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Honorary Degrees and Fellowships

Honorary Doctorates 2017

An honorary degree is one of higher education’s most significant accolades. They are awarded on a selective basis to distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for achievement and distinction in a field or activity connected with the mission of the University.

Holders of honorary degrees provide inspiration to students, as examples of success in a variety of ways. They also enhance the University’s profile on a national and international stage.

In 2017, the University of Worcester awarded honorary doctorates to:

University Fellowships 2017

A University Fellowship is bestowed upon persons of distinction or those who have rendered significant service to the University or to the community. Fellows join the University’s College of Fellows, which provides opportunities for the individual to support the University in ways that reflect their particular areas of expertise and experience, be that providing work placement opportunities for students, or guest lecturing, among many other ways. They serve as Ambassadors for the University, enhancing the University’s influence in the national and international communities.

In 2017, the University Fellowships were bestowed upon:


Laura Bates BEM

Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality from across the world.

She writes regularly for The Guardian, The New York Times, TIME magazine, the Independent and others. She was the recipient of the Georgina Henry Award at the 2015 British Press Awards.

Laura was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and was named a Woman of the Year by The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan, and Red magazine. Her first book, Everyday Sexism, was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year and the Political Book Awards Polemic of the Year. .

Clare Balding OBE

Winner of the BAFTA Special Award and RTS Presenter of the Year Award for her expert coverage of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Clare Balding is one of Britain’s leading broadcasters.

She has worked on various sporting fixtures, including six Olympic Games, five Paralympic Games and four Winter Olympic Games.

Clare has been named Sports Presenter of the Year at the TRIC Awards, and Racing Journalist of the Year. She has been awarded the special achievement award at the Women in Film and Television awards for her work on the Olympics and Paralympics, and been praised for “perfect presentation” by the judges of the Broadcast Awards.

Rob Behrens CBE

Rob Behrens is Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK. He holds non-executive positions at UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admission Service) and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. He is Chair of ENOHE, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education, and a Visiting Professor at University College London.

He worked in international development, including notable work on the South African transformation from apartheid – a role for which he was thanked personally by Nelson Mandela. Rob was made a CBE for ‘services to higher education’ in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List.

Peter Florence MBE

Peter Florence is the Director of the Hay Festival, which he founded in 1988. He has also launched similar festivals across the world, including Cartagena, Nairobi, Dhaka, and at the Alhambra Palace.

Peter has co-edited three volumes of children’s stories launched in support of the charity Oxfam – Oxtales, Oxtravels, and OxCrimes, and he is a member of the European Union’s EFFE Jury (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) that determines which festivals across the continent will receive the EFFE Label and which qualify for the EFFE Awards.

Kathyryn Gutteridge

Kathryn Gutteridge is a Consultant Midwife and current President of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

Kathryn has worked in many diverse settings, including neonatal services and community midwifery. For the last fifteen years she has worked as a Consultant Midwife, first at Leicester, and now with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

Kathryn has a global reputation for excellence in her field. She has published widely and been invited to share her expertise as far afield as Australia, Dubai, Israel and Sweden.

Idris Khan OBE

Idris Khan is an internationally celebrated artist. His work investigates memory, creativity and the layering of experience, and ranges across a variety of media – from sculpture to painting and photography.

Idris has undertaken commissions for the British Museum and New York Times Magazine, and his major commission for a permanent public monument in Abu Dhabi’s Memorial Park was unveiled last year.

Rufus Norris

Rufus Norris became the Director of the National Theatre in 2015, having been an Associate Director there since 2011. Most recently he has directed Mosquitoes, a new play by Lucy Kirkwood, and My Country: a Work in Progress, a verbatim response to the EU referendum.

Rufus Norris’ debut feature film Broken, premiered at Cannes in 2012 and won Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards in 2013. His film of London Road was released in June 2015 and the TV film of My Country was aired on BBC2 in November 2017.

Mike Ashton

Mike Ashton was CEO of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce from 2007 until his retirement in 2017. Since retiring from the Chamber, Mike has continued to support enterprise and economic development in the region through his role as Inward Investment Ambassador for the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle is an award winning teacher and broadcaster, an education consultant, public speaker, author and columnist.

He has a long history of delivering transformational English results in schools in challenging circumstances. He was named Secondary Teacher of the Year at the National Teaching Awards, and won London Secondary Teacher of the Year in the same year.

Rev’d Canon Dr Georgina Byrne

Georgina Byrne is a Residentiary Canon of Worcester Cathedral and was, in January 2017, appointed as a Chaplain to The Queen.

A scholar of great distinction, Georgina initially studied Theology at Trinity College, Oxford, before completing an MPhil.

In 2010, Georgina published a book entitled Modern Spiritualism, based on her PhD  thesis.

Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is an award-winning theatre producer and an influential figure in the realm of the digital arts. She is currently working as Director of Digital Development for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In 2013 Sarah was listed in the top 100 most influential people working in Gaming and Technology. She recently produced Midsummer Night’s Dreaming – a digital theatre project – in partnership with Google’s Creative Lab, which won two Lovie Awards for Innovation and Experimentation.

Ruth FitzSimons

Ruth FitzSimons is a member of the governing Board of the Lord’s Taverners, a national charity dedicated to giving disadvantaged and disabled young people a chance to engage in sport and recreational activities within the community. Ruth is currently serving as Chair of the Charitable Programmes National Committee for the Taverners, which distributes over £3m annually.

His Honour Judge Toby Hooper QC

His Honour Toby Hooper QC was a Circuit Judge assigned to the Crown, County and Family Courts at Worcester and Hereford in 2007. He retired in 2016, and later that same year was appointed an Honorary Freeman of the City of Hereford. Since retirement, Judge Hooper has taken on roles as a Governor of Worcester Sixth Form College and as a trustee of Worcester Live.

Petr Horácek

Petr Horácek is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator.

Petr’s books have been translated into many different languages, delighting eager readers and garnering acclaim on the international stage. His work has won awards in the UK, USA, and Holland.

Ronan Treacy MBChB, MD, FRCS, Final FRCS, FRCSOrth

Ronan Treacy was born into a medical family in Birmingham where his father was a GP for 40 years. In 1983 he qualified from Birmingham Medical School and developed an early interest in research and trauma surgery.

Ronan was appointed to the staff of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in 1994. He ran the Revision Hip Surgery Service for nearly ten years.

For the past decade, in addition to a busy clinical practice, Ronan Treacy has taught, lectured and operated around the world and performed televised surgeries in France, Canada, India and the US.

Julie Swan

Julie Swan is the Executive Director of General Qualifications at Ofqual – the qualifications and exams regulator for England.

Before joining Ofqual she was the Head of Education and Training at the Law Society for England and Wales, where she was responsible for regulating solicitors’ education and training. Julie served as an independent member of the Board of Governors at the University of Worcester from 2008-2017.