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Sir Stuart Lipton
Sir Stuart Lipton
Professor Sir David Watson
Professor Sir David Watson

Internal News - 07 December 2005

University of Bath completes degree award ceremonies

The University of Bath awards degrees and other qualifications to around 600 students at two ceremonies at the Assembly Rooms today. Two honorary degrees will also be awarded.

Students from the departments of Economics & International Development, European Studies & Modern Languages, Social & Policy Sciences, and also students taking HNC/HND courses at the City of Bath College, Salisbury College, Swindon College and Wiltshire College will receive their degrees and qualifications at the ceremonies at 10-30am and 2-30pm.

The two honorary graduates are:

• Sir Stuart Lipton is the founder and Chairman of the property company Stanhope. The company has won over 60 awards for design and construction excellence and is responsible for major developments including Broadgate in the City of London. From 1999-2005 he was Chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, promoting high standards in building design. He has served on important architectural bodies such as the Royal Fine Art Commission. He will receive the degree of Doctor of Laws.

• Professor Sir David Watson is a champion of lifelong learning (previously know as adult education), and wrote the seminal publication Managing the Modular Course. Professor Watson has sat on the Higher Education Funding Council (England), enabling him to contribute widely to developments in the UK higher education. From 1994 to 1998 he was elected chair of the Universities Association for Continuing Education, providing sound leadership to achieve a compromise between the former polytechnics and old universities. He will receive the degree of Doctor of Education.

The University awarded degrees to around 900 students at three ceremonies at the Assembly Rooms yesterday. Three honorary degrees were awarded to: Dr Brian Ford, founder of the Numerical Algorithms Group; Simon Murray, who pioneered the mobile phone system Orange; and Jacqueline Wilson, the children's author.

In his oration, Professor Hugh Lauder said that Jacqueline Wilson, the creator of the Tracy Beaker character, was “the children’s laureate”.

“She is the most prominent young person’s writer in Britain and much of the Anglophone world, having written more than 90 books and sold more than 20 million copies,” he said.

“As importantly, she has given a voice to a generation of young women who have identified with her characters and the traumas and challenges that they experience.”

In her speech, Jacqueline Wilson said she was “pleased and proud” to be given the honorary degree by the University in the city where she was born and lived for the first few years of her life.

“I can truthfully claim this splendid city has helped me to be a writer,” she said.

This was not because of the splendour of its architecture or museums, “but for a much more prosaic reason” that her parents had needed to read to her to keep her quiet while living in digs in the city, as the landlady wanted peace and quiet.

Ms Wilson said before she could read she used to pore over the books that her parents had bought for her and began to make up stories about the pictures in them “and I’ve been making up stories ever since.” She found one of the best parts of her job was receiving 500 letters from children each week.

In his opening speech, the Chancellor, Lord Tugendhat, said: “The University of Bath is looking forward to celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2006.

“By the standards of many of our peers which were founded hundreds of yeas ago we are still a very young institution and we reflect the energy, ambition and innovation characteristic of young people.

“We are already playing a significant role furthering the global good by educating students from around the world as the policy maker, innovators and business leaders of the future.”

He said that the University’s “solid foundation of intellectual and physical resources” had brought it “to a position in the top flight of the universities in the UK.” But it was “determined to improve still further” its research and its learning and teaching.