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.

Professor Gordon Plotkin

Professor Gordon PlotkinGordon Plotkin is a professor in the Laboratory for Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics.

He is best known for his work on the operational semantics of programming languages, in particular for developing Structural Operational Semantics, which has become the fundamental tool of choice in programming language research.

He has also contributed to many other areas of the semantics and logic of programming languages, and to simulation languages for systems biology. His work has influenced every aspect of the global field of programming language. He joined the faculty at Edinburgh after completing his PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University in 1972.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of Academia Europaea, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His prizes include the ACM Programming Languages Achievement Award and the Royal Society Milner Award.

Professor Plotkin received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.


Professor David Philips CBE

Professor David Philips CBEProfessor David Philips is described as one of the foremost chemists of our generation and holds a CBE for his services to chemistry. His extensive research has fundamentally advanced our understanding of photochemistry, the interaction of light with matter.

He began his academic career at the University of Southampton in 1967. He moved to the Royal Institution in 1980, becoming the Wolfson Professor of Natural Philosophy, and in 1989 he became Hofmann Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College London. He retired in 2006 as Senior Dean for the Faculties of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.

In recent years he has worked in photodynamic therapy for cancer and co-founded a spin-out company. He is passionate about inspiring children and young people and was awarded an OBE for services to science education. He set up Imperial Outreach and is founder and Chairman of London Gifted and Talented which brings education enrichment activities to gifted pupils in schools throughout London.

Around 250,000 children have enjoyed his demonstration lectures and he continues to give lectures and master classes to young people each year. He has delivered the famous Royal Institution Christmas Lectures series and made many broadcasts on television and radio.

From 2010-2012 he was President of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Philips received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. 


Dr Jonathan Milner

Dr Jonathan MilnerDr Jonathan Milner is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Abcam, the leading antibody company in the world. It supplies antibodies to researchers and employs over 800 people.

It was while Jonathan was working as a research fellow at the University of Cambridge in 1998, studying the newly discovered breast cancer protein BRCA2, that the idea for the company was born.

Jonathan was an undergraduate at Bath, graduating in 1988 with a BSc in Applied Biology. He completed his PhD in molecular genetics at Leicester University. He returned to Bath in 1995 as a Research Fellow for pharmaceutical company Pfizer on a project involving antibody engineering.

Jonathan was voted Entrepreneur of the Year by the London Stock Exchange in 2010, and has received various CEO of the year awards.

He is chairman and co-founder of several Biotech companies and he is an Angel Investor for another 30 biotechnology companies. He is also a great supporter of science education. He sponsors evolution education PhD projects at the Universities of Bath and Bristol and through his great passion for Darwin he founded The Evolution Education Trust, a charity that funds the Darwin Correspondence Project.

Dr Milner received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science. 


Graham Hoare

Graham Hoare Graham Hoare is a leading figure in the UK’s automotive industry. He is Ford Motor Company’s Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, responsible for the company’s Test and Development Operations worldwide. He heads a global team of 4,500 employees. He also leads the Dunton Technical Centre in Essex and is a member of the Board of Ford of Britain.

Graham’s background in Powertrain Engineering spans 25 years. Until 2012 he was the Executive Director for Powertrain Engineering, Ford in Europe. Products delivered at this time included the Company's Ecoboost engine, awarded the accolade of International Engine of the Year in 2012. He was Director of Powertrain Research & Advanced Engineering for Ford Motor Company, based in Dearborn, Michigan USA, for four years.

He previously led Powertrain Engineering at Land Rover and was Chief Engineer for the BMW Group in Munich. The University’s Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre has collaborated with Ford on engine and transmission research for many years. Graham was instrumental in approving the Ford ‘Blue Oval Scholarships’ to help develop the next generation of engineers and scientists, and Bath was one of 12 universities selected to receive awards.

He has a first degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters degree in Engineering Business Management from the University of Warwick.

Graham received the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.


Professor Ann Buchanan MBE

Professor Ann Buchanan MBEAnn Buchanan is Professor of Social Work and Fellow of St Hilda's College at the University of Oxford.

In 2012 she received an MBE for services to social science and has been at the forefront of developing research that incorporates the perspectives of children and young people. Before joining the University of Oxford she was Director of the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children. She spent ten years working as a child psychiatric social worker in an inner urban area, prior to entering academic life in 1990.

Her research focuses on children at risk of social exclusion and ways of maximizing their potential and she has fostered the development of better policies and professional support for children and young people. She was appointed to the Council of the Economic & Social Research Council in 2007 and chaired the group responsible for updating the organisation’s Framework for Research Ethics, and its Evaluation Committee. She became an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2009 and was appointed to the Council of the Academy in 2011. She is a trustee of a number of charities and foundations.

Professor Buchanan became a mature student at Bath, completing a postgraduate diploma in 1980 without a first degree. She went on to practise as a professional social worker in child guidance and to complete a part time doctorate at Southampton University.

Professor Buchanan received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Dr Colin Murray-Parkes OBE 

Dr Colin Murray-Parkes OBEDr Colin Murray-Parkes is described as the world’s most influential bereavement researcher and practice developer. In 1996 he was awarded an OBE for his services to bereaved people.

He is emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist to St Christopher's Hospice, Sydenham. Since his retirement from the National Health Service at the age of 65 he has spent twenty years working with communities in trauma including Rwanda, New York after 9/11, and most recently survivors of the Japanese tsunami. He uses his expertise to help local communities galvanise their own resources.

During his career he challenged the idea that psychiatry is only for the mentally ill, collaborating with social workers to develop innovative volunteer programs, which he saw as community-based preventive psychiatry. He advised Cruse Bereavement Care, helping it pioneer the use of volunteers on a large scale and is Life President of the organisation. Recently, work has focused on prolonged grief disorder, traumatic bereavements (with special reference to violent deaths, armed conflict, and the cycle of violence) and on the roots in the attachments of childhood of the psychiatric problems that can follow the loss of attachments in adult life.

He has written and edited numerous publications on psychological aspects of bereavement, amputation and other life crises.

Dr Murray-Parkes received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws


Beatrice Mtetwa

Beatrice MtetwaBeatrice Mtetwa is a human rights lawyer known worldwide for championing human rights and free speech in Zimbabwe. She is particularly noted for her defence of arrested journalists and human rights workers, both local and international, who have spoken out against the country’s political situation.

Her challenging of the system has led to arrest, beatings and assault by the Zimbabwe police. Her bravery and integrity in defending freedom of the press have led to her recognition internationally through many awards, including the  Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, the International Human Rights award of the American Bar Association, and the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Beatrice was born in a village in Swaziland and was the first of her family to go to high school. She went to university in August 1976 at the University of Botswana and Swaziland, studying law. In 1981 she started work as a prosecutor in Swaziland, before moving to Zimbabwe in 1983.

She initially worked for the government but disillusioned by the process of prosecution she joined a law firm renowned for its defence of human rights. She is hailed as one of Africa's heroes for her principled and courageous commitment to upholding the rule of law.

She has inspired a generation of Zimbabwean lawyers, both through her courtroom work and her leadership of the Zimbabwe Law Society.

Beatrice received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Andrew Moss

Andrew MossAndrew Moss is Global Human Resources Director of GKN Driveline. This is a global business employing in excess of 23,000 people worldwide with 53 facilities and a turnover of £3.4 billion. GKN Driveline is a major first tier supplier to the automotive industry and a recognised industry leader.

Andrew joined GKN in 1994 following careers with the National Health Service, Clarks Shoes, BP and others in general management, manufacturing, and HR roles. Initially working in the Aerospace side of the business as HR Director, he was involved in the growth of the Aerospace structures business, and the wider helicopters and defence business through a period of major restructuring.

Andrew also participated in the strategic creation of the Defence Procurement Agency. In 1999 he was appointed the Corporate Head of Employment and Development for the GKN Group. The company funds a Chair of Engineering at the University and Andrew has enthusiastically shared his and GKN’s knowledge and experience with individual students and practitioners.

He has opened GKN to University research which has been shared with senior managers from the private and public sector and published in books and world class academic journals. The dissemination of this research has benefited management students and practitioners and contributed to academic scholarship and improvements in management practice around the world.

Andrew received the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration.