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Honours for notable nine in Teesside’s University’s 80th

09 November 2010 @TeesUniNews


Distinguished journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant and historical novelist Philippa Gregory are two of nine leading figures being awarded honorary degrees from Teesside University.

The nine honorary degrees will be awarded during the University’s annual academic awards ceremonies at Middlesbrough Town Hall, which take place from Monday 15 November to Friday 19 November.

This year’s ceremonies are a very special occasion, as they fall during the University’s 80th anniversary year. Middlesbrough’s Constantine College was officially opened in 1930, later evolving into Teesside Polytechnic and finally Teesside University, which was awarded the accolade of University of the Year by The Times Higher magazine in 2009.

Professor Graham Henderson, Teesside University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: 'We are delighted to be honouring nine such diverse and distinguished individuals in the year the University celebrates its 80th anniversary.'

For the first time, three honorary degrees are to be awarded separately on the Monday and Tuesday, to successful individuals who have already achieved honorary degrees from Teesside. They are returning to receive higher degrees in recognition of their further achievements. The first three graduands to receive their degrees from the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Henderson, are:

Marek Reichman (Doctor in Professional Achievement) Marek Reichman first received an honorary Master of Science degree from Teesside in 2006. He is Aston Martin’s design director and has designed some of Aston Martin’s most iconic brands. Marek is a graduate of the University’s BA (Hons) Industrial Design and he regularly returns to the campus to meet and inspire the next generation of design students. Marek will be awarded his Doctorate at the conclusion of the 1.15pm ceremony on Monday 15 November from the School of Arts & Media, the academic school from where he first graduated in 1989.

Mackenzie Thorpe (Doctor of Arts)

Mackenzie is a Middlesbrough-born artist with an internationally renowned body of work, drawing on the Tees Valley and the voyages of James Cook for much of his paintings. His most recent exhibition, inspired by Cook, is currently on show at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough. He first received an honorary Master of Arts from Teesside in 2000 and will be awarded his Doctorate at the conclusion of the 4pm ceremony on Monday 15 November, again from the School of Arts & Media.

Andy Lomas (Doctor in Professional Achievement)

Andy achieved a master’s degree in computer graphics from Teesside and has gone on to achieve international success in this field. His work has been on the small and big screen in the award-winning Walking with Dinosaurs and The Matrix. While employed by the Framestore studio, he was one of the computer graphics supervisors working on the triple-Oscar-winning Avatar, directed by James Cameron. He now works for The Foundry, a leading UK company for writing software for use in visual effects. Andy first received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Teesside in 2004 and has returned as a guest speaker at the University’s annual international festival of animation and computer games, Animex. He will receive his Doctorate on Tuesday 16 November at 10.15am, from the School of Computing, where he first graduated from in 1992.

The remaining six honorary degrees will be awarded on Friday 19 November at Middlesbrough Town Hall, at the conclusion of the 11am ceremony. They will receive their degrees from the University’s Chancellor, Lord Sawyer of Darlington.

John Sergeant (Doctor of Letters)

John Sergeant is a distinguished television and radio journalist, broadcaster and political author. After Oxford University he started his career by studying journalism at the University’s partner Darlington College. His career highlights include roles as the BBC’s Chief political correspondent for eight years and as ITN’s political editor. After retiring from political journalism, his TV appearances included chairing Have I Got News For You and a surprise stint as a celebrity contestant on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Philippa Gregory (Doctor of Letters)

Phillipa Gregory is the best-selling author of historical novels who now lives on the North York Moors. She holds a doctorate in 18th-century history and early in her career lectured at Teesside University. Her many novels include A Respectable Trade, adapted by the BBC and The Other Boleyn Girl, adapted again for television by the BBC, and later as a Hollywood film starring Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. Her TV appearances include being a Tudor expert on Channel 4’s Time Team. She also runs a small charity which builds wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Steve Cochrane (Doctor of Business Administration) Teesside graduate Steve Cochrane is the managing director of Psyche, the internationally renowned designer clothing store, first founded in 1982. The Psyche store is based in central Middlesbrough and has established an expanding global customer base, gaining customers in the USA, Japan and Australia. Steve has an unreserved commitment to the Tees Valley, as shown by his investment in Middlesbrough.

Dan Walker (Doctor in Professional Achievement)

Teesside Industrial Design graduate Dan Walker is a successful concept artist, described by him as the combination of a designer and illustrator. Dan’s talent has been viewed on TV and the big screen, ranging from the two Christian Bale Batman films, to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Golden Compass and the 2005 and 2010 series of Doctor Who. This year his work was seen in Ridley Scott’s new version of Robin Hood and the Disney film The Prince of Persia.

Pete Widlinski (Doctor of Laws)

Pete Widlinski is a long-standing Teesside resident who makes an untiring contribution to the most vulnerable in our society. He is the information and communications manager for the North of England Refugee Service, and was its Tees Valley Area Manager for 14 years. He is also a former secretary of the North East Coalition for Asylum Rights, an organisation he established in 1992 and has kept alive since then. Pete is also a trustee of the Mary Thompson Fund, a body that seeks to alleviate asylum seeker hardship.

In addition, Pete is the director and founding member of Justice First, a charity that assists people refused asylum, and a director of Show Racism the Red Card, the anti-racist campaign using football and footballers as positive anti-racist role models. Pete also recently won the Tees Valley BME Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rona Fairhead (Doctor of Business Administration)

Rona Fairhead is the chief executive of the Financial Times Group, one of the most senior positions in British publishing. She is a Cambridge and Harvard Business School graduate and a non-executive director of HSBC. Rona spent many years working in the Tees Valley as executive vice-president for Strategy and Finance of ICI.

In the News

The collar of money
Northern Echo (North Edition), 25/01/2011, p.26
Focus on Steve Cochrane, owner of award-winning designer store Psyche, who was made an honorary Doctor of Business Administration at Teesside University last year.

University bestows honours on leading lights
Darlington & Stockton Times, 03/12/2010, p.25
Television journalist John Sergeant and writer Philippa Gregory were among notable individuals receiving honorary degrees from Teesside University.

I owe it all to Darlington
Herald & Post, 26/11/2010, p.3
Journalist John Sergeant, who was among Teesside University's recent honorary graduates, said he 'owes his success' to Darlington, where he studied journalism at the University's partner Darlington Co

The six degrees
Herald & Post, 25/11/2010, p.22
Television journalist John Sergeant was among six individuals to receive an honorary degree from Teesside University.

University honours leading lights
Northern Echo (Web), 20/11/2010; Stockton & Billingham Herald & Post, 25/11/2010, p.24
Luminaries from areas including the arts, retail and asylum rights have been honoured for their achievements by Teesside university. They are John Sergeant, Marek Reichmann, Andy Lomas, Mackenzie Thor

John Sergeant honoured by Teesside University
BBC Radio Tees, 19/11/2010; (Web), 22/11/2010
BBC journalist John Sergeant received a Honorary Doctorate from Teesside University.

University honours leading lights
Northern Echo (North Edition), 20/11/2010, p.12; Middlesbrough Herald & Post, 18/11/2010, p.6
Teesside University has awarded honorary degrees to a number of luminaries including journalist John Sergeant, historical novelist Philippa Gregory and car designer Marek Reichmann.

A doctor of design
Evening Gazette (Teesside), 17/11/2010, p.16
Andy Lomas, who graduated from Teesside University with a masters in computer graphics, has paid tribute to the university for putting him on the road to success that has led to him working on Avatar

Trio awarded second honour
Chester Chronicle (Web), 16/11/2010; Gazette Live (Web), 16/11/2010
Andy Lomas, who has a Master's from Teesside University and received an honorary Master of Art in 2004 has now received a Doctor in Professional Achievement.

Strictly honoured
Stockton & Billingham Herald & Post, 11/11/2010, p.4
Former Teesside University lecturer Phillipa Gregory has been rewarded with an honorary degree from the institution. Overall, the university distributed nine honorary qualifications during Academic Aw

80 years of achievements celebrated
Northern Echo (North Edition), 15/11/2010, p.36
Teesside University's annual academic awards ceremony will take place at Middlesbrough Town Hall. The University began as Constantine Technical College in 1930, in 1969 it became Teesside Polytechnic

Strictly honoured
Herald & Post, 11/11/2010, p.4
Teesside University is honouring nine notable figures with Honorary Degrees during its Academic Awards week. Among them is journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant, who appeared on popular BBC televis

Dancing star to be given uni honour
Evening Gazette (Teesside), 09/11/2010, p.4; Gazette Live (Web), 09/11/2010;
ITN political editor John Sergeant is among nine people who will receive honorary degrees at this year's Teesside University graduation ceremonies.

Sergeant's degree
The Journal (Newcastle Upon Tyne), 09/11/2010, p.8
Journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant will be among nine people receiving honorary degrees from the University of Teesside later this month.