Imperial congratulates global graduates ready to tackle global challenges


Imperial hosts its 2011 Postgraduate Awards Ceremony - News release

For immediate use
Wednesday 3 May 2011

Students and guests from 52 countries are converging on the Royal Albert Hall today for Imperial College London’s 2011 Postgraduate Award ceremonies.

The largest graduation ceremonies for postgraduates in the College's history will see more than 2,000 science, engineering, medicine and business graduands awarded their postgraduate degrees, watched by some 4,500 guests.

The event, a highlight in the College’s calendar, will be hosted by Imperial’s Rector Sir Keith O’Nions. Addressing the audience of graduands, their families and friends, Sir Keith will say:

“Today is a vivid display of what defines a great university. It is all about the people, and in our case, truly exceptional people from around the world. People with the ability to embrace the frontiers of knowledge and share their thoughts, understanding and experiences with one another. You are amongst the best equipped anywhere in the world to meet the chronic challenges of climate change, energy supply, issues of global health, food scarcity and an increasing global population. To ponder just what you will do for the world is truly exciting.”

The graduands and guests meeting in South Kensington are from countries as far apart as Brunei Darussalam, Iceland, Indonesia and Trinidad and Tobago, reflecting Imperial’s commitment to identifying, attracting and developing students of the highest ability, from all over the world. Competition to study at Imperial saw more than 18,000 applications for postgraduate student places for the last year, with just over 3,300 students being admitted.

Graduates leaving the stage of the Royal Albert Hall join a community of over 157,000 Imperial alumni across the world, supported by more than 50 international alumni associations. The Rector has recently returned from a trip to Asia to build on the College’s links with institutions in Beijing and Taiwan and to meet with Imperial alumni groups there.

Also attending the ceremonies are leading figures from the worlds of business and science. An honorary degree will be awarded to former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson. Admitted to the Fellowship of Imperial College London are former civil servant Sir Peter Gershon, a member of the College Council from 2002 to 2010, and the philanthropist Alan Howard. Fellowships are awarded to figures judged to have made significant contributions to the life of the College. Recipients of the Imperial College Medal at today’s ceremonies are long-serving retired staff members Professor Robin Smith and Mr Phillip Blissett.

The ceremonies will also celebrate staff and students who have made outstanding contributions to the College's life and work. Former Medicine PhD student Tayyib Hayat receives a Student Award for Outstanding Achievement, in recognition of his charitable work with young people during his time at Imperial, as does Oliver Mahony, a former postgraduate student in the Department of Materials, in recognition of commitment to sport, representing Great Britain in rowing, while maintaining excellent research work throughout his PhD.

Professor Michael Stumpf will receive the Rector’s Medal for Excellence in Research Supervision for his outstanding commitment to training and mentoring research students, while Research Excellence Awards, awarded to support research of high academic achievement and significant future potential, will be given to Professor Christopher Pain from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering and Dr Julia Gorelik from the National Heart and Lung Institute.

For further information please contact:

J-P Jones
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6704
Out of hours duty press officer: +44(0)7803 886 248


Notes to editors:

Biographies of the new fellows and honorary graduates:

Sir Liam Donaldson

Sir Liam Donaldson, Chair of the National Patient Safety Agency, Chair of the WHO Patient Safety Programme, and Chancellor of Newcastle University, has pioneered many changes both in British public healthcare and in global health during his long career.

Sir Liam began his career as a clinician, earning his doctorate in medicine from the University of Leicester and qualifying as a surgeon. He went on to specialise in public health and served for a decade at the Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority, rising to the post of Regional General Manager and Regional Director of Public Health in 1994.

As Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health from 1998-2010, Sir Liam led revolutionary changes in the patient safety and quality agendas in the National Health Service (NHS) and was the author of a series of ground-breaking reports which aimed to transform many different areas of healthcare. He produced the UK’s first comprehensive health protection strategy, proposed new legislation to allow carefully regulated stem cell research, addressed poor clinical performance, and empowered patient self-management of chronic diseases. He also created the concept of clinical governance, a clinically led approach to assuring high standards of care which is now an internationally recognised approach in healthcare.

Sir Liam was knighted for his services to public health in 2002 and in 2009 took on the role of Chancellor of Newcastle University. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (Medicine) degree by Imperial College in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British healthcare and global health.

Sir Peter Gershon

As well as pursuing a distinguished career in industry and the Civil Service, Sir Peter Gershon served as one of the most valued and well-respected members of the Council of Imperial College from 2002-2010.

After graduating from the University of Cambridge with a degree in mathematics, Sir Peter worked in the computer and telecommunications industries, where he held several senior management posts. In 1994 he moved across into the defence industry, becoming the main board director in GEC plc with responsibility for its worldwide defence business. In 2000 he was awarded the CBE for services for industry.

In April 2000 Sir Peter joined the Civil Service as the first Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce and in 2004 he was knighted for his services to public procurement.

In 2004 Sir Peter returned to the private sector, and he is currently Chairman of Tate & Lyle plc, Premier Farnell plc, General Healthcare Group, and Vertex Ltd. He is also an external member of the Coalition Government’s Efficiency Board and a member of the UK Defence Academy Advisory Board. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

In addition to serving on the Council of Imperial College, Sir Peter was a member of the Audit Committee, the Nominations Committee and the Remunerations Committee. From July 2009-September 2010 he also served as Deputy Chairman of the Council.

Mr Alan Howard

Mr Alan Howard, an alumnus of the College, has been awarded an honorary degree in recognition of his philanthropic work and the support that he has given to the College.

After graduat ing from Imperial in 1986 with a MEng in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, Mr Howard joined the investment bank Salomon Brothers, where he became Head of Interest Rate Trading. He moved to Tokai Bank Europe in 1995 and in 1997 he joined Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) as a Managing Director. In 1998 he became Head of Proprietary Trading (Europe) in the Developed Market Rates Cluster of Fixed Income Trading within CSFB, and then Global Head of Proprietary Trading in 2001. In 2002 Mr Howard left CSFB to set up his fixed-income focused hedge fund Brevan Howard.

Mr Howard has extensive contacts in the hedge fund industry. He is also on the investor advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and was on the Board of Trustees of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a prominent US-based think tank. In 2004 he established the Alan Howard Charitable Trust with the aim of advancing education and the Jewish religion for the benefit of the public. Alan is also a member of the Chairman’s Circle at the Royal Opera House, London.

Mr Howard is one of Imperial’s major donors, having donated £1.5 million to a scholarship fund for Israeli students in the Energy Futures Lab. His wife, Sabine, is a member of the College’s Development Advisory Board.

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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