presented the University of Warwick and Warwick Manufacturing Group with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. John was part of the small party who went to Buckingham Palace to receive this truly prestigious award from the Queen on behalf of the University - a wonderful example of just how far Warwick has come in its relatively short history, a history which, for a large part, has benefitted from John Leighfield’s energy and influence.

We at the University of Warwick have been truly honoured to have such a keen advocate and devoted supporter for over 30 years.

This oration was written by Sir Richard Lambert, Chancellor of the University of Warwick.

 

Sir Peter Moores, CBE: Hon DLitt (3.00pm ceremony on Wednesday, 20 July)

 

Sir Peter Moores is a philanthropist, some-times reluctant business leader, music and art lover who has developed a multitude of initiatives through the Peter Moores Foundation which have quite literally changed the lives of many people across the world.

Peter Moores was born in Lancashire and educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied Italian and German. He developed an early love of opera and left Oxford to study at the Vienna Academy for Music and the Dramatic Arts, simultaneously working as a production assistant with the Vienna State Opera. During this time he produced the Austrian premiere of Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia but eventually was persuaded to join his father's business, Littlewoods, in 1957, where he recognised he would be in a position to give more useful support to emerging artists than would ever have been possible had he remained, as it were, ‘at the stage door’. He started on the shop floor of Littlewoods, rising to become Chairman for three years between 1977 and 1980 and remaining a Director until 1993.

Sir Peter’s keen interest in the arts remained and it was through his passion for opera that his philanthropic work began. In his twenties Sir Peter identified and helped a number of young artists in the crucial, early stages of their careers, including Dame Joan Sutherland, Sir Colin Davis and Sir Geraint Evans.

He went on to set up the Peter Moores Foundation in 1964 when he was 32, in order to develop his charitable aims, not only in music and the visual arts, but also in education, health, youth, social and environmental projects. The Foundation’s guiding principle has always been to ‘get things done and to open doors for people.’

The Foundation has encouraged the introduction of new initiatives with ChildLine for the prevention of child abuse and has enabled HIV and AIDS projects throughout the UK. It has funded a bursary in fine art at the University of Ulster in Belfast and supported the Royal Yachting Association to build teams of young windsurfers. Substantial help has been given to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Development Trust, while through annual PMF Scholarships established in 1971, well over two hundred young singers have received practical support at the outset of their careers, enabling a significant number to become international opera stars. In 1994 a permanent Transatlantic Slave Trade Gallery, initiated by Sir Peter, opened at Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum with the aim of fostering discussion about the heritage and the true history of the Transatlantic slave trade. The success of the gallery led to the development of an International Slavery Museum which opened in 2007.

At Oxford, 20 years ago, Sir Peter led the way to establishing the first courses in business studies for undergraduates. More recently, he has endowed, through his Foundation, a lecturership in Chinese Business Studies at Oxford - so that young people are familiar with, and prepared to work positively with China’s developing role in world economics.

The Peter Moores Barbados Trust continues the work of the Foundation in the Eastern Caribbean. In 1995 a Chair of Tropical Horticulture at the University of the West Indies in Barbados was established, a position which is combined with that of Director of the Andromeda Gardens, one of the most important botanical gardens in the world.

Since Sir Peter banged on the doors of EMI in order to capture 'live' Wagner’s Ring Cycle, sung in English and conducted by the legendary Reginald Goodall at the London Coliseum, the Foundation has enabled well over 100 opera recordings to be produced: Chandos Records' Opera in English series - 'Opera that speaks your language' is now the largest recorded collection of operas sung in English while Opera Rara's recordings of rare bel canto operas have opened up an immensely rich repertory previously only accessible to scholars. In live performance, the Foundation has encouraged the creation of new work and schemes to attract new audiences, financed the publication of scores, especially for world stage premieres of modern operas, and enabled rarely heard works to be staged by British opera companies and festivals.

In 1993 the Foundation acquired Compton Verney, a derelict 18th century mansion in Warwickshire. The Compton Verney House Trust, a charity funded by the Foundation, was established to develop Compton Verney House into an art gallery of international standing where visitors (especially first-timers) could discover art in an informal and welcoming environment. Compton Verney houses permanent collections and temporary exhibitions as well as providing a wide range of educational activities. The History of Art Department at Warwick enjoys a close relationship with Compton Verney. Members of staff at Compton Verney have contributed to research seminars here while members of Warwick staff regularly deliver lectures to the public at Compton Verney and are presently engaged in the development of exhibitions that will take place at Compton Verney next year. For their part, Compton Verney also offers Warwick staff and students privileged access to its collections for the purposes of research and teaching, in addition to making internships and placements available to Warwick students.

Sir Peter’s public appointments have included: Governor of the BBC; Trustee of the ‘old’Tate Gallery and a Director of Scottish Opera. Sir Peter has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Italian Republic and a CBE in addition to receiving a Knighthood in the New Year's Honours List for 2003 in recognition of his charitable services to the arts. Sir Peter has said that his father instilled in him and his siblings “the notion that nothing of value is gained without hard work and there is nothing more valuable than sharing the fruits of your labours”. Through the Peter Moores Foundation, Sir Peter has created opportunities for people from many backgrounds and from across the globe to develop their potential, to engage in the world of arts for the first time, or to gain access to support that they might otherwise not have received. It is therefore with great pleasure that Warwick welcomes Sir Peter and recognises his significant achievements with an honorary degree.

This oration was written by Ms Sarah Shalgosky, Curator of the Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre

 

Mr Patrick Spottiswoode: Hon DLitt (11.00am ceremony on Thursday, 21 July)

 

Patrick Spottiswoode is the Director of Globe Education, the educational arm of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.

He read English and Theatre Studies at Warwick from 1978-81, beginning a lifelong engagement with Renaissance drama. In 1984 he joined Sam Wanamaker’s project to reconstruct the Globe, taking charge of its educational base the Bear Gardens Museum, and in 1989 he became the Founding Director of Globe Education.

His achievements there have transformed the relationship between teaching, learning and performance in this country.

Patrick Spottiswoode packs the Globe building with hundreds of young people daily, bringing Shakespeare’s language and imagination alive through practical workshops and creative play. Annually, over 100,000 school students participate in Globe Education events. Local primary schools take over the stage every year for the gloriously colourful ‘Our Theatre’ festival, presenting their own rich responses to Shakespeare. Since 2007, 55,000 14-16 year-olds have received free tickets for Globe Ed’s own productions: so far 68% of London secondary schools have been involved in the project; for 82% of those children, it’s their first live experience of Shakespeare, for many it’s their first encounter with theatre itself.

Students and teachers all round Britain have been touched by these productions through interactive web resources – and speaking of teachers, Patrick Spottiswoode trains teachers from across the UK and the world, has a full-time staff of 25, and a team of over seventy freelance practitioners – actors, directors, designers, choreographers – whose passion and talent are the keys that are opening up Shakespeare.

He and his team developed a new Shakespeare pedagogy for schools. He established practical, workshop-based activity as the most effective way of engaging children of all ages and backgrounds in Shakespeare - and of discovering through Shakespeare the experience of self-expression. This revolution has had an immense effect on the syllabus - and indeed on other major theatres, which have borrowed many of Globe Education's practices.

It’s a long way from the day in 1984 when Patrick Spottiswoode answered Sam Wanamaker’s advertisement for someone to run a museum, arts centre, and café - the Bear Gardens on Bankside SE1. Patrick soon discovered that the museum was a leaking warehouse, he’d have to start the arts centre with his own books, and the café consisted of a kettle. Few recall now that it seemed in the 1980s that rebuilding the Globe was an impossible dream, even an unwelcome one. It was an archaeological irrelevance, opponents said, or a scheme devised by property developers, or Disneyland-on-Thames. More than any other single factor, it was the educational work conceived and directed by Patrick Spottiswoode that dispelled this cynicism.

He reached out into some of Britain’s poorest communities and least privileged schools; he brought Shakespeare to life and in the process tens of thousands of young people discovered that Shakespeare’s language could help them be articulate, that Shakespeare’s stories illuminate their own. Today the Globe is a model for the ways that culture can regenerate the Inner City.

For Patrick Spottiswoode hasn’t just radicalised schoolroom Shakespeare. Whether working with inner-city teenagers on street crime through Romeo and Juliet or developing an historic multicultural project, ‘Shakespeare and Islam’, his brilliant team have made these plays a medium for understanding today’s society, and ourselves. And that’s still only part of the story: Patrick also brings actors and academics together - discovering practically how the Elizabethan stage operated, shedding light on the Renaissance world from Venice to Wittenberg, and launching a thirty-year project to stage and record readings of every surviving English play written between 1567 and 1642: ‘Read Not Dead’. He has revolutionised the teaching of theatre to everyone from three-year-olds to the postgraduates on the Globe’s MA programmes.

Sam Wanamaker once told Patrick Spottiswoode: “You gotta work locally. And you gotta work nationally. And you gotta work internationally.” He has. He brings students, teachers and actors from Europe, America and Australasia to learn the language of the Globe. He involves young people everywhere in the actors’ discoveries through the internet site Globelink where schemes like ‘Adopt an Actor’ create genuine evolving dialogues with each year’s theatre company.

He never stops. This year, the Sackler Studio opened in the shell of the Old Bear Gardens, providing purpose-built learning spaces – partly designed according to local children’s specifications. This year, the first of Globe Education’s new Shakespeare editions appeared (Macbeth), putting Globe insights and exercises at the disposal of schoolchildren everywhere. And this year, he launched his latest international scholarly project, investigating and celebrating how Shakespeare has been translated into over 90 languages.

John Dryden wrote of Shakespeare, ‘He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul.’ Patrick and Globe Education have done more than anyone else to prove it. They’ve fused the literary with the theatrical, the academic with the active, the highest artistic standards with a deep understanding of social need.

How, though? And how have they influenced the teaching of Shakespeare on three continents?

Patrick Spottiswood (English and Theatre Studies, 1981) is, in the strictest sense of the word, inspirational. I suspect he will be an inspiration to those of you graduating from Warwick today. After thirty years, it’s my pleasure and privilege to say to this Renaissance Man: ‘Welcome back!’ Or, to put it slightly more formally: ‘Mr. Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Council, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa, Patrick Spottiswoode.’

This oration was written by Professor Anthony Howard, Department of English & Comparative Studies.

 

Sir Michael Tomlinson, CBE: Hon DLitt (3.00pm ceremony on Thursday, 21 July)

 

It is an honour to be giving this oration for Sir Michael ‘Mike’ Tomlinson, who has been called the ‘safest pair of hands’ in education. Many of us in this room will have been touched or influenced by his distinguished career and the many contributions he has made in a life dedicated to ensuring that all children and young people have the opportunity to thrive and succeed at school.

His own grammar school education gave him an alternative to a life down a pit or in the steel industry in his home town of Rotherham and Sir Michael has said that: "Education proved to be the way out... I now realise how lucky I was’. It has been his life’s mission to try and take the ‘luck’ out of whether children educated in the state system, in particular, get the quality of education that they deserve and which will give them choices and a ‘way out’ in later life.

Sir Michael spent his early career in the classroom as a science teacher in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. He became a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools in 1978, becoming Deputy Director of school inspections when OfSTED was set up in 1992.

After the first Gulf War, he was involved in helping restore the education system in Kuwait. And in 1996, he led the team sent in to take over the running of the Ridings School in Halifax, then known as "the worst school in Britain". In 2000 Sir Michael was appointed Chief Inspector of Schools, a post which he held until his retirement in 2002.

During his time as Chief Inspector, Mike controversially steered OfSTED towards a less adversarial and confrontational relationship with schools and teaching unions. Whilst insisting that school inspections should be rigorous and robust, he also wanted to work with schools and to develop inspection criteria that were recognized and welcomed in the profession as well as by the wider school community and its stakeholders. His ethos was not to punish schools for their failings, but to work with them to improve standards for all children, particularly those in the most under-resourced and challenging circumstances. He wanted OfSTED to put an end to the lottery of the capacity of a local school to serve the needs of their children and to have high expectations of them. He also turned our attention to the importance of behaviour and attitudes and how these influence learning. He reminded parents in particular that education was a partnership in which they had a crucial role to play.

On retirement, he took on stewardship of the schools in Hackney and transformed education in this London borough. Once again there was national controversy as Mike first imagined and then established Academies to bring hope and improved standards for secondary pupils.

In 2003 he was appointed Chair of the Working Group to look into reform of the syllabus and qualifications structure for 14 to 19 years olds in England.

The subsequent Tomlinson Report, was typical of Sir Michael’s passion to combine high standards of education with a respect for vocational qualifications and a commitment to working towards a simplified qualification system that would reward children with a broad range of abilities and talents from across the socio-economic spectrum rather than favouring the few.

His vision of a more holistic and genuinely comprehensive approach to teaching and learning and a respect for the often different learning styles of young people from different backgrounds proved too radical a reform for the government of the day.

Undeterred, Sir Michael now gives his boundless energy and commitment to supporting and developing the RSA Opening Minds model of teaching and learning, which promotes innovative and integrated ways of thinking about education and the curriculum, and is based in the development of five key competences: Citizenship; Learning; Managing information; Relating to people and Managing situations. This competence-based approach enables students not just to acquire subject knowledge but to understand, use and apply it within the context of their wider learning and life.

Always ready to ‘walk the talk’ Sir Michael is now Chair of the new RSA Academy in Tipton here in the West Midlands. The Academy is playing a major role in the economic and social regeneration of the local area by providing young people with enriched opportunities for educational achievement and the acquisition of real world skills.

The University of Warwick is proud to be working with the RSA Academy. Our Registrar is a fellow governor and both the Institute of Education and the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning are actively involved in supporting and learning from the school.

In 1997, Sir Michael was awarded the CBE and was knighted in 2004. He lists his interests as gardening, fishing, reading, food and drink in Debretts, but it is, of course, for his avid love of cricket that he is better known. Sir Michael is enjoying a long innings and Mike you are to be commended for always having played life with a straight bat.

This oration was written by Professor Jonothan Neelands, Warwick Institute of Education.

 

Professor Stuart Palmer: Hon DSc (11.00am ceremony on Friday, 22 July)

 

Prof. Stuart Palmer is well known at Warwick for his many significant contributions to the University over more than twenty years. Stuart studied physics at Sheffield University gaining a BSc and PhD. His academic career started at the Physics Department at the University of Hull in 1967 on appointment as an assistant lecturer, then progressively being promoted Reader in 1981. Stuart’s initial research concerned low temperature physics to understand magnetic materials, where he brought to bear a wide range of physical techniques, including neutron scattering using world-leading facilities such as those in Grenoble, France. As part of research Stuart’s interest in ultrasound was initiated to determine magnetoelastic properties of what seemed thirty five years the rather exotic rare-earth elements. However these elements have become crucial in many common technologies such as mobile phones.

As often occurs as one becomes expert in a technique and really develops an understanding of that technique many other applications emerge. Ultrasound (sound with a frequency above 20 kHz) has found widespread application, for example many parents see their babies for the first time using ultrasound. Stuart’s seminal contribution to ultrasound was to use spectral analysis of reflected ultrasound, which provided the frequency dependence of the attenuation to detect the presence of ‘holes and gaps’ in solid materials. Also to this point a source of ultrasound was needed that was in contact with the object (a so called transducer), but Stuart and colleagues showed how lasers could be used as non-contact ultrasound sources opening up new ways of performing the experiment. Such technology can detect cracks and other defects in metals, for example being now routinely used for safety inspections on railway tracks. This work also challenged the view that bones simply reflect ultrasound and that the technique could not provide any useful information about bone. Stuart’s work provided the medical world with a new tool to understand bone and has become widely used to diagnose conditions such as osteoporosis (Stuart’s most read paper concerns predicting hip fracture in elderly women) and bone loss through inactivity. However probably the most lucrative application was to bone injuries in race horses! Stuart’s development of medical applications of ultrasound provides a case study of ‘relevance and impact’ of research, since it would probably have been hard to predict research with its genesis in determining magnetoelastic constants of rare-earth elements would end up producing a tool for medical science.

Stuart’s research legacy is captured in the more than 250 scientific papers he co-authored and more than 50 research students who earned their PhD under his supervision, many of whom have gone on to have highly successful research careers of their own. Recognition for his research has also come through his election as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2000 and the naming of an intercity train after him in recognition of the medical importance of his research.

Stuart arrived at Warwick in 1987 to become the Professor of Experimental Physics and became Head of the Physics Department in 1989, a role he played until 2001 seeing very significant development, such as the introduction of space plasma physics. This signalled the start of his career in senior management becoming the University’s first Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for Research in 1995 and then the senior PVC in 1999 with additional responsibility for resources. In 2001 Stuart was the inaugural Deputy Vice-Chancellor, a role he filled until 2009. The senior management roles have been central in developing and implementing University strategy, with headline activities such as leading the RAE 2001 and 2008 exercises which firmly cemented Warwick’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading research universities. Stuart has also led the University on two occasions as acting Vice-Chancellor. However it was behind the scenes through evolving the academic strategy, planning and resourcing processes that will be Stuart’s lasting legacy to Warwick. There is also the very human side, through the advice and counsel that Stuart has offered, especially to many Heads of Departments learning their trade, overseeing the appointment of many world-leading scholars to Warwick and his mentorship of colleagues. The fact that he was able to empathise with the wide range of disciplines well beyond his physical science roots had led to the warmth and regard he is held across the University and beyond.

Stuart’s reputation has led to him being asked to play roles at national level, for example forming the Russell Group PVCs for Research Group, being on a joint HEFCE-UUK task force developing RAE 2008, and currently chairing the HEFCE group on TRAC (to understand the real costs of running universities) as well as being the current Honorary Secretary of the Institute of Physics. Any citation for Stuart would be incomplete without mention of his wide range of interests beyond University life; flying, sailing, tennis and of course Derby County FC, but foremost his family. Despite a very busy life his family has been central to him with 3 children and 6 grand children (all boys) and of course his wife of 45 years Sue. Sue has been integral to Stuart’s life and she has been a stalwart supporter of both Stuart and Warwick and we pay tribute her as well.

This oration was written by Professor Mark Smith, Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

 

Baron Skidelsky of Tilton: Hon DLitt (3.00pm ceremony on Friday, 22 July)

 

I am honoured to present Robert Skidelsky, Lord Skidelsky of Tilton, for the award of an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding scholarship, most notably, his biography of the economist, John Maynard Keynes. Robert Skidelsky is one of the best-known academics to have taught here at Warwick where he is now Emeritus Professor of Political Economy.

Robert joined Warwick as Professor of International Studies in 1978, later moving to the Department of Economics as Professor of Political Economy in 1990. He was hired at a time when he was not viewed with favour by the academic history establishment which disapproved of his biography of Oswald Mosley (1975). He had been denied tenure at Johns Hopkins University and Oxford University had refused him a permanent post. Warwick’s imaginative gamble in making this appointment has been richly rewarded.

Robert Skidelsky’s academic fame and fortune comes primarily from his biography of Keynes, a massive endeavour which took a quarter of a century, and was published in three volumes. These are John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed, 1883-1920 (1983), John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour, 1920-1937 (1992) and John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946 (2000). I imagine that Robert feels relieved that Keynes died of a heart attack at the young age of 63 or he would probably even now be working away at volume 4.

Keynes was an economist but he was much more than that. The many facets of his life – academic, bureaucrat, civil servant, speculator, polemicist, and member of the “Bloomsbury Group” - provide rich material but, at the same time, pose an enormous challenge for a biographer. If you listen to “Great Lives” on Radio 4, you should be clear that Keynes was over-qualified and would be worth two or more programmes. There is general consensus that Skidelsky’s biography is a magnificent achievement. I can do no better than quote from Brad DeLong ‘s review essay in the Journal of Economic Literature (2002). DeLong says (p. 155):

“Skidelsky wrote with wit, charm, control, scope, and enthusiasm. You read these books and you knew Keynes – who he was, what he did, why what he did was important, and how he managed to live more different lives in one than the rest of us are granted”. This is “the finest biography of an economist that I have ever read, or that I expect ever to read”.

In terms of his intellectual upbringing, Robert is a historian not an economist and in his introduction to the third volume he writes about his book: “If [it] has rescued Keynes from the economists and placed him in the world of history, where he properly belongs, it will have achieved its aim” (2002, p.xxii). Yet, subsequently, in the context of the current economic crisis, he has turned very effectively to a mission to rescue Keynes for the economists. Here his major recent contribution is Keynes: the Return of the Master (2009) which is an indictment of what he sees as a discipline that has lost its way and a clarion call that a return to Keynes’s insights is required if economic policy is to be redeemed. This clearly runs the risk that he will now be disowned by the academic economics establishment - which would represent a notable double in one academic lifetime.

A willingness to entertain controversial views and not to tow the party line is what the concept of academic freedom is meant to protect – which is well worth remembering in these days of policy-based evidence. However, it is not necessarily the route to top in politics. Suffice it to say, that Robert once entertained political ambitions and has been a member of the Labour Party, the SDP, and the Conservatives (though not simultaneously). He is now a cross-bencher which is surely the right place for an independent thinker. Politics’ loss has been academe’s huge gain – with all due respect, being Chief Opposition Spokesman in the Lords for Culture surely had much less value-added than completing his magnum opus.

It is a great privilege to honour this outstanding scholar. Mr Chancellor, on behalf of the Council, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky.

This oration was written by Professor Nicholas Crafts, Department of Economics.