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Celebrating academic achievement at Teesside University

03 July 2024


A champion for justice and education, an energy entrepreneur, a successful businesswoman, a sculpture park founder, and an influential figure in politics will all be honoured alongside thousands of students during Teesside University’s academic awards this month.

Honorary graduates 2024
Honorary graduates 2024

Honorary doctorates will be bestowed on Lady Diana Brittan DBE, Octopus Energy founder Greg Jackson CBE, businesswoman Sue Kiddle, the founding director emeritus of Yorkshire Sculpture Park Sir Peter Murray CBE, and political adviser Michael Henson.

They will join around 6,000 Teesside University students as they celebrate academic achievement during a total of 20 graduation ceremonies to be held at the campus over two weeks, from Tuesday, 9 July to Thursday, 18 July.

The ceremonies, taking place over seven days, will honour graduates from the School of Arts & Creative Industries, School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, School of Health & Life Sciences, School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, and Teesside University International Business School.

An academic procession will leave The Curve building 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.

Achievement will be celebrated at all levels, from Certificate of Higher Education, through to PhD. Graduates will receive their awards from Teesside University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Paul Croney OBE.

Professor Croney said: “Graduation is always a special time in the University’s academic year. We are extremely proud of our students and look forward to seeing each of them celebrate their achievements and share their success with friends and family.

“I am also delighted to be welcoming five exceptional people who will receive honorary degrees this year. Each of them has made their mark in their own professions, and I am sure they will inspire our graduates who are about to embark on their own career journeys.”

Sir Peter Murray CBE – Honorary Doctor of Arts. Tuesday 9 July

Middlesbrough-born Sir Peter Murray is the Founding Director Emeritus of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Sir Peter studied fine art and education, before progressing into academia, while continuing to exhibit his own work. In 1977 he founded Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture and the largest of its kind in Europe. As well as winning numerous awards, the park has hosted major exhibitions from artists all over the world.

Lady Diana Brittan DBE - Honorary Doctor of Civil Law. Thursday 11 July

Lady Diana Brittan has championed fairness, justice and equality through her career in a range of influential public roles. From joining the City of London bench as a magistrate in the 1980s, she went on to lead the Equal Opportunities Commission as Deputy Chair, and the National Lottery Community Fund as Chair. She has also undertaken other notable positions throughout her career including Chair of the Runnymede Trust, Trustee of the Open University Foundation, and Trustee and former Chair of Rathbone Training. A long-time advocate and supporter of scholarships at Teesside University, Lady Brittan continues to dedicate her time to support vulnerable people through a homelessness charity for women in south London, whilst also championing education programmes through philanthropy.

Greg Jackson CBE – Honorary Doctor of Business Administration. Thursday 11 July

Greg Jackson is an entrepreneur and businessman, and the Founder of Octopus Energy Group, a global energy and technology company specialising in sustainable energy which serves 7.2 million customers across 18 countries. Having spent part of his childhood in Saltburn, Greg studied Economics at Cambridge University, before going on to own and manage businesses as a serial tech entrepreneur. He is an angel investor in a wide range of start-ups and is a key thought leader in the UK on issues related to energy transition, energy costs and innovation.

Michael Henson - Honorary Doctor of Civil Law. Monday 15 July

Michael Henson has over 30 years political experience, including advisory roles to city and metro mayors, as well as members of the House of Lords. Since 2019 he has been Chair of the UK2070 Commission’s Teesside Taskforce, which was established to explore the potential of freeports, steel, hydrogen and the wider net zero agenda to boost opportunities for people across the Tees Valley. He is currently Associate Director in the Central and Local Government Parliamentary Policy Team at Turner & Townsend, where he is responsible for the Government Insights and Intelligence briefing programme for the business. He became an Honorary Professor at Teesside University in 2022 and remains an engaged advocate for the institution.

Sue Kiddle – Honorary Doctor of Business Administration. Thursday 18 July

Middlesbrough-born Sue Kiddle is a successful businesswoman, with over 25 years experience in corporate banking. She has undertaken a variety of senior change management roles in the financial services sector in the UK and overseas, moving into consultancy 16 years ago and coaching executive leaders, sales managers and individuals to grow and perform to their maximum potential. A former governor of Teesside University and a current Trustee of Teesside University Students’ Union, Sue continues to dedicate her time to her local community, acting as magistrate and mentor lead for new magistrates in Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington.

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