Skip to main content

Honorary Graduand Orations - Summer 2015

Professor Ada Yonath: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Monday, 13 July 2015)

The term 'world-leading' is much used. Perhaps we use it too much. Perhaps the term has become devalued. There are occasions, however, when someone's dedication, curiosity and ambition justifies such a plaudit. When someone's findings answer the questions of one generation, and influences the next. When someone leads the world to a greater understanding of a structure that exists in every living thing.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I welcome the world-leading crystallographer, Professor Ada Yonath, to today's degree congregation.

From her childhood in Jerusalem, through to her graduation from the Hebrew University, Professor Yonath demonstrated her eagerness to acquire knowledge. She went on to Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, where she earned a PhD in X-ray crystallographic studies on the stucture of collagen.

Fellowships followed, at both the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh and MIT, before Professor Yonath returned to the Weizmann Institute in 1970. On her arrival, she founded Israel's first biological crystallography laboratory.

By the end of the 1970s, Professor Yonath was ready for a new challenge. Could she uncover the process of protein biosynthesis? And, in order to achieve this aim, could she determine the three-dimensional structure of the ribosome?

She had not set herself the most straightforward of challenges.

The ribosome is a molecular structure found within all living cells. Its complexities have exercised the greatest scientific minds. Since the 1950s, scientists may have understood the function of the ribosome, but they had little idea about its structure or how it worked. Even Professor Yonath herself described her task as being like, ''climbing Mount Everest only to discover that a higher Everest stood in front of us.''

To achieve the improbable, Professor Yonath brought together an exceptional group of international collaborators. Beginning with Professor H.G. Whittmann of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Professor Yonath got to work. As time progressed, she saw a centre for macromolecular assemblies established at the Weizmann Institute.

By the start of the 1980s, significant progress had been made in establishing the structure of the intricate ribosome. Between the two facilities in Israel and Germany, Professor Yonath led the work that resulted in the first ribosome micro crystals. It was these crystals that helped improve understanding of a ribosome's structure. In turn, those crystals have also led to greater understanding of the actions of the most widely prescribed antibiotics. It is work that will help the world face up to one of its biggest battles: the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Deserved recognition for her efforts has come in many forms, including the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Albert Einstein World Award in Science and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Medal. Most notably of all, Professor Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry alongside Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz - the impact of their ribosome studies had now reached far beyond the laboratory.

Her research continues to nag away at boundaries. She's a Professor in the Department of Structural Biology and Director of the Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure - both are part of the Weizmann Institute in Israel. She continues to look deeply into the history of the ribosome, helping us to be better placed to prepare for our future.

There is certainly little doubt she is the world-leading expert in this vitally important field.

Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Professor Ada Yonath.

This oration was written by Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (People and Public Engagement)

Mr Mike Leigh: Hon DLitt (3:00pm ceremony on Monday, 13 July 2015)

For some fifty years, one filmmaker has vividly captured this country's idiosyncrasies in his theatre, film, and television work. He has created stars of some of our best known actors, and won very many plaudits. It is a true pleasure to introduce to today's degree congregation the writer and director Mike Leigh.

Mike was born 1943 in Salford. His interest in cinema and film initially led him to a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London in 1960 but he soon found himself drawn to writing and directing. By 1965, the fledgling writer-director had joined the London School of Film Technique, today’s London Film School, which he now serves as Chairman. This was a place that was already renowned for encouraging collaboration and individuality - two qualities that have remained critical to Mike's creative process. And this approach resulted in Mike's early theatre work, which included a tale of a woman caring for her sister, but quietly craving a more fulfilled life. The play, Bleak Moments, formed the basis for his first feature film in 1971.

In the following years, Mike created a string of well-received theatre and TV productions characterised by acute observations of family, class and social conventions. One of his most celebrated was Abigail's Party in 1977 - this comedy of manners struck a chord with the nation, and remains a popular window on 1970’s life. Other television included Hard Labour and Nuts in May and Meantime, the 1983 production starring Tim Roth, Phil Daniels and Gary Oldman.

The award winning High Hopes in 1988 marked Mike's full return to cinema screens. The satirical comedy about Thatcher's Britain proved a critical and commercial success and sparked a run of inspired, independent filmmaking that cemented his position as the UK's finest director.

The quirky comedy of Life is Sweet in 1990, the visceral Naked in 1993, the emotional family drama of Secrets and Lies in 1996 - all show his trademark improvisational style. All are shot through with realism and humour, yet all three are very different in tone.

Mike continued to create acclaimed films, including Topsy Turvy in 1999, the 2004 Vera Drake and in 2008 Happy Go Lucky. Only last year, he gained some of the best notices of his career for his biographical drama of the artist Turner.

It is no surprise that this body of work has attracted a host of awards. His films have received over 150 awards or nominations. There have been seven Oscar nominations. The Cannes Film Festival honoured him with the Palme d'Or for Secrets and Lies, and the Best Director prize for Naked. BAFTA awarded Mike with an Excellence in Directing award last year, and the BAFTA Fellowship this February.

Mike has longstanding connections with the Midlands, for he had a spell as resident assistant director at MAC Birmingham in the mid 60s, where his first play was staged, and also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.

And today we are delighted to provide him with another connection to our region. It is an honour for us to recognise his exceptional career in theatre, TV and film, which has earned him a special place in the nation's esteem.

Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Mike Leigh OBE.

This oration was written by Professor Simon Swain, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Arts & Social Sciences)

Mr Andrea Hirata: Hon DLitt (3:00pm ceremony on Monday, 13 July 2015)

Andrea Hirata once said: "Writing is a very risky way of making a living in Indonesia”. And yet, it is a path he pursued, comforted by the fact that if he failed a Plan B would materialise. And so he lived by the advice John Lennon once gave about career planning: “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans”.

We are honoured today to celebrate the achievements of a writer who, perhaps more than anyone else, has managed to present a prism into Indonesia’s rich culture, its society, and its extraordinary human potential. And who has succeeded not only in reflecting Indonesian society back to itself, but in inviting all of us to experience, through his work, the Indonesian every-day. Mr Vice Chancellor, I am honoured to introduce Andrea Hirata to today’s degree congregation.

The finest writers are skilled in taking their reader into a place that cannot easily be mapped. Andrea's home village, on the tiny island of Belitung, can be considered such a place - as Andrea himself says about Belitung, "most of the time it doesn't appear on the map."

Andrea was born in the village of Gantung. It was where his education began, and it was that education that inspired his literary career.

The school Andrea attended may not seem obviously inspirational. It lacked a toilet. Its roof was so leaky, there were times the pupils would have to learn under an umbrella. One of its teachers was a 15 year old.

Despite this, and despite the poverty that restricted educational opportunities on the island, Andrea and his schoolfriends were inspired. They became known as Laskar Pelangi or The Rainbow Troops, which subsequently became the title of Andrea's first novel.

The book provided an accessible, yet evocative insight into Andrea's school years. It chronicled the challenges that The Rainbow Troops faced up to, whether it was from a powerful tin-mining company or the crocodiles that lurked on the way into class. The book tells us about the inspiration, creativity and desire to which education can inspire. It tells us about the power of humanity, kindness and wisdom that transforms teachers into educators. It speaks of the transformational power of education irrespective of class, profession or gender. And it is about what makes us human; our parents who will do anything just to see us succeed; our first love that is total, absolute and all consuming; and the challenges and triumphs of the every-day that make our life so worth living. This is a book about Indonesia. And at the same time it is a book about all of us.

Born of inspiration, the book went on to encourage others too. Over five million copies of The Rainbow Troops have been sold, making Andrea the all-time best-selling writer in Indonesia. The film of the book has been similarly popular - it is now the most-viewed Indonesian film. The story has been embraced by Indonesian people, and persuaded the world to pay closer attention to Indonesian literature.

The book is widely read in Indonesian schools. The island of Belitung itself now has a new source of employment thanks to a growing tourism industry. And this true story of an impoverished island school has been published in more than 120 countries, and into 34 different languages.

What further impresses is how Andrea's work - which stretches into further novels and short stories - has allowed him to give so much back. In 2010, he founded Indonesia's first literary museum, aiming to encourage further reading in Belitung. He's also collaborated with other international authors, such as Matteo Pericoli, for his book: Windows On The World Project, 50 Writers, 50 Views.

He gave back to his 15 year old teacher too, who helped keep his school open against overwhelming odds. He promised to write a book dedicated to Bu Mus, Ibu Musilmah. The Rainbow Troops was that book.

We welcome Andrea back to the UK today - he previously studied at Sheffield Hallam University. Today, it is the University of Warwick that is proud to honour an author who took a risk that truly paid off.

Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Andrea Hirata.

This oration was written by Professor Jan Palmowski, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PG and Transnational Education)

Professor Chan Heng Chee: Hon LLD (11:00am ceremony on Tuesday, 14 July 2015)

Warwick is a place that encourages people to challenge. We challenge each other. We challenge convention. It's an approach that's served us well over the last half-century, and helped our students become work- and world ready.

Our guest today also found academia allowed her to pose difficult questions, and do so in a fashion that impressed even those whose policies she criticised. In her consequent role as ambassador, she excelled in balancing the priorities and views of opposing nations. In her continuing academic work, she is asking the questions that need to be answered by the world's biggest cities.

For these reasons, and many more besides, it is enormously pleasing to welcome Professor Chan Heng Chee to today's degree congregation.

Professor Chan was born in the early 1940s. By the '60s, she had begun her higher education studies at what is now the National University of Singapore. The first of a number of firsts achieved by Professor Chan took place: no other woman had graduated from the university with a top honours degree in political science.

A Master's from Cornell University followed. A return to the University of Singapore allowed Professor Chan to pursue a doctorate, but she was to spend many more years on its campus – initially as a lecturer and then as the first female head of the Department of Political Science.

With this background, it's unsurprising Professor Chan had committed some weighty political views to print. For some time, she had been considered overtly critical of the Singaporean government policies. Professor Heng Chee herself thought she was "a bit of a dissident" and "anti-establishment" during her younger academic years.

It was that same establishment which provided Professor Chan with another first: Singapore's first female ambassador. This latest landmark arose following her 1989 appointment as Singapore's permanent representative to the United Nations.

An exemplary diplomatic career had begun. In 1996, she became Singapore's ambasssador to the United States. She soon worked on improving relations between the two countries, which had soured after an American was caned for committing vandalism.

During her tenure, Professor Chan oversaw dramatic diplomatic improvements, including agreements on trade, defence and security. Her achievements included the signing of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) in 2003, and the Strategic Framework Agreement in 2005.

Professor Chan has fully earned the mass of awards she's picked up over her career.

The list includes the Inaugural International Woman of the Year Award from the Organisation of Chinese American Women. She received the Distinguished Service Order from the Government of Singapore. She was awarded another first, in the guise of Singapore’s first "Woman of the Year" by Her World magazine.

Such accolades would be welcome at the end of any prestigious career... but Professor Chan's career continues apace.

She is Ambassador-at-Large with the Singapore Foreign Ministry and Singapore’s Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. She chairs the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities in the Singapore University of Technology and Design. She is also Chairman of the National Arts Council and a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights. Recently, she was appointed to the International Advisory Group of the MIT Center for Advance Urbanism.

Professor Chan is an enormously respected figure. She is revered for her contributions to Singapore. Her opinions are sought by individuals and organisations across the globe. Her considerable achievements represent an enormous challenge for anyone to emulate.

Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Professor Chan Heng Chee.

This oration was written by Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (People and Public Engagement)

Professor Anthony Cheetham: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Tuesday, 14 July 2015)

Vice-Chancellor, ladies and gentleman, graduands and graduates.

I am delighted to introduce one of the world’s outstanding materials scientists, Professor Tony Cheetham. His sustained academic creativity has led to ground-breaking innovations in materials chemistry that have formed the basis of global research efforts.

His research explores novel inorganic and hybrid materials and their applications including separations, magnetism and optoelectronics. He has combined his research with a passionate commitment to science that culminated with appointment in 2012 as Treasurer and Vice President of The Royal Society, a fellowship of the world's most eminent scientists.

Professor Cheetham was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford in 1971 for his research into the structures of non-stoichiometric compounds, joining the Chemistry faculty there in 1974. His research focussed on structural characterisation of new materials by powder diffraction, utilised neutrons and synchrotron X-rays. The efficacy of these two approaches was demonstrated in two important papers published in the journal Nature and has become routine in many areas of chemistry, from novel inorganic materials to pharmaceuticals. In parallel with his research he provided professional service to the community through numerous committees of the Science and Engineering Research Council and of national and European research facilities.

In 1991, he moved to the University of California at Santa Barbara as Professor of Materials and Chemistry and Director of the new Materials Research Laboratory. His research into zeolite focussed on his belief that it should be possible to create shape-selective catalysts based upon fundamentally different materials. This led to his discovery of an important new class of materials based on nickel phosphates and his definitive 1999 publication on open framework inorganic materials which has achieved over 2,000 citations. In parallel he served on the advisory committees of US national laboratories including Argonne, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge.

Professor Cheetham returned to the UK in 2007 as Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge. Here, his functional inorganic and hybrid materials research group is focussed on the synthesis of novel phases and their chemical and structural characterisation. This includes metal-organic framework materials, which exhibit the functionality of both inorganic and organic materials, new light conversion materials for solid-state lighting and complex rare earth oxides for optical applications. In parallel he has served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of research institutes and companies in the UK and internationally and is a member of the Council of the Royal Society and chairs its Enterprise Board.

He has been instrumental in scientific capacity building in the developing world which was recognised through the Fellowship awarded by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. His activities include organising workshops, conferences and winter schools in countries including Argentina, Brazil, China, Chile, India, Morocco, South Africa, Thailand, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Vietnam. He has been central to developing research excellence in India, visiting over 50 times, including winter schools for young scientists and International Scientific Advisory Boards, and was awarded the Raman Chair of the Indian Academy of Sciences. Since 2007 he has been the Science Advisor to His Highness Sheikh Saud, Ruler of Ras al Khaimah and member of the Supreme Council of the UAE. In 2008 he created the Ras al Khaimah Centre for Advanced Materials and in 2013 the Sheikh Saqr Laboratory in Bangalore.

In 2014, he co-chaired with Professor C N R Rao FRS in Bangalore the first Commonwealth Science Conference in almost 50 years. The ground-breaking conference, which brought together over 300 invited leading scientists and 70 PhD students from 30 countries was opened by the President of India and with a message from Her Majesty the Queen delivered by the Duke of York. The Conference celebrated excellence in Commonwealth science which represents 12% of global researchers, with a focus on less developed countries where the biggest challenge is access to state of the art instrumentation. Plans are being developed to hold a second Conference in 2017 together with initiatives to encourage young scientists in developing countries.

His sustained research output has included around 600 publications in refereed academic journals with over 30,000 citations over five decades, together with several books and patents. International keynote lectures include the Rutherford Memorial Lectures (Pretoria and Cape Town) and Staudinger-Durrer Lecture (Zurich). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of awards including the Royal Society Leverhulme Medal; the Platinum Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining; the Nyholm Prize for Inorganic Chemistry and a Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists.

Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Council, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Anthony Kevin Cheetham.

This oration was written by Professor Lord Kumar Battacharyya, Warwick Manufacturing Group

Mr Krishnan Guru-Murthy: Hon DLitt (3:00pm ceremony on Tuesday, 14 July 2015)

TV news presenters hold a peculiar place in the nation's hearts. More often than not, they are the archetypal bringers of bad news. They wrestle the real world back into your living room, moments after you've enjoyed the latest mishaps of Homer Simpson. They are serious and soberly-dressed...garish ties notwithstanding.

And yet: our news broadcasters are a beloved breed. The best will enjoy lengthy careers in front of the camera, engaging audiences with their professionalism, gravitas and integrity. Viewers trust in those news anchors to tell the truth. They expect their broadcast journalists to expertly hold public figures to account.

Our guest today is a perfect representative of this distinctive breed. His career has spanned across government administrations. He has interviewed prime ministers and chancellors. He has been a Channel 4 News anchor for 17 years and counting, covering the defining events of our time. Throughout that time, he's retained an ethos of scepticism, humour...even mischief.

I am very pleased to introduce Krishnan Guru-Murthy to today's degree congregation.

Krishnan was born in Liverpool, in 1970. His childhood days were spent in Lancashire before his academic career took him to Hertford College at the University of Oxford. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

The themes that Krishnan studied were to serve him well throughout his TV career. This began at the BBC, on the discussion programme Open to Question and the current affairs programme Reportage. These early shows featured elements that continue to resonate in Krishan's work today - bringing accessible news content to a younger audience for example. Or providing an independent viewpoint to current affairs.

Krishnan continued to progress at the BBC, as he took on presenting duties on Asian current affairs programmes East and Network East. Newsround then called upon Krishnan's talents. For three years in the early Nineties, he presented and reported on the legendary children's news programme.

As the years progressed, Krishnan moved beyond the watershed as a producer and reporter for BBC2's Newsnight. Another broadcaster, LBC, invited him to present his own weekly programme. And, by 1997, he became one of the launch presenters of BBC News 24, the corporation's rolling news channel.

He began his ongoing tenure at Channel 4 in 1998, with only Jon Snow having spent more time in front of the lens. And, as you'd expect from such a prominent, extended career, his calm delivery has accompanied the epochal news events of our times - from 9/11 to 7/7, from Iraq to Afghanistan.

When opportunity has allowed, Krishnan and the news team have been fearless enough to take a more irreverent approach. Certainly Krishnan and Jon were the only news anchors to mark the death of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman by playing chess at the programme's end.

Irreverence.

The willingness to take a risk.

A devotion to making news and current affairs accessible.

These are the attributes that make Krishnan a hugely popular news journalist. They are the attributes that have encouraged us to recognise this exceptional broadcaster.

Provost, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

This oration was written by Professor Chris Hughes, Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor Richard Schoen: Hon DSc (3:00pm ceremony on Tuesday, 14 July 2015)

Richard Melvin Schoen, or Rick, as he is more popularly known, is a distinguished mathematician, an inspiring teacher, and above all, a great person.

Rick works in what has become known as geometric analysis, which involves the study of curved spaces through partial differential equations. Mathematically, Einstein's general theory of relativity consists of a set of partial differential equations which describe how the distribution and movement of matter and energy in the universe determine its curvature. In a joint work with Yau, Rick has proved the positive mass theorem, an achievement that was a watershed for the mathematical development of general relativity. Rick was awarded the Bôcher prize for his solution of the Yamabe problem; only 34 mathematicians have received this prize from the American Mathematical Society over the past 94 years. More recently, he has solved, together with Brendle, the differentiable sphere theorem which challenged differential geometers for the preceding 60 years. He has made fundamental contributions to harmonic map theory (relevant to the mathematical description of liquid crystals) and to the study of surfaces of least area (which model soap films).

But Rick is much more than a problem solver. He is one of those rare mathematicians who has a deep vision for the subject. Yau, a Fields medallist (mathematical equivalent of Nobel prize winner), describes Rick as "the major engine for the great success and development of geometric analysis in the last forty years".

Rick is a gifted teacher. In his lectures, he presents complex ideas and calculations with ease, making them all seem natural and accessible. I was very fortunate to be his first PhD student at the Courant Institute in New York and, since then, he has had 37 more students and more than 110 descendants, three of whom are here today. More are on the way. Rick is amazingly creative, a quality that is rarely attributed to scientists and mathematicians. When you discuss a mathematical problem with Rick, he always makes constructive suggestions on how to sharpen an idea or replace it by a more fruitful approach. Through this generosity with his mathematical insight and wisdom, he attracts a constant stream of visitors and he has been an invaluable mentor to several postdoctoral researchers. He has created a school of geometric analysts, a world-wide community that includes preeminent scholars who hold leading positions at some of the world’s finest universities.

Rick is a beacon of widening participation: he grew up on a farm in Fort Recovery, Ohio. He was the tenth child in a family of thirteen! He knows well the rigours of farming life, waking up early in the morning to help with farm duties before going to school. He did his undergraduate studies at his local University of Dayton. There, he excelled in Mathematics and he won a National Science Foundation Fellowship to pursue his PhD studies at Stanford University under the direction of S.-T. Yau and Leon Simon. Since then, Rick has had a highly successful mathematical career. He has held positions at the Courant Institute, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego before returning to Stanford as Professor in 1987. He spent a year as a distinguished Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and he served as chair of the Stanford mathematics department for three years. He is currently the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Humanities and Sciences. He also holds a distinguished professorship at UC Irvine. This success has been achieved through very hard work. Rick never tells his students to work hard but, seeing him working in his office most of the day, including weekends, we all got the message of the effort and perseverance required to succeed. However, he also finds time for sport. He was a keen baseball player and he currently also enjoys playing tennis. Rick once asked me to join him running; there was no way I could keep up with him and I gave up in less than a minute!

Rick is a connoisseur of mathematics. His mathematical vision and his discernment of fine mathematics is admired and appreciated by everyone. No surprise then, that Rick serves on many committees. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications and on the Fachbeirat of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitation in Golm, Germany. Currently, he is Scientific Adviser to a big project in geometric analysis here at Warwick.

Rick's prominence in mathematics has been recognised in many ways. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been the recipient of prestigious fellowships. The International Congress of Mathematics is held once every four years --- in the same year as the World Cup, but not as widely televised --- and it is always a great honour for a mathematician to be invited to speak at a Congress. Rick has been a speaker at three International Congresses, including twice as a plenary speaker.

The Schoen mathematical family will be celebrating Rick's 65th birthday with two conferences. One will start tomorrow at Imperial College and it will provide Rick's students with an opportunity to thank him for his generosity, his guidance and his unfailing support. The other will be held here at Warwick next week. This will honour Rick for his deep and permanent impact on mathematics; Rick's contributions, like those of Gauss, Riemann and Einstein --- pioneers of differential geometry and general relativity --- will still be taught centuries from now.

Provost, it is an honour and a great personal pleasure for me, on behalf of the Senate, to present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Professor Richard Melvin Schoen.

This oration was written by Dr Mario Micallef, Mathematics Institute

Mr John Cridland: Hon LLD (11:00am ceremony on Wednesday, 15 July 2015)

John Cridland has “boldly” gone “where no man has gone before”. A self-confessed fan of ‘Star Trek’, he has been the first Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry – or CBI – to have risen up through its ranks. I am proud to introduce John Cridland to today’s degree congregation.

John was born in 1961 and hails from Boston in Lincolnshire. From his farming background, his education took him first to Boston Grammar School, and then to read History at Christ's College Cambridge.

From university, John joined the organisation he has more recently described as “a special place”. He initially joined the CBI as a policy adviser in 1982. By 1991, he had become its youngest ever director, when he took on its environmental affairs portfolio.

He continued to move through the ranks, joining the Human Resources Policy team in 1995. His major achievements here included the negotiation on the UK’s first national minimum wage and entry into the European Union’s 'social chapter' on employment.

He moved into the role of Deputy Director-General of the CBI and, after 10 years of serving in this post, he became the 10th Director-General of the CBI. Whilst at the CBI he also served a number of other bodies to excellent effect. He was a member of the Low Pay Commission for 10 years. He has also been Vice-Chairman of the National Learning and Skills Council, and on the council for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. His dedication to business rightfully earned John a CBE in 2006.

Over such an extensive career, John has proved a constant through the good times as well as the bad. This is evident even just for the past five years, during his term of office as Director-General; a period that began in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis, as the new Coalition government launched unprecedented spending cuts; and which ends with a firm timetable on Britain’s membership of the EU, a decision of fundamental importance to British industry however one looks at it.

Representing such a vast organisation with such a wide range of members requires careful judgement, rigorous analysis, and endless tact. It is the mastery of these skills that has made his stewardship at the helm of the CBI so effective. During the last general elections, he was fearless in speaking up against any election promise that was opposed to the interest of his members. But he was also prominent, over the past five years, in public debates in his determination to bring clarity and honesty into debates about migration, never shying away of speaking truth to power. John Cridland has spoken up repeatedly on the significance of infrastructure spending for the good of the economy. And he has been resolute in admonishing government and industry to increase spending on Research and Development, spending that is so critical if the UK is to succeed in the global knowledge economy.

And indeed, John Cridland has been passionate about education, advocating a personalised system of education that would see the abolition of GCSEs, towards a greater focus on vocational education. Thus, he argued that we need to re-think how we define rigour, noting that it can include vocational as well as academic skills. It is an argument that he might have led with a quotation from one of his heroes, Mr Spock, who eschewed just living by intellect alone, noting that: ‘Creativity is necessary for the health of the human body’.

Provost, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, John Cridland CBE.

This oration was written by Professor Jan Palmowski, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PG and Transnational Education)

Sir Michael Barber: Hon LLD (3:00pm ceremony on Wednesday, 15 July 2015)

Provost,

Everyone has a view on education. Whether the concerns are around access, or reform, or performance, education is a topic that inspires more international debate than arguably any other.

So, everyone may well have a view on education. But not everyone can convincingly claim to be a preeminent expert. Not for an issue of such intense complexity.

There is an individual we are honouring at today's congregation whose understanding of education systems arguably makes him that preeminent expert. He is a leading authority on education reform and, for over two decades, his research and advisory work has provided vital insight for both government and business.

This person is the educationist Sir Michael Barber. While he had every desire to attend today’s degree congregation and sends his sincerest apologies, for unforeseen and exceptional circumstances, he has not been able to join us; however, his contributions we still very much wish to communicate to you today.

Sir Michael was born in Liverpool, in 1955. He attended a Quaker boarding school before going on to the University of Oxford to study History.

His passion for education took him into schools here and much further afield - Zimbabwe, to be exact. On his return, he joined the education department of the National Union of Teachers.

By the early Nineties, Sir Michael had rejoined the world of higher education, with a Professorship at Keele University. He later became a Professor for the Institute of Education at the University of London.

Sir Michael's ability and reputation made him an attractive asset to Tony Blair's Labour administration. In 1997, Sir Michael was appointed Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards. He took on a role of even greater influence in Blair’s second government – during his tenure as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, he reported directly to the country’s leader. He also assumed responsibility for delivering major overhauls of the public education system.

The concept of the Delivery Unit, espoused by Sir Michael, proved an effective mechanism for implementing government policy. Indeed, Sir Michael’s book Instruction to Deliver provides a fascinating insight into how the Unit impacted on government culture.

Sir Michael left government to join McKinsey & Company, bolstering the management consultancy’s global education practice. He co-authored two influential McKinsey education reports: How the World’s Best-Performing Schools Come Out on Top in 2007, and How the World’s Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better in 2010.

Sir Michael then joined Pearson in 2011, where he remains today as its Chief Education Advisor. He leads Pearson’s ambitious worldwide programme of research into education policy and efficacy. He also plays a vital role in Pearson’s strategy for education in the poorest sectors of the world.

Last year, we were honoured to have Sir Michael deliver one of our Distinguished Lecture series. As you would hope from such a prominent figure, he delivered a provocative, enlightening lecture entitled ‘Getting Every Child into School and Learning: Why Wait?’ No doubt he will continue to provoke debate in the global education arena, and will continue to be the preeminent authority in this field.

There is no more deserving an individual for the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, than Sir Michael Barber. Provost, Congregation, I would like to request, despite his not being able to be here today, that we still show our appreciation for Sir Michael’s significant contributions.

This oration was written by Professor Simon Swain, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Arts & Social Sciences)

Mr Antonio Horta-Osorio: Hon LLD (11:00am ceremony on Thursday, 16 July 2015)

It is difficult to articulate the importance of the Lloyds Banking Group to the UK. I am, however, able to quote one person, who clearly grasped the business’s significance to Britain. He stated he was, “conscious of the vitally important role the Group plays in the UK’s social and economic fabric.”

That person was to become the next Chief Executive of the company. And, despite ongoing economic turbulence in European markets, he has brought considerable stability back to Lloyds.

I would like to welcome Antonio Horta-Osorio, the Lloyds Chief Executive, to today’s degree congregation.

Antonio was born in Lisbon, Portugal. It was where he first tested his commercial acumen by reading Management and Business Administration at the Catholic University of Portugal.

He moved on to INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, where as well as earning an MBA, he was also the recipient of the Henry Ford II prize for being the best student in his year.

After completing an Advanced Management Programme at the Harvard Business School, Antonio embarked on what was to become a flourishing career in global finance.

He joined Citibank Portugal, becoming head of Capital Markets, and this was followed by a period in New York with Goldman Sachs. He was then enticed back to Portugal, to help establish and lead Banco Santander de Negocios.

Antonio went on to hold a number of senior positions within Santander: CEO of Banco Santander Brazil; CEO, and then Chairman, of Santander Totta in Portugal; Vice-President of Banco Santander in Spain.

He then moved to the UK becoming CEO of Abbey National and of its successor – Santander UK – and he was the driving force behind the integration of the Bradford and Bingley, and Alliance and Leicester building societies.

His has been a banking career that continued to thrive, in spite of an industry facing a paralysing crisis……which brings us back to Lloyds.

After the bailout of 2008, the Lloyds Banking Group was in a perilous position. Deeply in debt. Over-extended. A crumbling symbol of mismanagement.

Under Antonio’s leadership, Lloyds has dramatically improved its status. Its share price has rebounded. Its debt has stabilised. And, the brand is steadily regaining the nation’s trust.

Antonio’s influence is without doubt a key factor in this turnaround, however here at Warwick, we equally admire him for backing students facing unfavourable circumstances of their own.

As a driving force behind the Lloyds Scholars Programme, Antonio has facilitated a ground-breaking initiative that supports students from lower income backgrounds. Warwick has proudly backed this programme, which provides an exemplary package of funding, commercial experience and personal development. This year, we’ve been rewarded with the sight of our first cohort of Lloyds Scholars graduating.

For this, and for his considerable achievements within the banking industry, we’re privileged to honour this business leader who really has immersed himself within the UK’s social and economic fabric.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Mr Antonio Horta-Osorio.

This oration was written by Professor Tim Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science, Engineering & Medicine)

Professor Harald zur Hausen: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Thursday, 16 July 2015)

Professor Harald zur Hausen received the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 2008 for his discovery of human papillomaviruses causing cervical cancer. This was the culmination of over 40 years of work driven by his unswerving determination to identify infectious causes of human cancer. Professor zur Hausen’s work has not only confirmed that certain viruses can cause cancer but has resulted in practical applications – the most significant of which is the development of a prophylactic vaccine against the cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus which is now in widespread use across the world.

Harald’s intense interest in science started at an early age – as a child he was fascinated by biology with a particular passion for animals and flowers. Although he considered studying biology at University, he decided on the more practical subject of Medicine which he studied at the Universities of Bonn, Hamburg and Düsseldorf receiving his MD in 1960. His fascination with experimental science led to work on virus-induced chromosomal changes and to more concerted training in diagnostic microbiology.

It was during this time that he became aware of the need to extend his scientific education and so he took a postdoctoral position with Werner and Gertrude Henle at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was 1966 and the Henle laboratory was probably the best in the world at that time for studying novel diagnostic approaches to virus infection. It was here that Harald became fascinated with a recently discovered virus linked to human cancer – the Epstein-Barr virus or EBV. He also recognised the need to learn and develop the newly emerging technology of molecular biology to fully understand the association of this virus with cancer.

Harald returned to Germany in 1968 to head the newly established Institute for Virology at the University of Würzburg. He continued to focus on EBV and used his newly acquired molecular biology expertise to demonstrate that this virus was present in the tumour cells of both Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

His appointment in 1972 as Chairman and Professor of Virology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg led to a change of scientific direction. Cervical cancer had long been suspected of being caused by an infectious agent and many candidate viruses had been implicated. Harald knew that many anecdotal reports had previously described the malignant conversion of genital warts into cervical cancers and that genital warts contained large amounts of a small DNA virus called papillomavirus. Armed with the molecular biology techniques he had developed for studying EBV, Harald confirmed the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in genital warts and determined that this virus was not a single entity, but part of a large family of different HPV types. This work subsequently led to the cloning of different HPV types and the discovery that certain virus types, namely HPV16 and HPV18, were consistently associated with cervical cancer. We now know that there are over 200 different HPV types and that high risk HPV types, like HPV16 and HPV18, are responsible for over 99% of all cervical cancers. So HPV infection accounts for over 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer each year and more than 270,000 deaths – predominantly in less developed countries.

Harald continued to make many significant discoveries on the mechanisms responsible for HPV’s ability to cause cancer and from 1983 until 2003 was Scientific Director of German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. In his so-called retirement he continues to run a laboratory in Heidelberg devoted to identifying new viruses associated with human cancer. In the meantime, HPV infection has been confirmed as being involved in the development of other cancers including head and neck tumours, and HPV vaccine programmes for young girls have been implemented in many countries across the world.

Harald’s contribution has been recognised by many national and international awards including the Charles S Mott Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the Life Science Achievement Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, the German Special Order of Merit with Star. And, as stated earlier, he received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008. Harald has also received many honorary degrees including awards from the Universities of Chicago and Melbourne.

A few years ago Harald was asked what advice he would offer to up-and-coming researchers. His response was typically frank and focussed – work hard, do not believe in dogma-like statements, and try to develop original ideas. Harald’s life and contribution is a testament to these guiding principles. His tenacity and commitment has made a real difference to the health of the world.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Professor Harald zur Hausen.

This oration was written by Professor Lawrence Young, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning and Resources)

Ms Jane Platt: Hon LLD (3:00pm ceremony on Thursday, 16 July 2015)

I am delighted to welcome to today’s degree congregation a female pioneer in what remains the predominantly male world of banking – Jane Platt CBE, the Chief Executive of National Savings and Investments. Jane is testimony to how an early formative experience creates the determination to succeed in such a world. As a ten year old growing up in Liverpool she overheard her father say if he’d had a son, he wouldn’t be selling his business. That’s when Jane decided to show him that she could run a company.

She worked hard to achieve this ambition. She was educated at Birkenhead High School for Girls, and found the experience pivotal to her prospects. As she has said, “At school you were selected on ability regardless of background. It was a very competitive, intellectually stimulating environment where everyone was expected to succeed.”

And succeed she did, progressing to St Catherine’s College Oxford to study Modern Languages. London Business School followed and, backed by her strong academic achievements, she eventually moved into pension funds at Mercury Asset Management.

She then joined Barclays, ultimately becoming chief executive of Barclays Stockbrokers and Barclays Bank Trust Company. An approach by Reuters proved persuasive, seeing Jane appointed President of Reuters’s global Services for Asset Managers division.

The next career move remains the last entry on the CV. Jane was recruited as Chief Executive of National Savings and Investments in 2006. Interestingly at the NS&I, it appeared the greatest challenge immediately facing Jane was the migration of savers’ records onto state-of-the-art systems.

Then the financial crash took hold.

The reputation of NS&I made it an attractive, safe option for thousands of nervous savers. Jane guided her organisation to manage an unprecedented influx of funds – in the last three months of 2008 alone, double the normal amount of funds were flowing into the NS&I.

Today, the company best known for its millionaire-creating Premium Bonds, now looks after over £110bn for over 25 million customers. Its financial products are providing banks and building societies with food for thought: for example, this year saw the successful launch of £10bn new one and three year bonds for those aged 65 and over. This rated as the largest UK retail savings product launch in peacetime.

Jane has long been regarded as one of the UK finance industry’s most respected leaders. She became non-executive director of the Financial Conduct Authority in 2013, the year she was also awarded a CBE for her contribution to financial services. And she has never forgot the importance of challenging gender stereotypes. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Women in Banking and Finance, and the first female Master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers.

It is remarkable to think a venerable institution like NS&I is potentially making its greatest impact in its 154th year.

What is equally remarkable?

The leader that is overseeing that impact.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Ms Jane Platt CBE.

This oration was written by Professor Christina Hughes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning)

Mr Roly Keating: Hon DLitt (3:00pm ceremony on Thursday, 16 July 2015)

“Stop worrying about whether libraries will survive the digital age, as they could outlast the Internet.

Our belief, passionately, at the British Library, is that it is about traditional values: trust, provenance, freedom of search and expression, together with new values such as openness, connected and the virtual.”

These striking thoughts are from Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, and I am delighted to present Roly to this congregation.

The thoughts reflect a theme of Roly’s career, that of maintaining continuity with the past whilst evolving services through the disruption of digital revolutions.

Although we may not realise it, Roly has touched and enriched many of our lives.

Prior to joining the British Library he had a long and successful career with the BBC. He was a major influence in introducing digital channels in the 1990s, then Web and on-demand delivery in the 2000s, undertaking a wide range of roles from the editing room to Controller of Channels to Director of Archive Content. In this last role he led the BBC’s strategy to increase digital access to its vast programme library through services such as the BBC iPlayer.

During this period he developed what became a vibrant portfolio of digital broadcasting. At the same time he retained the strength of ‘the Beeb’s’ traditional broadcasting offer.

A striking achievement was his launch in 2002 of a new channel - BBC4 – which flourished as ‘a place to think’ in the digital television landscape. As BBC4 Controller, Roly also set the channel’s strategy and programming mix. He demonstrated a willingness to confront hard choices by including as a principle contentious viewing such as The Falklands Play and The Alan Clark Diaries. The channel won numerous awards, becoming a template for new and original programming.

As new Controller of BBC2 in 2004, Roly rejuvenated the channel by launching a raft of successful series and one-off programmes. Again not avoiding controversy, he took the courageous decision to screen Jerry Springer: The Opera. This occasioned over 60,000 complaints, personal security protection, and the establishment of an important legal ruling on free speech in broadcasting. He also brought to our screens iconic programmes such as The Culture Show, Who Do You Think You Are, Later with Jools Holland, Springwatch, The Hairy Bikers, Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice, to name but a few.

In 2009 Roly also became a Board Member of London’s Barbican Arts Centre and a Trustee of Turner Contemporary in Margate, an ambitious project to support the regeneration of Margate and East Kent with a major new cultural centre.

In 2012 he left the BBC to join the British Library as Chief Executive, and has since then overseen a number of major projects.

One of these is an historic move to large-scale digital collecting. For the first time, the British Library now undertakes the massive task of archiving the UK's non-print publications such as Web sites, blogs, electronic journals and CDs, thus storing and preserving the nation's digital as well as its print memory.

To quote from Roly’s Introduction to ‘Living Knowledge’, his strategic vision for the British Library that maps out developments up to its 50th birthday in 2023:

“…what follows is an ambitious prospectus for growth and continued development, driven by a vision of the British Library in 2023 as the most open, creative and innovative institution of its kind in the world”.

This is an inspiring statement of intent, consonant with this University’s own drive and ambitions.

Roly is already part of the Warwick community. He has given a Warwick Distinguished Lecture, was a member of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, and the British Library houses the headquarters of the Turing Institute, the new national data science centre in which the University is a partner. So it is very fitting that today he becomes a Warwick alumnus.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Roly Keating.

This oration was written by Robin Green, University Librarian

Mr Phil Smith: Hon LLD (11:00am ceremony on Friday, 17 July 2015)

Today we are honouring one of the UK’s most influential leaders in information technology and business; someone who has had an enormous influence on the UK’s economy.

I’d like to welcome Phil Smith, the UK & Ireland Chief Executive of Cisco, to today’s degree congregation.

Phil, from Lanark in Scotland, has enjoyed a thirty-year track record in the ICT industry. That formidable career, and his management of 5,000 staff in UK and Ireland, has made his opinions and views greatly sought-after.

He is the Chairman of Innovate UK, the UK’s main body for supporting innovative businesses to accelerate sustainable economic growth, and Chairman of The Tech Partnership. He sits on the board of The Business Disability Forum, the Foundation for Science and Technology (FST) and The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB). His busy schedule also makes time for his Co-Chairmanship of the Future Technologies and Infrastructure Working Group for the Information Economy Council.

Last year, as a legacy of London 2012, he also created Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme, an initiative tasked with sparking nationwide ingenuity, ambition and growth through technology entrepreneurship.

His work-rate and inspirational leadership has unsurprisingly earned Phil a number of accolades. In 2012, Phil was voted Orange Business Leader of the Year in the National Business Awards. The following year, he was hailed as the 5th most influential person in UK IT by Computer Weekly in its UKTech50 awards.

Amazingly, Phil also find the time and energy to complete regularly in triathlon sports events and he was the founding member of ‘The Leaderboard’; a cross industry team of UK CEOs who compete in triathlons to raise money for national charities.

It is a privilege to honour someone who has put such time and energy into guiding the next generation of digital business leaders. His ability to drive transformation, productivity and sustainable growth marks him out as one of the nation’s most influential chief executives.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Mr Phil Smith.

This oration was written by Professor Tim Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science, Engineering & Medicine)

Mr Tony Wheeler: Hon DLitt (11:00am ceremony on Friday, 17 July 2015) Joint degree with Monash University

Chancellor,

Universities often talk about creating 'global citizens'. Of students who are 'world-ready', not simply work-ready. Of creating an impact on an international scale.

There are many august institutions that can confidently say such statements. There are a few - who most certainly won't be named here - whose cross-continental credentials are a little more hazy.

I think it's safe to say, however, that Warwick's credentials are pretty sound. It helps when you have alumni that have inspired a generation to see the world.

We'll hear today from a guest who embodies the adventurer's spirit. Someone who's taken on the world's challenges, and shared the experiences with others around that world.

I am delighted to welcome Tony Wheeler back to Warwick for today's degree congregation.

Even before he made it to Warwick to study, Tony had clocked up more air miles as a minor than most manage in a life-time. It probably helped that Tony's father actually worked for an airline - this might explain the family's move from England to Pakistan when Tony was around one year old. He briefly returned to England from their home in Karachi, before the family found a new home - this time in the Bahamas.

Tony's high school years were mainly spent in the US, before he returned to the UK once more.

So, by the time he was 16, Tony had already lived in towns and cities across the world.

Crucially though – he had not yet lived in Coventry.

Thankfully an undergraduate course here - at the University of Warwick - gave him that opportunity. In 1965, he arrived to study engineering at what was then a brand new campus. Perhaps as influential on young Tony as the classroom was the newsroom – Tony was one of the original staff of Giblet, the University’s student newspaper.

After Warwick Tony’s career commenced in earnest. A spell as an automotive engineer was followed by a return to university – on this occasion it was London Business School, to complete an MBA.

And then? Travel took over. The gap year to end all gap years.

Tony and his wife Maureen set off across Europe, into Asia, before arriving in Australia. They chronicled their journey: Across Asia on the Cheap. Later, they were able to write Southeast Asia on a Shoestring. Most critically of all, they produced Lonely Planet India. The most influential series of modern travel guidebooks in the world had been born.

It wasn’t simply the resourceful, spontaneous nature of Lonely Planet books that resonated with millions of travellers over the years. Tony’s publishing and business know-how, matched with Maureen’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive, made for an infectious mix. They tapped into the traveller’s desire to experience something new, and packaged it into a motivational, yet user-friendly form.

Although no longer formally with Lonely Planet, Tony continues to write. And, he and Maureen also founded the Planet Wheeler Foundation – a Melbourne-based organisation that funds projects aiding the type of remote, impoverished communities that the Wheelers have visited first-hand.

It shows how travel can be much more than an indulgence, much more than a pursuit of relaxation or hedonism…though it can be all of those things too. What Tony’s career has done is help us understand what travel can bring to our lives. He’s helped us understand where we can go, and what we can do when we get there.

As I said in my introduction, universities often talk about creating ‘global citizens’. The person we have here with us today isn’t just a global citizen. He’s helped the world define what a global citizen actually is.

Mr Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Mr Tony Wheeler.

This oration was written by Professor Andrew Coates, Academic Vice-President and Director of the Monash Warwick Alliance

Ms Frances O’Grady: Hon LLD (3:00pm ceremony on Friday, 17 July 2015)

Provost

The woman standing before you is the first female General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress in its 150 year history. I am honored to be presenting Frances O’Grady to you today and to recognize her significant contributions to public life.

As her biography testifies, Frances has been an active trade unionist all her working life, challenging many common stereotypes along the way. Threading through all her work is the leitmotif of striving to build a fairer world. Indeed, trade unionism, its values and concerns have played a key role in France’s life since birth. Born in Oxford, her grandfather was the founder member of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Her father was a shop steward at a Leyland car plant. This is a truly powerful grounding but her own working experiences have added to her concerns with the inequalities she sees around her. For example, working as a waitress in an Oxbridge college gave her deep insights into the social structures that shape opportunities and social mobility.

Frances was first educated at Milham Ford School in Oxford, before heading to Manchester University to read politics and modern history. She also earned a diploma in industrial relations and trade union studies at Middlesex Polytechnic.

In her early 20s Frances was appointed as a researcher at the Transport and General Workers Union. It was here that she recognised the important roles that women would play in trade unionism and also the importance of trade unionism for confronting gender equality issues. She was quickly admired for bringing these agendas to the fore.

In 1994, Frances moved to the organisation that would make her its head 19 years later. The Trade Union Congress - or TUC - first took on Frances as its Campaigns Officer. After a few years of campaigning for equal rights for part-timers and against low pay, Frances’s role shifted. She was selected to lead the New Unionism campaign and launched the TUC’s Academy to train the union organisers of the future - many of whom she expected to be women.

Frances continued to make her mark within the TUC, becoming head of its Organisation Department in 1999. Eventually, she was chosen as the TUC’s Deputy General Secretary in 2003.

As Frances neared the most senior role in the TUC, her strengths became increasingly valuable to the organisation. In particular it is Frances’s considered approach that has steered the TUC through difficult times. She was appointed General Secretary in 2013. And in this short time Frances has been busy leading a very prominent case against austerity economics, getting in the political lexicon her phrase – Britain Needs a Payrise and much much more.

Whilst Frances has that undoubted success, it appears that she bemuses the media. She has been described as ordinary in one publication. Perhaps it is ordinary to sit, as General Secretary, with staff in the canteen at lunch time. But I can testify that Frances is far more than ordinary. She has risen to be voted the 11th most powerful woman in the UK. Another reporter noted that a woman doesn’t get appointed to a job that has been so historically the preserve of men just by being nice. No you don’t. You get there by a particular combination of skill, determination, resilience but also, importantly, a value set and commitment that goes beyond the ordinary and the nice. One mark of this is Frances’ response to her role. As she has said, ‘I don’t see working for trade unionism as a job, I see it as a way of making a difference to people’s lives’.

Frances is making that difference every day and in a multiple of ways.

Provost, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Frances O’Grady.

This oration was written by Professor Christina Hughes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning)

Mr Neil Hutchinson: Hon LLD (11:00am ceremony on Saturday, 18 July 2015)

I present to you Mr Neil Hutchinson

Neil Hutchinson is a highly successful entrepreneur who has built, managed, and acquired companies in a range of web sectors including online marketing and online price comparison (such as uSwitch, InvisibleHand, Omio), as well as offline publishing. He is the founder of NEON Adventures, an investment vehicle with activities in finance, property, lifestyle and philanthropy. At the same time he continues to support, and remains the principal investor in, the Forward Internet Group. This Group creates, acquires and invests in web businesses across a variety of industries and territories and includes a portfolio of over 30 companies. These 30 companies are spread across 2 investment vehicles: Forward Private Equity, which includes Factory Media and Forward3D, and Forward Partners the portfolio of which includes Appear Here (which aims to revolutionise the way people rent space), Zopa (a peer-to-peer lending service) and Somo (providing full-service mobile solutions). Forward is known for its revolutionary demand-led business model based on mining and analysing copious amounts of online data. It's this sort of innovative strategy that enabled Forward to increase its revenues from £13m in 2007, to £27m in 2008, £57m in 2009, and over £100m in 2010.

But how did the Forward Internet Group come about? In 2004, Neil – after reading an e-book called ‘GoogleCash’ – founded TrafficBroker: a digital marketing agency specialising in sending traffic to clients via Google AdWords. In 2009, TrafficBroker then formed the basis of Forward, complete with a new strategy which involved leveraging the company’s retained capital as well as technology and marketing expertise to create, acquire and invest in great companies. Their first acquisition was the highly successful uSwitch: the UK’s leading energy comparison website.

However, his pursuits are not limited to the commercial. Neil has also established the Forward Foundation, which assists charities and social enterprises in improving young lives. One of the foundation’s programmes – Launchpad – provides comprehensive support from funding to expertise and connections, to enable social start-ups to survive their difficult, formative years. ‘Studio’ - another of the foundation’s programmes - creatively uses technology to solve big challenges faced by organisations supporting young people. The ultimate aims of these programmes are to help young people from all backgrounds achieve something positive within their own lives and their community through enhancing engagement, positive thinking, learning, employability and work opportunities. When asked about why he felt the need to set up the Forward Foundation, Neil responded that his late mentor, Frank Herman, inspired him to ‘do some good along the way’. More recently, Mr Hutchinson has also established the NEON Foundation which is focused on building transformational products for the educational sector.

I am proud to say that Mr Hutchinson is a Warwick graduate, having graduated from the undergraduate Management Sciences programme at Warwick Business School in 2000 – the same year in which he was also named Warwick Business School's Marketing Student of the Year.

The University of Warwick commends Mr Hutchinson’s outstanding track record as an entrepreneur, as a visionary web designer and as a philanthropist. His achievements, drive and success are an inspiration to all, and we hope that he will continue to inspire Warwick graduates to innovate and achieve using the knowledge, skills and competencies they’ve developed whilst here. Mr Hutchinson’s career reflects his entrepreneurial mindset, sense of social responsibility as well as his ability to look at things differently – all qualities that show that he does indeed have the Warwick gene. As such, we are proud to honour Mr Hutchinson at our summer degree congregation.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Mr Neil Hutchinson.

This oration was written by Professor Deniz Ucbasaran, Warwick Business School

Charlotte Hogg: Hon LLD (11:00am ceremony on Saturday, 18 July 2015)

Charlotte Hogg is the first ever Chief Operating Officer of the Bank of England.

As a scholar at Hertford College, Oxford, Charlotte read Economics and History before winning a prestigious Kennedy scholarship to Harvard University in 1991, where she studied at the Kennedy School of Government before returning to the UK and joining the Bank of England as a graduate trainee in 1992. She then switched from central banking to management consultancy with McKinsey as a Principal in Financial Services in Washington DC in 1994 before moving into investment banking with Morgan Stanley, New York in 2001, first as a Managing Director in the Global Strategic Planning Group, where she led the development of corporate strategy for Morgan Stanley’s Board of Directors, and later as Chief Executive Officer of Goldfish Bank, which was then Morgan Stanley’s UK credit card business.

Charlotte returned to the UK and between 2008 and 2011 she was a Managing Director of Experian, the global information services group, before serving as the Head of Retail Distribution and Intermediaries of the bank Santander UK plc. Whilst at Santander she successfully restructured retail operations, integrating the old Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, and Bradford & Bingley businesses. She also launched the immensely successful 1,2,3 account and oversaw an improvement in Santander’s previously poor customer service.

Charlotte took up her present position at the Bank of England, or the ‘Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’, as the Bank is sometimes affectionately referred to, in 2013. As Chief Operating Officer, Charlotte is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Bank, overseeing everything from human resources to technology and data, to procurement and property, IT systems and security. But Charlotte is doing much more than this. She is applying her abundant experience in strengthening and changing institutions as part of an ambitious modernisation and revamp of the venerable, three-century-old institution.

The Bank of England recently published its Fair and Effective Markets Review, which is a comprehensive and forward-looking assessment of the way wholesale financial markets operate, and which is aimed at restoring trust in those markets in the wake of the global financial crisis and a number of recent high profile abuses, as well as influencing the international debate on trading practices. In launching the Review at the Mansion House in June, Governor Mark Carney spoke about the need to embed a culture of good governance and social responsibility in the City, for example by holding senior managers of banks and insurers directly accountable for failures in their areas of responsibility and by encouraging financial institutions to improve the ‘tone from the top’ with conduct training and the revamping of control structures.

In the same Mansion House Speech, the Governor also committed the Bank to practising what it preaches by, for example, introducing a new code of conduct whereby it expects its senior management to meet the highest standards of professional conduct. In addition to the day-to-day administration of the Bank of England, therefore, it is Charlotte Hogg’s task to oversee the modernisation of its operations and to implement the principles of the Senior Managers Regime which was announced by the Governor at the Mansion House, in order to ensure that it lives by the standards it sets others as the Bank seeks, in the words of Mark Carney, ‘to create a central bank for the 21st century that combines the finest aspects of its history and traditions with the best of the modern and new.’

With such an impressive and high-powered record behind her before joining the Bank as COO, it is clear that Charlotte’s appointment was on pure merit, particularly in the area of driving organisational change in financial institutions. But her appointment to such a senior role within the Bank has been hailed as a breakthrough moment for women at the heart of what used to be considered by many to be an important male-dominated establishment. Many of you will be familiar at least with an image of the Bank of England building, the remarkable, imposing edifice at the heart of the City designed by Sir Herbert Barker and built in the 1920s and 1930s. Having personally worked in that building as an economist some years ago, and having had the honour more recently to serve on the Academic Advisory Group of the Fair and Effective Markets Review, I can assure you that it is very hard to imagine any glass ceilings within its august interior, at least in a literal sense. But the metaphorical glass ceiling within the Bank has been well and truly smashed by Charlotte Hogg.

In this respect Charlotte has followed the example of her mother – Sarah Hogg – who became the first woman to Chair a FTSE 100 company, is now a crossbencher in the House of Lords and has served on the boards of the BBC, P&O Cruises, P&O Princess and Eton College.

Outside the Bank, Charlotte Hogg serves as a Member of the Finance Committee, the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee of Oxford University Press, as an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, and has also served as a Governor of Nottingham Trent University and as member of the Board of BBC Worldwide. She is also a Trustee and former Chair of First Story, a charity that brings talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities to work with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills, and which now operates in 50 schools around the country. Charlotte has been involved with this charity since its inception, and she has always been ready to go the extra mile for First Story – in fact she once went 13 miles in the form of running a sponsored half marathon to fundraise for them.

On top of all of this, Charlotte somehow finds the time to bring up two children, Stephanie aged 12 and Alexander aged nine, with her husband, management consultant Steve Sacks, and to indulge her love of eventing, ballet and needlepoint. Indeed in 2010 she won the Aston-le-Walls horse trials, an event in which she has continued to participate ever since.

Charlotte has told me that she is blessed in having a very supportive husband and parents who were role models of how to work and contribute to society while being wonderful parents as well. It is, however, clear that Charlotte is a role model and an inspiration to our graduates here today, and the University of Warwick commends Charlotte Hogg’s outstanding contributions to the financial services sector and to this country more generally. She embodies a spirit of dynamism, innovation, energy, enterprise and public service allied with an unremitting quest for excellence—a spirit which is closely aligned with the ethos and aspirations of this university. In this our fiftieth anniversary year, as one of the youngest leading universities in the world, it is therefore entirely fitting that the University of Warwick should honour in this way the relatively Young Lady of Threadneedle Street.

Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Charlotte Hogg.

This oration was written by Professor Mark Taylor, Warwick Business School

Professor James Robinson: Hon LLD (3:00pm ceremony on Saturday, 18 July 2015)

“Why Nations Fail should be required reading for politicians and anyone concerned with economic development.”

“It is provocative stuff; backed by lots of brain power”

Chancellor, graduates and graduands, ladies and gentlemen, those are just two of the numerous and glowing reviews for probably the most well-known publication of this honorary graduand to date.

I am delighted to present James Robinson for the award of an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding scholarship and, most notably, for his groundbreaking work in the field of comparative political and economic development.

James - or Jim as he is widely known - is currently a Professor at the Harris School for Public Policy, based at the University of Chicago. He previously taught in the Department of Economics at the Universities of Melbourne and Southern California and at the Departments of Economics and Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Before moving to Chicago, Jim was a Professor of Government at Harvard University. We can, I am pleased to say, take some credit for this illustrious academic career because he did study here at Warwick where he acquired his Masters’ degree in Economics. I am sure that time at Warwick had a huge influence on his thinking!

Jim is a prominent figure in modern social science. This is illustrated by the many awards and prizes that he has already received. He is, for example, listed by the UK’s Prospect magazine as one of the “World Thinkers”, definitely someone to watch.

With a commendable ability to examine institutions, organisations and nations through both an economic, behavioural and political lens, Jim’s work has provided important insights into growth, development and prosperity. Over the years he has developed a particular expertise and interest in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. To give you a sense of the sheer breadth of his work, he currently has research underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, the Philippines and in Colombia.

In addition to a very long list of academic publications, Jim has several books to his name. Why Nations Fail – which I mentioned a few moments ago - and which he co-authored with Daron Acemoglu in 2012 - has earned him international acclaim in both academic and non-academic circles. Parents, I have mentioned this book many times to our students so I hope that they have all already read it, but I would urge you to do so as well. I promise you will be enthralled and enlightened. Although only published three years ago, it is fast becoming a classic. It tackles one of the most important problems in social science - why is it that some nations fail when others succeed - which is a question that academics like myself and my colleagues have struggled to answer for many, many years. And it provides answers in a simple and accessible way.

Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof has said “Two centuries from now our great-great-great grandchildren will [still] be reading Why Nations Fail.”

We know that the world is facing many stubborn challenges. Our political institutions and our economic systems are being tested in ways they have never been tested before. And many are proving unable to adapt to changing global movements and new world orders. When nations and their institutions fail, growth stagnates and people suffer. Jim’s research gets to the very heart of this issue. His work cuts across traditional boundaries – geographically and intellectually. It takes the economics discipline to new and exciting dimensions in ways that are helping academics and policy makers to understand how difficult situations can be identified, understood and overcome. It is important research that is making a real difference.

It is a great privilege to honour this outstanding scholar and a giant of his generation in economics and political science. Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I am delighted to present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Professor James Robinson.

This oration was written by Professor Abhinay Muthoo, Department of Economics