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Celebrating graduation at Teesside University

03 July 2017 @TeesUniNews


An Olympic gold medallist, an acclaimed actress, a renowned computer games writer and a local self-made businessman will be honoured during this summer’s Teesside University graduation ceremonies.

Katherine Copeland MBE.
Katherine Copeland MBE.

Honorary doctorates will be bestowed on Katherine Copeland MBE, Nas Khan OBE, Rhianna Pratchett and Dame Penelope Wilton.

They will join 3,000 Teesside University graduates who will celebrate their academic achievements from Monday 17 July to Friday 21 July. A total of 11 ceremonies will take place on the University campus during five days of academic celebrations.

Achievement at all levels, from Certificate of Higher Education, through to PhD will be celebrated in a wide variety of courses. Students from regional further education college partners who have completed Teesside University awards will also be graduating.

An academic procession will leave The Curve before each ceremony, with proceedings shown on the big screen in the Campus Heart, as well as in the Students’ Union in the centre of the campus.

Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor of Teesside University, said: 'Graduation is a special time of year and a fantastic celebration of the academic success of our students.

'I am delighted to be awarding honorary degrees to a group of people who have set remarkable standards in their chosen profession. I am sure their stories of hard work, dedication and achievement will help to inspire our students who are graduating throughout the week.'

Nas Khan OBE, Honorary Doctor of Business Administration: Nas arrived in Britain aged 14 unable to speak English. He went on to become Managing Director of one of the North East’s longest established, privately-owned and independent motor retailers – Jennings Motor Group. Nas has won many accolades including an OBE for his charity work and contribution to the economy, and has been involved in setting up his own charity and fundraising appeal, The Emaan Foundation, which has recently funded the rebuilding of an entire village in Pakistan following the devastating floods of 2010.

Rhianna Pratchett, Honorary Doctor of Arts: Rhianna is an award-winning writer for games, comics, film, TV and short stories. Her love affair with games evolved through her work as a journalist for PC Zone and The Guardian. She has worked on titles including Heavenly Sword, Mirror’s Edge, Overlord and Tomb Raider. Her work has received awards from the Writers’ Guild of America, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, DICE, SXSW and a BAFTA nomination. She is currently writing film and TV projects with the Jim Henson Company, Film4 and O3 Productions.

Dame Penelope Wilton, Honorary Doctor of Arts: Dame Penelope was born in Scarborough and has had a successful and varied career in film and television. She has also worked extensively for over 50 years in the classical theatre. Her film career includes roles in The BFG, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Calendar Girls and Shaun of the Dead. Penelope’s television acting career included several major TV roles starring opposite Richard Briers in Ever Decreasing Circles, playing Homily in The Borrowers and, more recently, for her role as Isobel Crawley in the ITV drama Downton Abbey. In 2015 Penelope won an Olivier Award for her performance in Taken at Midnight.

Katherine Copeland MBE, Honorary Doctor of Civil Laws: Katherine learned to row on the River Tees at just 14. In 2011 she won a gold medal at the U23 World Championships with a world record time before being one of the first ever British women to win a rowing gold medal at an Olympic Games. She has since broken the world record in the lightweight double scull, won several gold medals at the World Rowing Cup series, a silver medal at the World Championships in 2015 and represented Team GB in Rio in 2016.

In the News

Teesside University
Northern Echo, 20/07/2017; Evening Gazette, 20/07/2017
The students of the School of Health and Social Care are being honoured at the graduation celebrations at Teesside University.

Teesside Olympic hero among the names to be awarded an honorary degree at Teesside University
Gazette Live, 03/07/2017; Northern Echo (web), 04/07/2017; Northern Echo, 04/07/2017; Evening Gazette, 05/07/2017
An honorary doctorate will be bestowed on Kat Copeland MBE, who won a gold medal in the London Games in 2012. Nas Khan OBE, Rhianna Pratchett and Dame Penelope Wilton will be awarded too.