Thousands of students celebrated their achievements on Wednesday across four graduation ceremonies at the Royal Albert Hall.
Wednesday 18 October was a special day for many as over 3,000 graduands received their degrees, cheered on by almost 8,000 guests.
Imperial’s President Professor Hugh Brady congratulated graduates and acknowledged students’ dedication: “Earning an Imperial degree is a high honour and you have worked very hard to get here. My colleagues and I are acutely aware of the many hours you spent in lectures, seminars, libraries, laboratories and field trips, and indeed at home, working towards this day.
He also recognised the important role of Imperial alumni: “We have ambitious plans for Imperial, and we very much want you to be part of Imperial’s future, so please stay in touch.”
Reflecting on the events that are unfolding in the Middle East, Professor Brady said: “We have all seen the devastating impact of terrorist attacks in Israel and the rapidly escalating conflict and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. These events, and the impact of ongoing geopolitical unrest in many other parts of the world, remind us that our own Imperial community – which you will all remain a core part of in the years ahead – must continue to stand as one against all forms of violence and hatred.”
Imperial College London honorary degrees are conferred on persons of conspicuous merit who are outstanding in their fields.
Two honorary degrees were awarded in ceremonies this week.
Professor Sir Simon Donaldson
Professor Sir Simon Donaldson is Professor of Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London, a role he has held since 1998. Sir Simon’s work has created a wide network of fundamental contributions in many fields, and he is recognised as a pioneer and leader in the development of the interaction between modern geometry and physics.
Sir Simon has received numerous international awards and prizes, most notably the Fields Medal in 1986, as well as the King Faisal International Prize, the Nemmers Prize, the Shaw Prize, the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, and the Wolf Prize. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986 and was knighted for services to mathematics in 2012.
Professor Deborah F. Smith
Professor Deborah F. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Molecular Parasitology at the University of York. Deborah began her academic career at Imperial in 1984 and over the following 20 years made contributions to strategy and students as Professor, Deputy Head of Department and Deputy Chair of the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine at Imperial. She moved to the University of York in 2005 to establish the Centre for Immunology and Infection and further her research on neglected tropical diseases. Her teaching and research have embraced molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, genomics and immunology, as well as the translation of research to drugs and vaccines.
Deboroh has contributed extensively to the work of major national and international research funders. She was a founding Council member of Research England and is a Trustee Director of the Earlham Institute. Deborah has been awarded fellowships by the Royal Society of Biology and Advance HE and an OBE in 2010 for services to Biomedical Sciences.
Imperial College Medals
The Imperial College Medal is awarded for meritorious or praiseworthy service to the College or for having otherwise enhanced its reputation, mission and objectives. Sixteen Imperial College Medals have been awarded as part of the graduation ceremonies.
Professor Neil Alford MBE FREng, Professor of Materials, Department of Materials
Neil joined Imperial in 2007. He became Head of the Department of Materials and went on to serve as Vice-Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Engineering and Interim Vice-Provost (Research) for Imperial. Between 2015 and 2022, Neil was Associate Provost (Academic Planning), where he demonstrated exceptional service to Imperial and developed the estates strategies for the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial as a whole, and the White City Campus. Neil was awarded an MBE in 2013 for services to engineering.
Chris Banks, Director of Library Services
Chris joined the College in September 2013. As the strategic lead for Library Services at Imperial, working in partnership with academics, Chris and her team develop services to support open access and research data management that enable global availability to Imperial’s research outputs for further research and re-use. Chris led a model rights retention open access policy initiative for UK higher education institutions.
Nicholas Collett, Sous Chef, Campus Services
Nicholas joined Imperial as a 16-year-old apprentice in 1979. Throughout his 40-year career with the College, Nicholas ras shown dedication and excellence in each role he has held, from Commis Chef and Junior Chef de Partie to Sous Chef. Nicholas has worked in every kitchen at Imperial, preparing innovative and delicious menus for students and staff. His flexible approach means that he can accommodate last-minute needs and consistently deliver excellent service.
Lynne Cox, Director of the Research Office
Lynne has been a valued member of Imperial for many years. As Director of the Research Office she has been at the forefront in establishing a professional approach to research management at Imperial, leading the way in negotiating better deals for researchers with external funders, and in formulating and implementing professional standards in a healthy research environment. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to research in higher education in 2016.
Jill Finney, formerly Chair of the Board of Trustees of Imperial College Union (ICU)
Jill joined the ICU Board of Trustees in 2015 bringing a wealth of experience in leadership and strategy setting from marketing and communications roles at large public and private sector organisations. She understands the needs of an effective students’ union to enhance the student experience and has worked closely with the Board to ensure the ICU achieves this through a clear strategy and a sound financial foundation. She has reformed its capabilities and culture by bringing on effective new student members and mentoring them with tailored support.
Professor Susan Gibson, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, former Director of the Graduate School
Susan is an expert in chemical synthesis and catalysis. She led the Gibson group: a cluster of researchers who address the interface between transition metal chemistry and synthetic organic chemistry. Susan has authored over 160 publications, graduated 42 PhD students and hosted 15 postdoctoral workers. In 2013, she was awarded an OBE for her services to chemistry and science education.
Jo Harlow, Head of Student Records in the Administrative and Support Services
Jo has been a key member of Imperial’s Registry team since 2004. During this time, she has been dedicated to student wellbeing and interests, acting as a valued contact for students. In particular, Jo has been an ambassador for trans students, ensuring that the development of a College-wide policy remains at the forefront of proposed improvements to the student experience. She is also committed to leading an environment in which team members can develop and progress.
Brian Lee, Grounds Site Manager for the Harlington Sports Ground
Brian began working as part of Imperial’s grounds team in 1999. His professionalism and drive to improve services have seen him develop his role, and he now manages the Harlington Sports Ground – Imperial’s flagship, 49-acre, outdoor sports facility. He is also renowned for his excellent rapport with Imperial’s athletics clubs, delivering excellent service to the many students for whom sport is a key part of their university experience.
Richard Martin, Director of Academic Services
Richard joined Imperial n 2000 as a graduate management trainee and went on to become Deputy Faculty Operating Officer for the Faculty of Engineering in 2004. He moved to UCL in 2007 where he established the university’s first overseas campus as Chief Operating Officer of UCL Australia. In 2011, Richard returned to the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial as Faculty Operating Officer and oversaw major building refurbishments and other key developments across the faculty. This included the refurbishment of the City and Guilds Building and the development of the Dyson School of Design Engineering.
Professor Emma McCoy, Vice President and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the London School of Economics (LSE)
Before joining LSE in 2022, Professor McCoy had contributed over 25 years’ service to Imperial. She joined the Department of Mathematics in 1996 and demonstrated a particular interest in mathematics education and outreach. She was ultimately promoted to Vice-Provost for Education and Student Experience, in which role she provided innovations in teaching delivery and community building, and increased student voices on key committees.
Professor Mary Morrell, Professor of Sleep and Respiratory Physiology, National Heart and Lung Institute
Professor Morrell began her medical career as a nurse and went on to complete her PhD at the University of London. Her research focuses on breathing disorders that occur during sleep, which she translates into improvements in patient care. Her work has led to fellowships from the Wellcome Trust as well as funding from the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research. Professor Morrell is also committed to education, developing both Master’s and Bachelor’s programmes in the Faculty of Medicine.
Maria Piggin, Partnerships and Training Manager at the Patient Experience Research Centre
Maria, along with the team she manages, provides public involvement training, advice and support to researchers who sit within the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre. In this role, she also connects patients and the public with researchers, connecting communities with health research to ensure it addresses their priorities. Maria has also established, and is the chair of, a national patient support charity and an umbrella global alliance of patient organisations.
Professor John Seddon, Professor of Chemical Physics and a Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry
Professor Seddon joined Imperial in 1991 and over the past three decades has taken on vital areas of responsibility for teaching at Imperial. He leads a core undergraduate module on thermodynamics, has co-written a textbook on the topic, and has supervised some 50 PhD students. This is alongside his leading scientific research into liquid crystals and membrane biophysics.
Bernard Taylor CVO CBE DL, Chairman Emeritus of Evercore Partners in Europe.
Bernard is an organic chemist who has worked in manufacturing and corporate finance for more than forty years. He has contributed to Imperial as a member of the College Court and as Chair of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. In both roles, he has supported the implementation of Imperial's strategy while strengthening stakeholder relationships. Bernard is Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was awarded a CVO in the King’s first Honours List in December 2022 and a CBE for services to business, education and the arts in 2017.
Professor Richard Thompson, Professor of Experimental Physics and was until recently Vice-Dean for Education in the Faculty of Natural Sciences
Professor Thompson has worked in many roles for the Faculty of Natural Sciences since joining Imperial in 1986. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Head of the Quantum Optics and Laser Science Group, Faculty Senior Tutor, Senior Consul, and Chair of the Science Studies Committee. Teaching and student outreach have been a priority throughout his career.
Mickie Turner-Goble, Divisional Administration Manager, Campus Services
Mickie has been part of Imperial for nearly four decades, joining as a Secretarial Assistant within Finance in 1986. She has taken on numerous roles to support the smooth running of Imperial, most recently as Divisional Administration Manager, Campus Services. She is regarded as a vital team member who has adapted to an expanding and increasingly complex remit as the Campus Services division takes on more areas of operations.
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