Graduation recognises business, science and arts

Aston Graduation Birmingham Town Hall
Aston Graduation Birmingham Town Hall

9th July 2009

Aston University will present its latest Honorary Degrees between Tuesday 14th and Friday 17th July at Birmingham Town Hall. There will be two degree ceremonies each day.

Among those honoured for their contributions to business, science, the arts and politics will be Lord David Sainsbury of Turville and The Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CBE.

The full schedule of awards is:

Tuesday 14th July at 11am - Professor Michael Clarke CBE, Doctor of Letters:

Professor Michael Clarke CBE worked first in local government and was then, successively, Chief Executive of the Local Government Training Board and then the Local Government Management Board. He came to Birmingham as Professor of Public Policy in 1993. He retired as Vice-Principal of the University of Birmingham last autumn. In retirement, Michael remains a Non-Executive Director of the Government Office for the West Midlands.

Tuesday 14th July at 2.30pm – Professor Derek Pugh, Doctor of Letters and Nick Paul CBE, Doctor of Science

Professor Derek Pugh has an international reputation as a writer, teacher, researcher and consultant in the fields of organisational behaviour, international management and doctoral education. He inaugurated and led the Aston Research Programme which started at Aston University and later continued at the London Business School and other centres throughout the world. Professor Pugh contributed to the conceptual development of the discipline of organisational behaviour in business schools and was appointed the first British Professor of the subject at the London Business School in 1970. Since 1988 he has been Professor of International Management at the Open University Business School (Emeritus Professor from 2000) with his research focusing on international cultural differences in management.

Nick Paul CBE is Chairman of the Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands, Chairman of Tricorn Group Plc, Chairman of Midland Expressway Limited, and is a Non-Executive Director of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) Plc, and Worcester Rugby Football Club Ltd (Worcester Warriors). After leaving PA Management Consultants in 1977, Nick joined the International Engineering Group IMI plc and held various positions before joining the Board in 1989. He was Deputy Chief Executive of IMI from 1996 to 2001. In 2005 he was asked by the Secretary of State to Chair the MG Rover Task Force, which was set up to oversee the response of Government Agencies to the closure of MG Rover at Longbridge.

Wednesday 15th July at 11am – Professor Sue Hill OBE, Doctor of Science

Professor Sue Hill OBE is a respiratory scientist, working for most of her career in the NHS and academia in Birmingham, where she continues to have research interests. She came into post as Chief Scientific Officer at the Department of Health in 2002 and is the professional head of the 50,000 strong Healthcare Science workforce in the NHS and related organisations. In 2006 she took on the role of Clinical Lead for the development of the COPD national strategy.
Sue is a Vice President of the British Lung Foundation, having had a long association with the charity since its inception in the early 1980s. She was awarded an OBE in 2005 for her services to healthcare science.

Wednesday 15th July at 2.30pm – Norman Askew and Peter Thong, Doctor of Science

Norman Askew was educated at Durham University, Aston University and the London School of Business. He began his career in 1965 at the global engineering company TI Group, gaining invaluable experience in manufacturing and general management before being appointed President and Managing Director of TI’s Aerospace business in the US in 1988, responsible for aerospace and automotive operations in the USA, Canada, France and the UK. Four years later he joined East Midlands Electricity as Managing Director and became Chief Executive in 1993. Norman was appointed Chief Executive of US-based Virginia Power in 1997 following its acquisition of East Midlands and he led the company through the process of de-regulation in the US. Norman was appointed Chief Executive of British Nuclear Fuels in March 2000. His current roles include the Chairmanships of IMI plc, Taylor Wimpey plc and the Board of Governors of the University of Manchester.

Peter Thong graduated with a degree in Production Engineering from Aston University in 1970. He has initiated a variety of products and manufacturing processes in China from 1986 to the present day creating new industries, advancing methodologies and boosting employment in the country. One initiative in particular was the sandwich panel system that is widely used throughout China for fast track construction of accommodation units. This building system was selected to construct hospitals quickly during the SARS epidemic in China and for houses in the earthquake areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi Provinces. Peter is a much sought after advisor and speaker on China-Malaysia and China-ASEAN economic matters.

Thursday 16th July at 11am – Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Doctor of Science and Cynthia Bower, Doctor of Science

Lord David Sainsbury of Turville was Minister for Science and Innovation until 2006. Appointed in July 1998, he had responsibility for the Offices of Science and Technology, Innovation, Skills, Design, Space, Bioscience, the Chemical Industry, the Patent Office, and the National Weights and Measures Laboratory. After reading history and psychology at Kings College, Cambridge, Lord Sainsbury went on to receive an MBA at the Columbia Graduate School of Business in New York. He was the fourth generation of the Sainsbury family to take over the business and became only its sixth chairman in more than 120 years. In that time his positions included Finance Director (1973-1990) and Deputy Chairman from (1988-1992) before becoming Chairman in 1992, a post he held until 1998. David Sainsbury became Lord Sainsbury of Turville in 1997. In 2003, on behalf of the Sainsbury family, Lord Sainsbury received the Andrew Carnegie medal for philanthropy and a year later was made an Honorary Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge.

Cynthia Bower graduated from The University of Birmingham and began her professional life in social care. She spent a number of years working with children in a variety of settings and managing social care services for children. She moved to the Health Service in 1995 to work for Birmingham Health Authority, working as Director of Primary Care at the time of the establishment of Primary Care Groups and the first wave of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). In 2000 Cynthia became Chief Executive of Birmingham Specialist Community Health NHS Trust and in 2002 Chief Executive of South Birmingham PCT.Cynthia became Managing Director of Birmingham and the Black Country Strategic Health Authority in 2005 and a year later became Chief Executive of NHS West Midlands. Last year, Cynthia Bower was appointed Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, which took up its duties as the regulator for health and social care earlier this year.

Thursday 16th July at 2.30pm – Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, Doctor of Letters and Datuk Mohamed Al Amin, Doctor of Science.

Baroness Usha Prashar CBE was born in Kenya and came to Yorkshire with her family in the 1960s. Since the 1970s, she has served as a director or chairman of a variety of public and private sector organisations. She was appointed as Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2005. She is also Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, a Non-Executive Director of ITV, adviser to Pearn Kandola (Occupational Psychologists), Trustee of Cumberland Lodge, Non-Executive Director of the Cabinet Office and a Governor of Ashridge College. She was the First Civil Service Commissioner between 2000 and 2005. From 1997-2000 she was executive chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales. She was awarded a CBE in 1994 and since 1999 has sat in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.

Datuk Mohamed Al Amin qualified with a Diploma in Technology from Oxford College of Further Education and went on to achieve a degree in Civil Engineering from Aston University. In his early career Mohamed Al Amin worked in the public sector, before moving to the private sector. He currently holds various positions in public limited companies, namely as Executive Chairman of Country View Berhad, as Chairman of Nylex (M) Berhad and as Director of Ancom Berhad and MCIS Zurich Insurance Sdn. Bhd. He has been Chairman of the Chemical Industrial Council of Malaysia since 1999 and was Chairman of Asean Chemical Industry Council from 1999 to 2001.

Friday 17th July at 11am – Dr Anthony Hayward, Doctor of Science

Dr Anthony Hayward studied geological science at Aston University and then took his PhD at Edinburgh University. He started his career as a rig geologist in the North Sea with BP in 1982. Following a series of technical and commercial roles around the world, he moved to Colombia in 1992 as Exploration Manager and in 1995 became President of BP Exploration in Venezuela. Tony returned to London in 1997 as a Director of BP Exploration. Following the merger of BP and Amoco, he became a Group Vice President and a member of the upstream executive committee. He was appointed Group Treasurer in 2000, where his responsibilities included corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. Following appointments as an Executive Vice President and Chief Executive for BP’s upstream activities, Tony was appointed to the main board of BP in 2003. In May 2007, Tony was appointed Group Chief Executive of BP Plc.

Friday 17th July at 2.30pm – The Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CBE, Doctor of Letters and Professor Helen Wallace, Doctor of Letters.

The Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CB retired as Foreign Secretary in July 1995, after a distinguished career in Government spanning sixteen years. He served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 1984–85, Home Secretary from 1985–89 and Foreign Secretary 1989–1995 in the Governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, Lord Hurd obtained a first class degree in History. After joining the Diplomatic Service, he went on to serve at the Foreign Office in Peking, New York (UN) and Rome. He ran Edward Heath’s private office from 1968–70 and acted as his Political Secretary at 10 Downing Street from 1970–74. He was MP for Mid-Oxfordshire (later Witney) from 1974 to 1997. In 1997 Lord Hurd was created a Life Peer and has since held numerous appointments in the City and in public life. He is currently Deputy Chairman of Coutts Bank.

Professor Helen Wallace is a Centennial Professor in the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sussex. From 2001 to 2006 she was Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence. Previously she was Director of the ESRC ‘One Europe or Several?’ Programme, and held posts at the Sussex European Institute, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the College of Europe.


For further press information, images or to arrange press photographs please contact Sally Finn on 0121 204 4552 or Alex Earnshaw on 0121 204 4549.

Please note that there will be limited time to photograph Honorary Graduates outside the Town Hall at the end of each graduation ceremony. Please contact the Press Office in advance for further information.