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Philip Williamson
Philip Williamson
Lord Joffe
Lord Joffe

Press Release - 11 December 2006

Swindon figures to receive honorary degrees at the University of Bath

Philip Williamson, Chief Executive of Nationwide Building Society, and Lord Joel Joffe CBE, former human rights lawyer, who lives near Swindon, will be awarded honorary degrees by the University of Bath this week.

Mr Williamson will receive the degree of Doctor of Business Administration on Tuesday 12 December at a ceremony in the Bath Assembly Rooms at 2.30pm. Lord Joffe will receive the degree of Doctor of Laws on Wednesday 13 December at a ceremony at 2.30pm.

Mr Williamson is the Chief Executive of the Nationwide Building Society. He ensured that it kept its mutual status and did not convert to a public limited company, as many other building societies have done. Membership has grown dramatically under his leadership and he has campaigned against unacceptable practices in the financial services. He has also championed community activity by businesses, including the Nationwide’s support for a children’s charity.

Lord Joffe represented Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia trial in 1963 and 1964 when ten leaders of the African National Congress were tried for activities designed to “ferment violent revolution”.

In 1965 he settled in the UK and worked as a policy checker with Abbey Life Assurance in London, before co-founding the financial services company Allied Dunbar. His concern for human rights is reflected in his work as former chair of Oxfam and with other charities, and he has also campaigned for voluntary euthanasia. He lives in Liddington, south-east of Swindon.

In all there will be six ceremonies on December 12 and December 13, at which 600 students will receive their degree awards.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: