Honorary graduates

Honorary Graduates from Teesside University

Each year we confer honorary awards upon individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievement in their field, their contribution to the region or society or service to the University.

Recipients come from the worlds of science, art, academia, industry, politics, medicine, entertainment and include former staff and students. Honorary graduates include Steve McClaren, Richard Griffiths, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Ray Harryhausen.

The honorary awards are conferred at the final awards ceremony of Academic Awards week, in November each year.

2017 Honorary Graduates



Katherine Copeland, MBEKatherine Copeland, MBE, Honorary Doctor of Civil Law

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.

Nas Khan, OBENas 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 funded the rebuilding of an entire village in Pakistan following the devastating floods of 2010.

Rhianna PratchettRhianna 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 WiltonDame 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.