Graduation Ceremonies

Honorary Graduates

Our honorary graduates come from all walks of life and have made significant contributions in their field.

Is there anyone you feel should get an honorary degree at a future ceremony? You can nominate them for one.

David Embleton

David EmbletonDavid started his career writing software for Marconi Radar Systems and Logica, before setting up IPL software house in Bath. The company is one of Bath’s most successful businesses and now employs around 270 staff, with a turnover of around £28 million.

David stepped down as Chairman of IPL in 1994 and since the mid-90s has invested in, and worked with, early stage software companies. He co-founded Cramer Systems which went on to sell for $425 million. He has been Pro-Chancellor at the University, helping to develop commercialisation of the University’s work and supporting spin-out companies.

He is co-founder of Eden Ventures which was set up as an early-stage technology investment company, funding more than 30 early-stage businesses since 2004. He and his family live in Bath and he is a trustee of the Holburne Museum.

David received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.


Howard Nicholson

Howard NicholsonHoward has been University Librarian at the University of Bath since September 1992. He started his career working as an Assistant Librarian at the University of Sussex and then worked as a Sub-Librarian at the London School of Economics.

He has led the library at Bath through a period of momentous change in its function and role. His vision led to an investment of £6.5 million in a library extension, seeing the Learning Centre fitted out with an extra 500 computers to embrace e-learning. He jointly pioneered the country’s first 24-hour university library at Bath.

On joining Bath he served as project head of the UK Office for Library and Information Networking (UKOLN), based on campus. He promoted its aim to inform practice and influence policy in the areas of digital libraries and web technologies. He has also played a central role in the wider University community, serving on Senate, Council, and Court.

Nationally, he has served on committees for the Society of College, National and University Libraries, where he has advised on issues concerned with library buildings and copyright.

Howard received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Ian Sutherland

Ian Sutherland

Photo from The Bath Chronicle

Following the death of a homeless man on the streets of Bath in 1987, Ian was one of a number of individuals and churches who came together to set up a temporary night shelter in the city. He joined the organisation as a volunteer, with no previous experience in the field. He became heavily involved in a fundraising campaign for a dedicated night shelter, and in 1993 Julian House was opened.

Ian became the charity’s first director and has worked tirelessly to guide the charity to become the leading provider of services to homeless men and women in Bath & North East Somerset. Julian House now has an annual turnover of £1.5milion, employing 40 staff and volunteers, including many University of Bath social work placement students.

In 1996, Ian founded Barnabas House where clients can live for two years and learn living skills to help them adjust to the demands of independent living. Ian retired as Director of Julian House in 2011.

Ian received an honorary degree of Master of Arts.


Professor Jim Norton

Professor Jim NortonProfessor Norton has had an impressive career as an independent director, policy adviser and public speaker. He is involved with many organisations including the Board of the UK Parliament's Office of Science & Technology (POST) as an external member. He is also a Non-Executive Director of F&C Capital & Income Investment Trust plc, where he chairs the Audit and Management Engagement Committee.

In addition, he is a Visiting Professor of Electronic Engineering at Sheffield University where he also provides guest lectures at the Management School. He is an External Examiner for the Institute of Directors (IoD) Certificate in Company Direction and a peer review interviewer for the IoD Chartered Director programme. He is a Fellow and immediate Past President of the British Computer Society.

He was a founder member of the Cabinet Office Performance & Innovation Unit in 1999, a former Chief Executive of the DTI Radiocommunications Agency (the UK's radio spectrum manager 1993-1998) and has held senior positions in Cable & Wireless (Marketing Director C&W Europe 1990-1993), Butler-Cox (Director Vendor Consulting Practice 1987-1990), and British Telecom (Senior Manager International Business Development).

Professor Norton received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Professor Datuk Mohamed Salleh

Professor Datuk Mohamed SallehProfessor Salleh is an eminent Malaysian academic of international standing. He completed his PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Bath in 1980 and began his career as a lecturer in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the National University of Malaysia (UKM). He was actively involved in producing laboratory diagnostic kits for a variety of fungal diseases.

Following promotion to Deputy Dean of Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine he championed the creation of biomedical sciences-related programmes in Malaysia and set up the first Faculty of Allied Health Sciences in Malaysia at UKM. He went on to become the University’s Vice-Chancellor and retired in 2006.

The following year he was appointed Founding Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), based in Kuala Lumpur. As Chairman of the Council of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency he has helped the country to become a hub for higher education excellence in the region.

He is the recipient of a ‘Panglima Setia Mahkota’– Malaysia’s second highest award, in recognition of his contributions to education development and society.

Professor Salleh received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.


Christopher Holmes MBE

Christopher HolmesAfter losing his sight overnight at the age of 14 Chris went on to become Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, winning six gold medals at the Barcelona Games in 1992 and a further three at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. Following the Barcelona Games he was awarded an MBE for services to British sport, aged only 20.

He read politics at the University of Cambridge and until recently was a commercial lawyer at a leading City practice. In addition he served as a Disability Rights Commissioner for five and a half years.

Chris was an ambassador to the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid and is now Director of Paralympic Integration for LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games).

He is a Patron of Help for Heroes, the Youth Sport Trust and the British Paralympic Association and a member of the board at UK Sport.

Christopher received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Antonio Horta-Osório

Antonio Horta-OsórioAntonio was appointed Group Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank in 2011, charged with transforming one of the world’s leading banks at the notably young age of 48. Previously he was the Chief Executive of Santander UK, directing the bank’s rapid expansion.

He joined the Santander Banking Group in 1993, leading its growth in Latin America, as Chairman of Santander Totta and prior to that, CEO of Banco Santander Brazil. In 2004 he was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Court of the Bank of England.

Antonio has a reputation as a talented and trustworthy leader and has become known as the ‘Special One’ of banking. He holds an AMP (Advanced Management Program) from Harvard and an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) in France, one of the leading business schools in the world. He was recently listed as one of its 50 alumni who have most ‘changed the world’.

Antonio received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Lord Bernard Ribeiro

Lord Bernard RibeiroLord Ribeiro was a Consultant General Surgeon with an interest in urology and colorectal surgery at Basildon Hospital from 1979 to 2008. He pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgery. From 2005 to 2008 he was the President of the Royal College of Surgeons and made significant contributions to surgical training, culminating in the introduction of the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme.

In 2004 he was awarded the CBE for his 'immeasurable' services to medicine, and in December 2008 he was appointed Knight Bachelor in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for his services to medicine.

Lord Ribeiro was born in Achimoto, Ghana, and was recognised there with the award of Officer of the Order of The Volta. In December 2010, he was appointed The Lord Ribeiro of Achimoto in the Republic of Ghana and of Ovington in the County of Hampshire.

He is patron of the Achimoto Trust which was established in 1987 to provide assistance and support for Achimoto School in Ghana.

Lord Ribeiro received an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.


Professor Dr Christiane Nusslein-Volhard

Professor Dr Christiane Nusslein-VolhardProfessor Nusslein-Volhard is an eminent geneticist and recognised as one of the most influential scientists of the 20th Century. Her work underpins our modern understanding of the genetic basis of animal and human development, and consequently of developmental diseases such as birth defects and cancer.

She is Director of the Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology at Tϋbingen, Germany, and Honorary Professor at the University of Tϋbingen. She has received numerous international honours and prizes, most notably sharing the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1995.

She has served on the committees of many key scientific organisations, including as Secretary General of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, the Senate of the Max-Planck-Society, and the National Ethics Council of Germany. Recognising the difficulties experienced by women scientists in maintaining their careers, she established the Christiane Nusslein-Volhard Foundation to support Women in Science.

Professor Nusslein-Volhard received an honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine.


Roger Pedder

Roger PedderRoger is one of the UK’s leading authorities on successful family businesses and on turning around ailing retail companies. He started his career on a graduate training scheme at Clarks Shoes and was chosen to be personal assistant to the Chairman.

In the 1980s he took Halfords from a company of loss-making high street shops to out-of-town stores with high profits. He founded Pet City in 1989. As Chairman of Robert Dyas Holdings, he helped to transform the company from a £4 million loss to a business generating £8 million profit.

His career in retail has included time at Peter Lord, British Home Stores, and the Burton Group. Roger returned to Clarks as a Non Executive Director in 1988 and became Chairman in 1993. By 2006 he had overseen the development of a company with a turnover of £1 billion and profits of £100 million, making Clarks the fourth largest shoe company in the world.

Since his retirement in May 2006, Roger has had a leading role in the support of family businesses, including as President of the European Family Businesses Association.

He has had a long commitment to the University of Bath, as Chairman of the School of Management Advisory Board, Chairman of the University Estates Committee and then Honorary Treasurer.

After the Tsunami in 2004, Roger established the Yala Fund which supports families in the area around Yala National Park in south-eastern Sri Lanka.

Roger received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.