Honorary graduates recognised during summer graduation 2016

It has already been a week since we finished summer graduation 2016, and to take us back to that delightful week we thought we would do a run-down of everyone who was recognised with an honorary degree during the week, as well the recipient of our Distinguished Alumni Award. Every year the University awards a number of honorary degrees to individuals who have made significant achievements in their fields or profession, or who have contributed to the betterment of Sheffield.

David Blunkett

The Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett

BA Politics 1972, Hon LittD 2016

Lord Blunkett is a true product of this city and our University, having been born and growing up here, being educated here, spending his political life serving and representing this city, supporting Sheffield Wednesday, and now has returned to our University as Professor of Politics in Practice, and continues to contribute an extraordinary amount of his time and energy to the Sheffield city region.

He served on Sheffield City Council from 1970 to 1988 before being elected as MP for Sheffield Brightside. Through his career he has served as Secretary of State for Education and Employment, Home Secretary, and finally Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He has now returned to the department where he studied as a lecturer in politics.

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi

Her Excellency Dr Amal Abdulla Al Qubaisi

PhD Architecture 2001, Hon LittD 2016

Dr Al Qubaisi is the first Emirati woman to be elected to public office, and the first woman from the Arab states of the Gulf to lead a national assembly, following her election as Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council in November 2015.

After developing an interest during her undergraduate studies Dr Al Qubaisi completed her PhD around the architectural heritage of the UAE, and went on to conserve Al Ain, one of the most important historical cities in the UAE, which was subsequently listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. She received an Abu Dhabi Award for her commitment to preserving her country’s heritage in this way.

Nick Matthew

Nick Matthew OBE

Hon LittD 2016

Nick is one of the world’s greatest squash players having won the World Championships three times. Born and raised in Sheffield, he turned professional at the age of 18 in 1998, and quickly came to the squash world’s attention as an excellent junior player. 2006 was the landmark year during which he won the British National Championships, which he later won another seven times, as well as becoming the first English player to win the British Open men’s title since 1939. He continued competing and went on to win Gold a medal in the Singles and Silver in the Squash Doubles at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He has also established the Nick Matthew Academy here in Sheffield to provide training and support, and which stands as a symbol of commitment and endeavour amongst young people in underprivileged regions.

Clive Humby

Clive Humby

BSc Applied Maths & Computer Science 1975, Hon DEng 2016

Clive is a leading marketing analyst and a pioneer in data analytics, and it was his company (dunnhumby) which was behind the ground-breaking, international loyalty card scheme for Tesco. It was thanks to this scheme the company was able to double its profits the year it was introduced.

Clive’s expertise is in analysing large sets of data and in the application of this to improve the working and productivity of companies. His work now revolves around Starcount, which analyses data on celebrities from social media, and Purple Seven, which uses data to help businesses understand how consumers engage with the arts.

Irina Prokhorova

Dr Irina Prokhorova

Hon LittD 2016

Dr Prokhorova is one of Russia’s leading cultural historians, literary critics, editors and publishers, and is the founder of the ‘New Literary Observer’ - today Russia’s foremost intellectual magazine and the hub of a major publishing house. She also briefly entered politics, and has worked to improve Russia’s ties with the West.

In 2004, Irina Prokhorova and her brother Mikhail Prokhorov created the Prokhorov Foundation, which works to support culture for the ordinary citizens of some of Russia’s most far-flung cities and regions such as Siberia and the Urals, uniting people through culture, and has reached over 1 million people.

David Childs

David Childs

LLB Law 1972, Hon LLD 2016

David “fell in love with law” during his studies, and graduated with first class honours from Sheffield before obtaining a training contact with Coward Chance, qualifying in 1976. He remained there throughout his career during, overseeing several mergers to what the company is today - Clifford Chance, one of the City of London’s ‘magic circle’ partnerships.

Specialising in corporate law, particularly mergers, acquisitions and privatisations, he became a partner in 1981, eventually becoming Global Managing Partner in 2006. Determined to attract the best talent and improve diversity, David took steps to ensure aspiring lawyers from less privileged backgrounds had opportunities to work at Clifford Chance through mentoring and other arrangements, an initiative recognised in the 2013 UK Diversity Legal Awards.

Prof Sir John Tooke

Professor Sir John Tooke

Hon MD 2016

Sir John has transformed many lives. His impact on medical education, training and research is unsurpassed; having seen him lead the way in developing effective, integrated partnerships with the NHS, academia, major funders and industry.

Through his career he has held numerous academic positions, and has had a particular focus on the complications of diabetes. In 2007, when morale amongst trainee doctors was at a low ebb, he led an independent inquiry into the structure of postgraduate medical training, which has had a profound influence on the profession.

Bill Leatherbarrow

Professor Bill Leatherbarrow

Hon DSc 2016

Bill was a member of the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University for almost 40 years, including serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Chair of the School of Modern Languages and Linguistics. His research focused on Slavic literature, particularly Dostoyevsky.

Bill has been a keen amateur astronomer and observer since the age of nine, and at the age of 19 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has been very keen to promote ‘citizen science’ through the British Astronomical Association and encourage professional-amateur collaboration in astronomy.

Norman Ling

Norman Ling

BA German & Economic History 1975,
Hon LittD 2016

In 1971 Norman came to Sheffield for its pioneering the concept of dual degrees and, as the only student with the combination, he quickly perfected his personal four-minute mile sprinting between lectures in the two departments.

Since graduation he spent over 30 years as a diplomat through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, serving in in Tripoli, Tehran, Johannesburg and Ankara amongst others, and in 2001 was appointed High Commissioner to Malawi.

Richard Summers

Dr Richard Summers

PhD Genetics 1988, Hon DSc 2016

Dr Summers completed his doctorate here in 1984 as a result of his research on fungal genetics, before going on to work the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge. His work specialised in wheat breeding and led to him heading the breeding programmes with RAGT Seeds. Under the guidance of Dr Summers it produces important variations of significant food crops.

Richard still maintains links with Sheffield, with RAGT and the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences jointly obtaining a Technology Board Grant to investigate the response of wheat varieties to wheat pathogens, an important influence on food sustainability.

Roderick Flower

Professor Roderick Flower

BSc Physiology 1971, Hon DSc 2016

Professor Flower is one of the world’s most renowned pharmacologists. He discovered, with others, how the two widely used drugs, aspirin and paracetamol, work within the body, predicted correctly how other drugs that modify inflammatory processes might work, and invented a device that tells how sticky one’s blood is and thus how likely to clot.

Professor Flower developed his interest in physiology and pharmacology after working as a technician in Nobel laureate Sir John Vane’s research laboratory on leaving school, and this led to his entry and studies at Sheffield.

Ade Solanke

Adeola ‘Ade’ Solanke

BA English Literature 1984,
Distinguished Alumni Award 2016

Sheffield alumna Adeola ‘Ade’ Solanke is an acclaimed screenwriter and playwright. Having worked for the likes of Disney, New Line and the Sundance Institute she now writes for the stage and has written and produced two plays exploring the untold stories of African heritage.

Ade came to Sheffield to study English Literature in 1981 and loved the bustling, multi-cultural and energetic city. She wrote for the student newspaper Darts and believes that her Sheffield experiences laid the foundation for her career in telling stories.

To read more about our other Distinguished Alumni Award recipients please click here.

You can read more about some of our other notable Honorary Graduates here.

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