Aston Graduation Ceremonies to honour leading UK figures

Aston rated among UK's top 30 universities
11 July 2013


Aston University will be holding its graduation ceremonies next week in the splendor of Birmingham’s Town Hall and present six honorary degrees.

Aston University will be holding its graduation ceremonies in the splendour of Birmingham’s Town Hall from Monday 15 till Friday 19 July 2013.

There will be nine degree ceremonies in total at the grade-1 listed landmark, which first opened as a music hall in 1834. This year’s ceremonies will see over 1800 Aston University students graduate across all four Schools.

During the ceremony, the University will also present honorary degrees to the following leading figures in the fields of business, science, engineering and politics;

Monday 15th July 2013 at 14:30

Mark Hales

Mark is founder of Oxygen Accelerator, an accelerator programme providing a 13-week boot camp for technology entrepreneurs. The scheme encourages entrepreneurs to locate and stay in Birmingham - building a cluster of exciting businesses with high-growth potential.

Prior to becoming an investor and mentor, Mark ran Claimar Care Group Plc, one of the UK’s largest social care providers. In addition Mark also runs his own consulting firm, providing a range of business support and advice to high growth businesses. Specialisms include buy and build and corporate structuring.

Mark works with several inner city schools in the Midlands, running annual programmes where pupils work alongside coders to create their own video games and apps.

Tuesday 16th July 2013

Andrew Stevens at 11:00

Andrew Stevens, Aston Alumnus and former CEO of Cobham Plc, has a Global Aerospace career which spans over 35 years.

Andy's early career started with the Dowty group as a Student Apprentice where he held numerous positions including Production Director at Dowty Rotol and General Manager of Dowty Aerospace Landing Gear (UK). Following TI Group's acquisition of Dowty he became General Manager of Bowthorpe plc's (now Spirent) cable management sector thereby gaining valuable experience outside the aerospace industry.

 Prior to joining Cobham, Andy was Managing Director - Defence Aerospace with Rolls-Royce plc, based in Bristol with responsibility for the Military engine business.  He was a Council member of the Society of British Aerospace Companies Council, supported the Aerospace Industries Association in the USA and he joined the Board of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. Today he remains both a Fellow of the RAeS and the IET.

Professor Ningsheng Xu at 14:30

Professor Ningsheng Xu is President of Sun Yat-Sen University(SYSU) in China and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.

He graduated with a BSc in Semiconductor Physics from SYSU in 1982 and
received a PhD from Aston University in 1986. In 1996, he was appointed Professor of Physics by SYSU. His previous appointments include being Director of the State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Technologies and chairman and member of numerous steering committees of international academic organisations and national scientific committees in China. His current research is focused on electron emission cold cathode materials and their applications.

Wednesday 17th July 2013

Dr Mary Baker at 11:00

Dr Mary G. Baker is President of the European Brain Council, immediate past President of the European Federation of Neurological Associations, Consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Chair of the Working Group on Parkinson’s disease formed by the WHO in May 1997.

Mary has an Honorary Degree from the University of Surrey, and in 2009 received the prestigious British Neuroscience Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Neuroscience and for Public Service.  In 2012 she was appointed Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) Health Centre and Associate Membership of the Health Services Research Unit at the University of Oxford.

Mary’s significant appointments include; membership of the Council of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Director at Large for the World Stroke Association, former member of the Management Board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and former patient editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). 

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath at 14:30

Lord Hunt is a member of the House of Lords and Deputy Leader of the Opposition and is Chairman of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and President of the Royal Society of Public Health and serves as Chair of the All Party Group on Primary Care and Public Health.

Lord Hunt holds Honorary Degrees from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University and was awarded an OBE in 1993.

He was the first Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, and previously Director of the National Association of the Health Authorities and Trusts from its formation in 1990.

Thursday 18th July 2013 at 14:30

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business.  In 2005, he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. In 2003, he received a knighthood for his services to the arts.

He has received Honorary Degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, the Open University and the Central School of Speech and Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University.

Currently he is an Emeritus Professor at the University at Warwick, and works with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading cultural organisations.

Lord Michael Heseltine

Lord Heseltine served as a Member of Parliament in Britain from 1966 to 2001.  He is founder and Chairman of the Haymarket Group, one of the largest privately owned media companies in the UK. 

More recently he has been chair of the Independent Advisory Panel for the Regional Growth Fund since 2010, providing advice to Ministers on the quality of bids. In December 2012 the Prime Minister authorised Birmingham to pilot his proposals and Lord Heseltine has agreed to head up the work.

He has written books on Europe and his political autobiography, Life in the Jungle, and has begun writing a book on urban regeneration, Building Blocks. His  In October 2012 he published No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth, an independent review into how the public and private sectors in the UK work together to create wealth.

Friday 19th July 2013

Dr Colin Goddard at 11:00

Dr Colin Goddard is a director of several biotechnology companies including the Dutch cancer diagnostics company Agendia and US based Merganser and PanOptica, Inc. He also sits on the Oncology advisory board for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

He received his PhD in Cancer Pharmacology from Aston University in 1985 following three years of research in the Cancer Chemotherapy Research Group. He completed his post-doctoral research at the US National Cancer Institute in Bethesda before joining OSI.

Dr Colin is active in many organisations that promote the advancement of cancer treatment and awareness, science education and the biotechnology industry, including the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR); the trade organisations PhRMA and BIO; the CEO forum on cancer; and the cancer support charity Gilda’s Club.

Lord Neil Kinnock at 14:30

Lord Kinnock graduated in Industrial Relations and History at the University of Wales, Cardiff and in 1970 he was elected Member of Parliament for Bedwellty (later Islwyn) and served as a member of several House of Commons Select Committees.

 In 1978 he was elected to the Labour Party National Executive Committee and appointed to be Labour’s Education Spokesman in 1979. In 1983 he was elected Leader of the Labour Party and appointed to the Privy Council. After retiring from the Leadership in 1992, he was appointed to the European Commission with the Transport portfolio in 1995. In 1999 he was chosen to be Vice-President of the Commission with the task of comprehensively reforming and modernising the Institution and with portfolio responsibility for Audit, Personnel and Administration, Logistics and Languages Directorates General.  

Upon his retirement from the Commission in 2004 he was appointed Chairman of the British Council, which he served for five years, and made a Life Peer with the title Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty.

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For further media information please contact Eva, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4294 or e.tabora@aston.ac.uk