Imperial College London

Imperial awards honorary degrees to leading figures in business and academia


Largest ever Postgraduate Awards Ceremony held in the Royal Albert Hall - <em>News Release</em>

For immediate use
Wednesday 14 May 2008

Imperial College London today hosts its largest ever Postgraduate Awards Ceremony celebrating the graduation of over 1,600 students and bestowing honorary degrees on leading figures in business and academia.

Taking place in the Royal Albert Hall, the ceremonies will award honorary degrees to Mr Guy Weston, Chairman of the Garfield Weston Foundation, Sir John Rose, Chief Executive of Rolls Royce plc, Mr Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration, Professor Dame Carol Black, the first National Director for Health and Work in the Department of Health and Dr Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for science and research.

The Awards Ceremonies will also celebrate the admittance of Professor Anthony Evans, a leading researcher in the field of materials science, to the Fellowship of Imperial College and the award of an Associateship to Mrs Diana Paterson-Fox, who worked at the College for over 30 years.

Imperial College London today hosts its largest ever Postgraduate Awards Ceremony

In addition, four Research Excellence Awards are announced, recognising research with significant future potential. Teams supported this year are working on predicting the effects of global warming on biodiversity, extending the capability of the high power fibre laser, developing and applying ultrasound wave theory for non-destructive evaluation, and imaging nanostructured materials to improve materials performance.

The day will also see the presentation of the Student Award for Outstanding Achievement, which this year goes to Bioengineering PhD Adam Hill for his leading role in setting up the charity Operation Frameworks. Now in its second year, the charity works with children with deformities in the developing world and aims to push forward research into growth deformity and reconstruction.

Today’s ceremonies are the first in which the College’s new purple robes, symbolising Imperial’s independence from the University of London last year, make a significant appearance. Students had the choice of graduating with an Imperial College London degree or a University of London degree, with around a third opting for an Imperial degree.

Rector of the College Sir Richard Sykes congratulated the graduands and guests. He said:

“Graduates of Imperial are prized for the skills, knowledge and leadership qualities that they possess. I am proud to be witnessing the presentation of such talented individuals today and I look forward to following the many contributions to society that you will undoubtedly make in the future.

“Today is also an opportunity for Imperial to pay tribute to those who have already made an impact on the world, and I am delighted to welcome our new Fellow, Associate and Honorary Graduates.”

For further information contact:

Naomi Weston
Imperial College London press office
Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6704

Notes to editors:

The new honorary graduates are:

Mr Guy Weston

Guy Weston, Chairman of the Garfield Weston Foundation

Guy Weston is Chairman of the Garfield Weston Foundation who provide major support for the artistic, cultural and scientific life of the UK. The Foundation was established by his grandfather Garfield Weston in 1958, endowed with funding from Associated British Foods, owned by the Weston family.

Since then it has supported a variety of areas of importance to the UK, including the Wolfson and Weston Research Centre for Family Health launched at Imperial in 2002, which is working to reduce infant mortality and birth defects such as cleft palate and spina bifida.

Prior to becoming Chairman of the Foundation in 2000, Mr Weston held various positions with Associated British Foods. He is also Chairman of Whittington Investments and of Heal's plc.

In addition he pursues his interest in science and medicine through membership of the Council of the Technology Colleges Trust and as a Trustee of the Thrombosis Research Institute.

Sir John Rose

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive of Rolls Royce plc

Sir John Rose is Chief Executive of Rolls Royce plc. He joined Rolls Royce in 1984, following time in financial institutions including the First National Bank of Chicago and Security Pacific. He was elected to the board of directors in 1992 and took up the role of Chief Executive in 1996, after successfully serving in a number of leadership roles.

Sir John acts as an advocate for the UK's manufacturing industry and its central role in underpinning economic success.

He is also a member of the JP Morgan International Council, the CBI International Advisory Board, The Englefield Advisory Board and a Trustee of the Eden Project.

Sir John was knighted for services to UK industry in 2003.

Mr Bernard Ecclestone

As President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration, Mr Bernard Ecclestone is a key figure in the sport of motor racing and one of the UK's most celebrated entrepreneurs.

Bernie Ecclestone

He moved from competing in races to management, running the Lotus F2 team and then buying the Connaught Formula One team.

In early 1972 he purchased the Brabham team, which achieved repeated Grand Prix success and won three World Championships. As a team owner he helped to found the Formula One Constructors' Association, becoming its chief executive in 1978, through which he pioneered the sale of television rights to motor racing.

In addition to making Formula One the world's most popular annual sporting event, Mr Ecclestone has turned it into a platform for ground-breaking research and development in the automotive industry. He has also been the driving force behind safety improvements in Formula One, including the state-of-the-art hospital and surgical facilities deployed at every Formula One race.

Professor Dame Carol Black

Professor Dame Carol Black, the first National Director for Health and Work in the Department of Health

Dame Carol entered medicine as a mature student at Bristol University quickly establishing herself as a respected researcher and clinician, specialising in rheumatology and connective tissue disorders, and in parti cular systemic sclerosis. She now directs University College London's Centre for Rheumatology, a major European centre for clinical care and research in this area.

She also has a strong interest in medical management and served as Medical Director of the Royal Free Hospital 2000-2002. From 2002 to 2006 she was the elected President of the Royal College of Physicians.

She now chairs the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Nuffield Trust, and the UK Health Honours Committee, and is a member of the Council of the General Medical Council, a member of the Board of the British Cardiovascular Society, and President of the British Lung Foundation.

In addition, she is a non-executive director of the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, President of the Scleroderma Society and President of the Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Association.

She was awarded the CBE in 2002 for services to scleroderma, and the DBE in 2005 for her services to medicine.

Dr Janez Potocnik

Dr Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for science and research

Dr Janez Potocnik is the European Commissioner responsible for science and research.

His role sees him coordinating European research activities and promoting international cooperation, as well as encouraging greater public understanding of and engagement with science.

He became a member of the European Commission in 2004, after holding a series of posts with the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, including heading the negotiating team for the accession of Slovenia to the European Union.

In 2000 he also acted as director of the Government Office for European Affairs, before being appointed a Minister Councillor within the Office of the Prime Minister in 2001. In January 2002, he became Minister without Portfolio responsible for European affairs.

At the same time Dr Potocnik pursued his academic career, serving as an assistant professor within the Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana from 1991to 2004. He worked as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research in Ljubljana from 1989 to 1993, before taking up the role of Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development in 1994.

About Imperial College London:

Imperial College London - rated the world’s fifth best university in the 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement University Rankings - is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 12,000 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.


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