Leading lights in sports, science and fiction honoured in graduation ceremonies

Nine honorary degrees are to be handed out during three days of summer graduation ceremonies.

The honorary degrees are awarded for outstanding achievements spanning the fields of engineering, sports, science, fiction and the civil service.

Novelist Philip Pullman, Ambassador to France Sir Peter Ricketts, former McLaren Formula 1 Team Principal Ron Dennis and local businessman Anthony Best, whose business AB Dynamics is based in Bradford on Avon, are among the luminaries chosen for the accolade.

Top athletics coach Malcolm Arnold, who is based at the University’s Sports Training Village, former elite triathlete Professor Sarah Springman and Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, a former Aeronautical Engineering student from the University, are also to be honoured.

Awards will be handed out to Professor David Spiegalhalter from the University of Cambridge and Professor Michael Otlet, who works for Oxford-based Atkins Ltd.

Mr Malcolm Arnold OBE

Malcolm Arnold is Head Coach for the UK Athletics Regional Performance Centre, based at the University of Bath’s Sports Training Village. In a career that spans 40 years, the athletes he has coached have won more than 60 major championships medals at European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic competitions. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Education.

Mr Anthony Best

Mr Anthony Best is Managing Director of Anthony Best Dynamics (ABD), in Bradford-on-Avon, which has been involved in many prestigious projects, including the design of the McLaren F1, low bandwidth active suspension for Jaguar and Ford and the development of an innovative vibration isolator for pneumatic road breakers.  He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.

Sir Stephen Dalton, GCB, ADC

Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton joined the RAF in 1976 and during his career has flown the Jaguar on three tours, both in Germany and the UK, in tactical reconnaissance and ground attack roles and was deployed on Operation Jural, the UK contribution to Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the No-Fly Zone over Southern Iraq.  He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

Mr Ron Dennis CBE

Ron Dennis is Executive Chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group. Under his direction, McLaren has built upon its reputation as a world beating Formula 1 team, to become a global group of high technology companies, all based at the iconic McLaren Technology Centre.  He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.

Professor Michael Otlet

Professor Michael Otlet works as Regional Director at Atkins Ltd in Oxford  where he has worked on a number of high-profile construction jobs, including the first retractable roof stadium in the UK on the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the Newport City footbridge, an ultra-thin bridge deck which is suspended from masts over the River Usk.  He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.

Mr Philip Pullman CBE, FRSL

Philip Pullman is one of the most critically acclaimed and successful British authors of the past decade whose most famous work is the His Dark Materials trilogy, which won the 1995 Carnegie Medal in Literature. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts.

Sir Peter Ricketts GCMG

Sir Peter Ricketts GCMG is a senior British diplomat and is currently serving as British Ambassador to France.  He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Professor David Spiegelhalter OBE

Professor David Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, and Professor of Biostatistics, at the University of Cambridge and he fronted the 2012 BBC4 programme Tails you win: the science of chance. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

Professor Sarah Springman CBE, FREng

Professor Sarah Springman represented Great Britain at the elite level in triathlon from 1983 to 1993, competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games Triathlon in Auckland, New Zealand and winning 20 elite ETU European Championship medals in triathlon (all distances) and duathlon and is now Professor for Geotechnical Engineering at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.


Looking for information on gown hire, ordering photographs and what to do on the day? See our information for graduands.

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