Sporting star and University graduate receives MBE

World Champion hepathlete and University of Sheffield graduate Jessica Ennis has scooped another victory - an MBE in her Majesty the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The golden girl from Sheffield, who studied Psychology at the University before graduating in 2007, has been awarded the prestigious accolade in recognition of her services to athletics.

The former University of Sheffield student, who became the country's first heptathlon gold medallist at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, before winning gold again at the European Championships in Barcelona, is one of Britain's most hotly-tipped Olympic contenders for the London 2012 games.

Jessica, aged 25, received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield last year (January 2010) and was recently made a 'Sheffield Legend' after being nominated by Sheffield residents as bringing the city recognition at national or international level.

She is also patron of the University's Elite Sport Performance Scheme (ESPS), which was launched last year to provide financial and non-financial support to talented student athletes at the University, who are representing England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland in one of Sport England's recognised sports.

In addition to Jessica, eight other alumni and honorary graduates from the University of Sheffield were honoured in her Majesty the Queen's Birthday Honours. These included:

DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
• Dame Jenni Murray, OBE (Honorary LittD, 2004), the presenter of Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4, for her services to radio broadcasting

CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
• Dr Michael Grandage, CBE (Honorary LittD, 2004), the Artistic Director at Donmar Warehouse, for his services to drama
• Mrs Penny Hughes, CBE (BSc Chemistry, 1980 and Honorary LLD, 1994), President of the Advertising Association, for her services to the media industry
• Mrs Dianne Jeffrey, CBE, DL (BA Psychology, 1966), for her public service
• Ms Judith Killick, CBE (LLB Law, 1974), Executive Director of the Judicial College, Ministry of Justice

OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire)
• Mr Edmund De Waal, OBE (PG Dip Japanese Language, 1992), ceramic artist for his services to art
• Professor Ronald Johnston, OBE, FBA (Honorary LittD, 2002), Professor of Geography at the University of Bristol for his services to scholarship

MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire)
• Mr Nigel Hildreth, MBE (BMus Music, 1975 and MMus Music, 1980), Head of Music and Performing Arts at Colchester Sixth Form College, for his services to education

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "The University is delighted that such a talented group of people have been recognised for their significant contributions to their field. We are privileged that these distinguished national figures have studied or become honorary graduates at the University and hope their success provides inspiration to the students of tomorrow."

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