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Professor Judith Howard
Professor Judith Howard
Mr Iain Gilmour Gray
Mr Iain Gilmour Gray
Professor Dame Julia Higgins
Professor Dame Julia Higgins

Internal News - 20 July 2005

Graduation ceremonies continue today at Abbey

The University of Bath’s 2005 summer award ceremonies continue today with around 600 students graduating at the city’s Abbey.

Students from the University’s Departments of Chemical Engineering, Psychology, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Social & Policy Sciences, Architecture & Civil Engineering and Electronic & Electrical Engineering are graduating at three ceremonies during the day.

Honorary doctorates are being awarded to Professor Judith Howard, of the University of Durham, one of the most distinguished academics working in X-ray crystallography; Iain Gilmour Gray, Managing Director of Airbus UK; and Professor Dame Julia Higgins, a past President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and a professor of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College.

Three more ceremonies will be held tomorrow, so that around 1900 students will have graduated by the end.

The ceremonies are all preceded by a public procession of some of the University’s senior officers and academics, presided over by its Chancellor, Lord Tugendhat. The processions begin at the Guildhall, go into the High Street, right into Cheap Street, left down Farrs Passage into the Abbey Churchyard. They return after the ceremonies past Rebecca’s Fountain and into the High Street. These roads will be closed to traffic for about six minutes during the processions, which will occur at approximately 10-25am, 11-40am (return), 2-10pm, 3-30pm (return), 5-10pm and 6-30pm (return) on all three days.

Fuller details of today’s honorary graduates are:

• Judith Howard. Professor Howard is one of the most distinguished academics working in X-ray crystallography, the science of determining the precise three-dimensional atomic structure of molecules by firing X-rays at them and examining the pattern that results. In 1991 Professor Howard took up a post as professor at the University of Durham, which she has turned into one of the world’s leading centres for X-ray crystallography. Her innovative work on low temperature crystallography, looking at how molecules behave at temperatures of around minus 270 Centigrade, has been at the forefront of the field. She received a CBE in 1996 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2002, the UK’s highest science award. She has also had a close relationship with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath. She will receive the degree of Doctor of Science.

• Iain Gilmour Gray. Iain Gray is Managing Director of Airbus UK, which designed and manufactured the wings of the new Airbus A380 double-decker super-jumbo which will redefine long-haul air travel in the next several decades. He began working for British Aerospace in 1979, rising through the ranks in its structures, loads and stress engineering sections before being promoted to Engineering Director in 2000. When Airbus UK was formed as a stand-alone company in 2001 he became its Senior Vice President Engineering before taking up his present role in 2004. He is a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and President of their Bristol branch. One of his hobbies is ‘collecting aeronautical ephemera’. He will receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering.

• Professor Dame Julia Higgins. After a brief period as a school teacher, Dame Julia moved into research in chemical engineering, being appointed a professor at Imperial College in 1989. She has also been President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and is Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). She has also chaired the Committee for Academic Progress of Women and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the UK’s highest science honour. She will receive the degree of Doctor of Science.

Tomorrow’s honorary graduates will be:

• Bruno Buchberger. Professor Buchberger formulated what is now called Buchberger’s algorithm which dealt with the mathematical theory of polynomial ideals. These have a practical value in engineering, robotics, physics, chemistry, economics and biology. Professor Buchberger, who was educated in Innsbruck, Austria, is also the founder of the Research Institute for Symbolic Computation at the Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria. He will receive the degree of Doctor of Science.

• Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Dame Kiri was born in 1944 in Gisborne, New Zealand. By the age of 20, she had won several major vocal prizes in New Zealand before coming to London when she was 22. In the early 1970s she became one of the most acclaimed and popular lyric sopranos and appeared with London's Royal Opera, New York's Metropolitan Opera, the Munich Opera, and other major houses worldwide. She moved rapidly into the front rank of international opera, and has become one of the most famous sopranos of recent times. Her warm voice and stage personality have won her many fans, and she is noted for such roles as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1982.

• U A Fanthorpe. Ursula Fanthorpe left her post as Head of English at Cheltenham Ladies’ College to train as a counsellor, and worked as a secretary, receptionist and hospital clerk in Bristol. She drew upon her experiences for her first published volume of poetry Side Effects (1978). Her poetry has dealt with many themes including love and its absence, and the effects of war, as well as historical themes and personal reminiscences, often with humour. In 2001 she was awarded the CBE for services to poetry and in 2003 the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. She was also the first woman to be nominated for the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry. Throughout all of this her home has been in Gloucestershire, near Bath. She will receive the degree of Doctor of Letters.

Yesterday Sir Martin Evans, a pioneer into research in stem cells, an area of research with crucial importance for health, and Professor Ron Johnston, one of the country’s leading geographers, were given honorary doctorates.