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Honours from the University of the Year

30 November 2009 @TeessideUni


A rock legend, an international author and a Formula 1 engineer were among the distinguished figures who received honorary degrees from the University.

There were five honorary degrees handed out during a special ceremony at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Friday 27 November.

Among the recipients were singer-songwriter Paul Rodgers, who received a Doctor of Letters and The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who received a Doctor of Laws.

All the honorary graduates spoke of their pride at receiving such an accolade in the year Teesside was crowned University of the Year in the Times Higher Awards.

Paul Rodgers said: ‘Middlesbrough is where my roots are. I left when I was 17 and travelled all around the world, but I never dreamed I would be invited back to come and receive a doctorate – I am very, very proud.’

International author Adele Parks, who received a Doctor of Letters, added: ‘It’s just the best year to become part of the Teesside family. University of the Year, it doesn’t get any better than that – it’s absolutely overwhelming.’

Our 2009 honorary graduates are:

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu - Doctor of Laws Dr John Sentamu was appointed in 2005 and is the Archbishop for the area in which Teesside University is located. Dr Sentamu is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda and practiced at the Bar and the Bench before he came to the UK in 1974 to study Theology at Selwyn College Cambridge where he obtained his master’s degree and doctorate. He is an outspoken speaker on a number of issues including modern day slavery, injustice and conflict.

Paul Rodgers – Doctor of Letters Singer-songwriter Paul Rodgers was born in Middlesbrough and the founding member and main songwriter of the bands Free, Bad Company and The Firm with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Since 1968 he has toured internationally and recently as Queen + Paul Rodgers and as a solo artist. He has released 30 albums and sold over 90 million records. He has consistently been voted number one vocalist of all time. He and his wife Cynthia quietly support over 30 varied charities internationally and in 2008 he received the prestigious US Congress Proclamation for his humanitarianism, of only eight awarded.

Rob Smedley – Doctor of Professional Studies Rob Smedley is originally from Normanby, Middlesbrough. He has built an outstanding career as an engineer in Formula 1 racing, first with Peugeot, followed by Williams and Jordan. He moved to work for Ferrari in 2007 and later was appointed as Felipe Massa’s race engineer. He is widely recognised as being one of the most respected engineers in the whole of Formula 1.

Adele Parks - Doctor of Letters Adele comes from Stockton and studied English Language and Literature at Leicester University. She has sold over 1.5m copies of her romantic fiction novels in the UK with nine top ten bestsellers. Adele’s books have been translated into over 15 languages and she was official spokesperson for World Book Day in 2006 and 2007. She is also a supporter of numerous charities.

Trevor Arnold MBE – Doctor of Business Administration Trevor Arnold is the former Managing Director of Thornaby-based K Home International where he spent 21 years securing contracts for Teesside. These contacts included the development of an 800-bed hospital in Abu Dhabi, as well as work on Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel – the world’s second seven-star hotel. Trevor saw the company win two Queen’s Awards for outstanding achievement in international trade.

In the News

I love this town, it's part of who and what I am
Evening Gazette (Teesside), 27/07/2010, p.6
Rob Smedley talks about Middlesbrough, the place where he grew up and comments on receiving his honorary degree from Teesside University in 2009.

One to one
Woman and Home, 01/02/2010, p.159
Novelist Adele Parks mentions in an interview about her life and work that she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Teesside University.