Global gathering for Imperial College London's Postgraduate Graduation

New graduates

Postgraduate students and guests from over 65 countries will be taking part in Imperial's 2012 Postgraduate Graduation Ceremonies at the Royal Albert Hall - News release

For immediate use
Wednesday 9 May 2012

Postgraduate students and guests from over 65 countries will be taking part in Imperial College London’s 2012 Postgraduate Graduation Ceremonies at the Royal Albert Hall today 

Today's ceremonies for postgraduate students will see more than 2,500 science, engineering, medicine and business graduands awarded their postgraduate degrees, watched by family and friends. 

The event will be hosted by Imperial's President & Rector Sir Keith O'Nions. Sir Keith said: 

"During this Olympic year, in which the world will be coming to London, it is fitting to reflect on the strengths the international mix within our own community brings to life at Imperial. As many of our postgraduates move now to work in more global contexts and engage in business, economic issues or the challenges of climate change, environment or health, the cultures and perspectives they shared and exchanged here at Imperial will be an invaluable foundation.  To think what they will achieve after they cross the stage today is incredibly exciting." 

Graduates leaving the stage of the Royal Albert Hall join a community of over 160,000 Imperial alumni across the world, supported by more than 50 international alumni associations. 

During today's ceremonies an honorary degree will be awarded to Ray O'Rourke, Chairman & Chief Executive of Laing O'Rourke in recognition of his outstanding contribution to engineering and to the UK construction industry. Admitted to the Fellowship of Imperial College London are former Chief Operating Officer of the College, Dr Martin Knight, and Professor David Lloyd Smith, former Dean of Students and member of the Department of Civil Engineering. Fellowships are awarded to figures judged to have made significant contributions to the life of the College. 

Professors Anthony Bull and Andrew Bush both also receive awards in recognition of their outstanding research supervision of postgraduate students. 

Graduates and their families will be able to continue their celebrations at the Imperial Festival, the College's first public festival, on the 11 and 12 May. The Festival, which features hands on science demonstrations, music and comedy, will include special events for alumni as well as being open to the public.

For further information please contact:

J-P Jones
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6704

Simon Watts
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701

Out of hours duty press officer: +44(0)7803 886 248


Notes to editors:

Biographies of the new fellows and honorary graduate:

Ray O’Rourke

Ray O’Rourke founded R O’Rourke & Son in 1977 with his brother Des, and started trading in September 1978.  The company went on to become a major force in the UK construction industry specialising in civil engineering on sub and superstructure package contracting.

In 2001, the O’Rourke Group acquired the construction arm of John Laing Plc to create today’s international engineering and construction business.  From its headquarters in Kent, the Laing O’Rourke Group is now one of Europe’s largest and most ambitious privately-owned engineering and construction solutions providers, employing over 18,000 people globally.

Widely regarded as a true construction innovator, Ray has helped to transform the industry through ground-breaking approaches that deliver buildings and infrastructure to exceptionally high standards, radically improving on the time, cost, safety, and sustainability targets of traditionally constructed buildings.

In 2011 Ray received an honorary knighthood in recognition of his services to the construction industry in the United Kingdom. In September 2011 Imperial and Laing O’Rourke announced that it would fund a new multidisciplinary academic centre at Imperial to advance the systems engineering profession and leverage innovative thinking to benefit the construction industry.  The Laing O’Rourke Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation, part of a multi-million pound collaboration with Imperial, is based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It aims to enhance the capacity of the construction industry to respond to environmental and sustainability challenges, and its research and teaching activities include a part-time Masters programme in Systems Engineering and Innovation.

Dr Martin Knight

Martin Knight’s 18-year association with Imperial began in 1992, when he became a member of Council, later becoming Chairman of the Investment Committee and then Honorary Treasurer in 2002. In 2004 he was appointed the College’s Chief Finance Officer, and subsequently Chief Operating Officer, enabling him to bring to fruition a financial strategy which had been his vision as Honorary Treasurer.

That strategy was instrumental to the College’s success during a time of great uncertainty for the higher education sector. In particular, the performance of the College Fund, a model he initiated, has been designed to provide long-term sustainable financial health for the College. The implementation of his strategy saw the realisation of some of the most significant capital projects in the College’s recent history, including the redevelopment of Prince’s Gardens.

In 2003 he became Chairman of Imperial Innovations Group, plc, a role he continues to this day. Imperial Innovations became the first UK university technology transfer operation to be quoted on the London Stock Exchange, and many spin-out companies have benefited directly from Dr Knight’s expertise turning ideas and discoveries into commercial ventures.

Dr Knight read history as an undergraduate at Merton College, Oxford University and then took a DPhil at Nuffield College. From 1974–88 he worked at the merchant bank, Morgan Grenfell, becoming a director in 1982. From 1988, he ran his own corporate finance and investment business, advising major public corporations and investors on their investment activities. He sits on the board of a number of companies, is a trustee of the Royal Institution and is on the board of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. 

Professor David Lloyd Smith

During his 38 years at Imperial, David Lloyd Smith made an outstanding contribution to both the field of civil engineering and to the Imperial student experience. In 1971, Professor Lloyd Smith was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, following an MSc at the College specialising in concrete structures. He was appointed Senior Lecturer in 1984, Reader in 1991 and became Professor of Structural Mechanics in 2004. In acknowledgment of his contributions to the plastic theory of structures, and of his research collabo rations with colleagues from the University of Belgrade, Professor Lloyd Smith was elected a foreign member of the Serbian Academy of Engineering Science in 2010.

Alongside his academic work, Professor Lloyd Smith took on a number of responsibilities relating to the teaching and pastoral care of students. In 2000, Professor Lloyd Smith became a College Tutor. In this role, he was heavily involved in student life across the College, supporting the student experience through his involvement in a variety of pastoral and academic activities. In 2007, Professor Lloyd Smith was appointed to the newly created post of Dean of Students. He took up the day-to-day management of the College’s welfare and pastoral care systems, supporting the Pro Rector (Education and Academic Affairs) through his work with the student body and the extensive College network of professional support for students. He retired in 2009.

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality.

Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve health in the UK and globally, tackle climate change and develop clean and sustainable sources of energy.


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