Hallam honours those that embody university values of inclusivity and transforming lives

26th August 2022

Peak District Mountain Rescue teams and leading figures from across media, health, and the voluntary sector are set to receive honorary doctorates from Sheffield Hallam University.

The Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation will receive the award in recognition of their efforts to keep the Peak District and those who visit it safe. As a leading civic university, Sheffield Hallam is committed to celebrating the achievements of our communities. 

Matt Dooley, chair of the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation (PDMRO), said: “I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the volunteers and teams within the PDMRO. I thank Sheffield Hallam University for recognising the contribution we make in keeping people safe and being there for them in their greatest time of need. Many congratulations to the students of 2022, I hope they continue to enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors safely and responsibly for many years to come.” 

TV presenter and broadcaster Ayo Akinwolere will also receive an honorary doctorate. Ayo graduated with a degree in Media Studies from Sheffield Hallam and has gone on to have a successful and varied career in television, including presenting Blue Peter and the Commonwealth Games in his hometown of Birmingham.  

Ayo uses his platform to inspire young people of colour and encourage cultural diversity, on receiving the award Ayo said:

“It is an absolute honour to be recognised for this doctorate, especially from a university and a city I called home for three years of my life.  

“Venturing beyond my comfort zone and moving to Sheffield from Birmingham has given me an incredible insight and understanding into the landscape of the country we all live in, and that in itself has helped to build the career I have today. Not just as a broadcaster but as a change maker. I believe we need to continuously question the very fabrics of our society and institutions within it, in order to serve those who dwell within it with authenticity, passion and clarity.” 

Sheffield’s most senior civil judge his Honour Judge Graham Robinson, former chief executive of the NHS Lord Sir Simon Stevens, and the first woman to take the role of the Lady Usher of the Black Rod in the House of Lords and former director of Wimbledon Sarah Clarke OBE, will all receive an award.  

Anne Longfield CBE, Chair of the Commission on Young Lives and the former Children’s Commissioner for England will also receive an award. Anne has worked with Government administrations over three decades to shape support for children. 

Anne Longfield said: “It is a huge honour to accept this award from Sheffield Hallam in recognition of my work campaigning for children and families. I have long been an admirer of Sheffield Hallam as an outstanding university, with social mobility and inclusivity at its heart and its excellent and ground-breaking work on health.  

“Every young person deserves the best start in life with the help and support they need to flourish, and I am very proud to join the Sheffield Hallam community to help make that possible.” 

Judy Simons, the first woman professor at Sheffield Hallam University will also receive an honorary doctorate. Judy started her career at Sheffield Hallam in 1976 and went on to become Pro Vice-Chancellor at De Montfort University. 

They will be joined by Carly Jones MBE, an autism advocate who has dedicated her career to increasing the visibility of autistic people, particularly women and girls.

Carly Jones said: “I am so grateful, happy, bewildered to receive an Honorary Doctorate, a thank you will never feel a big enough gesture. My perception of education for Autistic students changed forever around seven years ago when I joined Dr Luke Beardon and Sheffield Hallam University to talk all things Autism. I witnessed first-hand that a safe, inclusive, supportive education existed. 

“Congratulations to the Sheffield Hallam graduates of 2022, your huge sacrifices, hard work, time away from your loved ones and work commitments in this difficult period of history makes the weight of this success beyond outstanding.” 

The honorary doctorates will all be conferred during Graduation ceremonies in November.  

This follows the announcement that Geri Halliwell-Horner will receive an honorary award from Sheffield Hallam in recognition of her work promoting and championing children, young people, and women’s rights over the last 25 years.  

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