Childcare pioneer to receive honorary degree

Dame Gillian Pugh, a pioneer in childcare services and former Chief Executive of England's oldest children's charity, will receive an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield this week (Thursday 10 January-Friday 11 January 2013).

Graduation celebrations

Dame Gillian, who will receive a Doctor of Letters, is among four recipients who will be honoured for their outstanding contribution to their chosen fields and, or, significant personal achievements.

For the last two decades she has been an important contributor to Government thinking on the education, social care and health services support for disadvantaged children and has a 30 year association with the University of Sheffield's School of Education.

Whilst working for the charity The Coram Family, which supports the most vulnerable children, young people and families in the UK, Dame Gillian increased the number of children and young people benefitting from their services from 300 to 6,000 a year.

Celebrating academic successDame Gillian and the three fellow esteemed recipients will receive their accolades alongside hundreds of PhD and Masters graduates from the University's Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry and Health, Science, Social Science and International Faculties.

English playwright and novelist, Michael Frayn, is set to become an Honorary Graduand in recognition of his dedication to literature and will receive a degree of Doctor of Letters.

After graduating from Emmanuel College Cambridge in 1957 he worked as a reporter and columnist for the Manchester Guardian, The Guardian and Observer before going on to publish 16 plays and 11 novels.

Mr Frayn has won numerous accolades including several Laurence Olivier awards and is best known for the farce Noises Off and dramas Copenhagen and Democracy.

This week's ceremonies will also see Professor Lindsey Davies and Professor Andrew Blake recognised for their contributions to medicine and engineering respectively.

After qualifying in medicine at The University of Nottingham, Professor Davies has gone on to have a distinguished career, part of which was spent based in Sheffield as the Regional Director of Public Health and Regional Medical Officer for the Trent Region.

Professor Davies, who will receive a Doctor of Medicine, highlighted in 2007 the fact that ill health and obesity, caused by poor diet, cost the NHS nearly £11 billion and suggested taxing fat in food.

As President of the Faculty of Public Health – the standard setting body for specialists in Public Health in the UK – her expertise, wisdom, care and commitment continues to benefit us all.

Professor Blake is a distinguished scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, a world-leading researcher in computer vision.

A Sheffielder by birth, Professor Blake has transcended the traditional barriers between academia and industry and has been described as 'the leading image analysis researcher of his generation'.

He will receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering on Thursday.

Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "We are delighted to award these honorary degrees to four people who have made such a significant contribution to their field.

"We are privileged that these national and eminent figures will be coming to the University of Sheffield to accept their Honorary Doctorates as they are excellent role models to our students and will help inspire them to soar to success."

The University is streaming this week's graduation ceremonies live on the web.

Additional information

Honorary Graduate Schedule:
Thursday 10 January 2013, 12pm – Mr Michael Frayn.
Thursday 10 January 2013, 3.15pm – Professor Andrew Blake
Thursday 10 January 2013, 6pm – Dame Gillian Pugh
Friday 11 January 2013, 12pm – Professor Lindsey Davies

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, and 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859