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Students graduating at the 2005 ceremony
Students graduating at the 2005 ceremony

Press Release - 20 June 2007

Summer degree ceremonies to take place at Bath Abbey next week

The University of Bath’s 2007 summer degree award ceremonies take place next week, with some 2,000 students expected to attend at the city’s Abbey.

The ten ceremonies will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (June 26-28), and honorary graduates include Dr Edward Gilby of the Royal United Hospital, Bath, Professor Michael Dickson, one of the founders of Buro Happold, the worldwide engineering firm started in Bath and Ray Kelvin, the entrepreneur who set up the Ted Baker retail empire.

The ceremonies will all be preceded by a public procession of some of the University’s senior officers and academics, presided over by its Chancellor, Lord Tugendhat.

The processions will begin at the Guildhall, go into the High Street, right into Cheap Street, left down Farrs Passage into the Abbey Churchyard. They will 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 9-55am, 11-15am (return), 12-25pm, 1-45pm (return), 2-55pm and 4-15pm (return) on all three days, and on Wednesday an extra ceremony will have processions at 5-25pm and 6-45pm (return).

Professor Dickson is an expert in the field of structural and architectural engineering. He and seven others set up the UK-based consulting engineers Buro Happold in 1976 in Bath, becoming Chairman from 1996 to 2005. The firm now has 14 offices in seven countries and employs over 1,400 staff.

Its recent designs include the Emirates Stadium for Arsenal Football Club and the Ascot Racecourse. Professor Dickson has been Chair of the Construction Industry Council and has worked for sustainable development for many years. He has regularly tutored students in the University’s Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering for many years. He will receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering at the 10am ceremony on Thursday.

In his oration before an audience of 700 people, Professor Tim Ibell, Head of the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, will say “Michael has exceptional commitment to the profession of engineering and to the education of our future engineers.”

Dr Gilby, Consultant Oncologist at the Royal United Hospital, is an eminent and experienced oncologist who has helped create the Bath Cancer Unit Appeal at the RUH, which has raised nearly £1 million to install equipment to treat a range of cancers. Dr Gilby was Clinical Director of Medicine at the RUH for ten years.

Dr Semali Perera, of the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, will in her oration during the ceremony at 12-30pm on Tuesday, describe Dr Gilby as having made “extensive contributions to cancer care”. Dr Perera and Dr Gilby are working on a system to give chemotherapy to cancer sufferers through implanted fibres rather than injections. Dr Gilby receives a Doctor of Science award.

Mr Kelvin, who receives his degree at 3pm on Wednesday, started his first business in 1975, before launching his global designer brand of clothing in 1988 from a shop in Glasgow. The business is now worth around £300 million and there are Ted Baker stores on every continent and in most major cities around the world.

Ged Roddy, the University’s Director of Sport, will say that Mr Kelvin, a keen sports fan, has greatly helped the University’s sports scholarship programme, and is a frequent visitor to the University’s sports events. “The Ted Baker phenomenon is founded upon sound business principles and underpinned by a strong ethical approach,” Mr Roddy will say. Mr Kelvin receives a Doctor of Business Administration degree.

Other honorary graduates include:

• Professor Rod Morgan, who has worked prominently in the field of criminology as a researcher, reformer and worker for social justice. He spent most of the 1970s and 1980s as a lecturer on criminology and social policy at the University of Bath and sat as a magistrate in the city. He then went to the University of Bristol, where he was a professor and Dean of the Law Faculty. In 2001 he was made Chief Inspector of Probation and then in 2004 Chair of the Youth Justice Board until his resignation earlier this year. He receives a degree of Doctor of Laws at the 3pm ceremony on Tuesday.

• Professor John Willis, who has contributed extensively to the science of solid mechanics, particularly in the areas of composite materials, the propagation and growth of cracks, and anisotropic materials such as crystal and wood, which are stronger in one direction than another. He has written more than 220 research papers on these areas. Professor Willis joined the University of Bath in 1972 as Professor of Applied Mathematics and became Head of the then School of Mathematics before returning to Cambridge University in 1994. Professor Willis is the originator of the John Willis award, an internal prize for excellence in teaching. This prize is awarded annually, and this year will be presented to Dr Eric Anderson from the Department of Education for accomplishment in research combined with a significant contribution to teaching, including pastoral support for students. Professor Willis was also Chairman of the Sports Committee at the University of Bath for 14 years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society. He receives a Doctor of Science degree at the 10am ceremony on Wednesday.

• Sergio Viaggio became a translator for the United Nations, writing theoretical papers on the subject, and was appointed Chief Interpreter with the UN Office in Vienna in 1991 holding the post until recently. He receives a degree of Doctor of Letters at the 3pm ceremony on Thursday.

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