Graduation Ceremonies honour leading UK figures


26 March 2012

Aston University held its graduation ceremonies in the splendour of Birmingham’s Town Hall and presented three honorary degrees to leading figures of business, science, engineering and politics.

Aston University held its graduation ceremonies in the splendour of Birmingham’s Town Hall on Tuesday 27th March 2012. There were three degree ceremonies in total at the grade-1 listed landmark, which first opened as a music hall in 1834. It saw more than 700 post graduate students process throughout the week, and will see over 2,000 Aston University students graduating in total this year.

During the ceremony, the University also presented three honorary degrees to leading figures in the fields of business, science, engineering and politics. These were Sir John Parker, Baroness Bottomley and Andy Street.

Sir John Parker – Tuesday 27th March at 10.30am

Sir John Parker is currently the Chairman of National Grid plc and of Anglo American PLC. National Grid is an international electricity and gas company and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. It plays a vital role in providing energy to millions of customers across Great Britain and the Northeast US in an efficient, reliable and safe manner.

He served a number of other appointments prior to this role. Sir John Parker was President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects from 1996-1999, as well as governor of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Sir John Parker was knighted in 2001 for services to defense and shipbuilding. From 2006-2011 he was the Chancellor of the University of Southampton and has previous been a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Council for Britain and non-executive director at the Bank of England.

Baroness Bottomley- Tuesday 27th March at 2pm

Virginia Bottomley, Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons from 1984 to 2005. She was raised to the peerage in 2005. Considered to be a "One Nation Conservative", Baroness Bottomley is a Life Member of the Tory Reform Group. She has been Chair of the Board Practice at executive head hunting firm Odgers Berndtson since 2001.

Her main roles include, Secretary of State for Health from 1992-1995, Secretary of State for National Heritage 1995-1997 and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in 1997.

In addition to her business involvements, she holds a number of roles in academia. Baroness Bottomley is a Governor of the London School of Economics and a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Surrey. In 2006 she was elected and appointed Chancellor of the University of Hull. She was previously on the founding Council of the University of the Arts, London.

Andy Street- Tuesday 27th March at 4.30pm

Andy has spent all his working life in the John Lewis Partnership. After initial postings in the John Lewis department stores, he ran one of the Partnership’s production facilities before returning to the department stores as Managing Director, John Lewis Milton Keynes in 1993. He was the first Managing Director of John Lewis Bluewater from 1998 to 2000 when he moved to Head Office as Supply Chain Director, John Lewis. He was appointed to the Partnership Board as Director of Personnel in 2002.

In February 2007 Andy became Managing Director of the John Lewis Division, responsible for all activities within John Lewis.

Andy is also Vice Chairman of The Performances Birmingham Limited Board of Trustees, responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls. He is also on the London First Board, member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group and also recently appointed Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

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