Leading figures to be awarded honorary doctorates

29th September 2015

An Olympic gold medal cyclist, a star of the stage and screen, a musical pioneer and a lifelong campaigner for human rights are all to be recognised for their achievements with honorary doctorates awarded by Sheffield Hallam University this year.

10,000 students will be graduating this year at ceremonies in Sheffield City Hall. Nine inspirational figures from a variety of sectors will be joining them on the stage this year to collect honorary doctorates for outstanding contributions in their field. Nicole Cooke is a former professional cyclist and Commonwealth, Olympic and World Road Race champion. She was the first rider in history to win Olympic and World Championship road race gold in the same year. Nicole continues to be a leading voice within the sport, in particular speaking out against drugs cheats and calling for equality. Richard Wilson is a Scottish actor, theatre director and broadcaster with a long association with Sheffield Theatres and a huge profile as Victor Meldrew, the star of long-running BBC sitcom One Foot In The Grave. Wilson has worked for the gay rights campaign group Stonewall and the Labour Party and was awarded an OBE for services to drama. He is to reprise the role of Victor Meldrew for the first time in nearly 20 years during his one man show at Sheffield Crucible in October 2015. Jerry Dammers is a founder member, keyboard player and primary songwriter of the ska revival band The Specials. Dammers formed The Specials at the same time as Rock Against Racism, which was first organised in 1978. Dammers' role in Artists Against Apartheid and the Mandela Tribute Concert contributed to huge international pressure to bring apartheid to an end in South Africa. It is a contribution for which Dammers was recognised by the South African government, through the award of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in April 2014 Baroness Valerie Amos became the first black woman to lead a UK University this September when she was appointed as the director of SOAS University of London. Before that, she was the UN's under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator where she advocated tirelessly for people around the world affected by disaster and conflict and worked closely with humanitarian workers who often risk their own lives to serve people most in need. Baroness Amos was created a Labour life peer in 1997, becoming Leader of the House of Lords. She has been a lifelong campaigner for human rights and equality having served as the Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Jayne Pearce has worked in the media operations and communications sector more than 27 years. She is a veteran of seven Olympic Games and six Football World Cups - both men's and women's. Jayne entered into partnership with Sheffield Hallam in 2008 to develop a series of academic modules for sports management students. The academic modules that Jayne developed, with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam, provided students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to volunteer in key track-side roles at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Dame Fiona Kendrick is chief executive of Nestlé UK and Ireland. She has been an excellent ambassador for the University's National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering and the new MEng Food Engineering degree course which launched last year. The University's work with Nestlé began some years ago with the co-creation of the Fast Start Programme with Sheffield Business School, an innovative scheme offering school leavers the opportunity to earn a degree whilst gaining paid practical experience in commercial roles at Nestlé. Dame Fiona has been nominated for her distinguished contribution to the food and drink sector and her outstanding work in promoting skills development and university-industry collaboration. Bruce Houlder QC is a barrister and lawyer. He was called to the Bar in 1969. He has continued as a Recorder of the Crown Court since 1991 and is a Member of the General Council of the Bar. Working for the British Council, Bruce has been engaged in training and work in the human rights arena in various countries for more than 20 years before working on a number of projects with the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University. Dr Louise Brooke-Smith has nearly 30 years' experience as a chartered surveyor and town planner both in the UK and overseas. She is CEO of Brooke Smith Planning, a long- established and award-winning planning and development consultancy based in Birmingham. A visiting fellow at Sheffield Hallam, she is also the Immediate Past Global President of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and was the first woman to hold this role, championing diversity in all its forms across the built environment. In June 2015, she launched the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark, the first such initiative for the property sector. Sir Andrew Cash is Chief Executive of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest integrated foundation trusts in England with an annual budget in excess of £950million and 16,000 staff. He was appointed an OBE in 2001 and knighted in 2009 for services to the National Health Service. Ceremonies will take place at Sheffield City Hall between 9-20 November.

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