Graduation Ceremonies to celebrate student success


16 April 2014

Aston University held its graduation ceremonies in the magnificent surrounds of Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday, April 15 2014. 

There were three postgraduate and foundation degree ceremonies in total at the grade-1 listed landmark, which first opened as a music hall in 1834. Throughout the day, more than 520 postgraduate and foundation students from across Aston’s four Schools received their degrees and were commended for their hard work. 

During the ceremonies, the University presented three honorary degrees to leading religious and business figures. They were: Sue Noffke, an equity fund manager; Bhai Sahib, Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, a Sikh Spiritual Leader and The Very Reverend Cather Ogle, Dean of Birmingham. 

Sue Noffke – 10:30am 

Sue Noffke is a UK equity fund manager with Schroders, a global asset management company with £256.7 billion of assets managed on behalf of institutional and retail investors, financial institutions and high net worth clients. 

Sue heads up the Prime UK Equity Team, with responsibility for £6 billion of assets in UK Equities.  Clients include local authority and corporate pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and leading charities.  Her approach is based on long term investment, focussed on picking stocks and disciplined construction of low risk portfolios. 

She has been co-manager of the £500 million Schroder Prime UK equity fund since 2006 and lead fund manager of Schroder Income Growth Fund plc, a £200 million income oriented investment trust, since 2011. 

Her first taste of investment came with her “sandwich year” experience, gained as an assistant in Schroder’s UK Equity Research Department.  She re-joined Schroders on graduating from Aston University in 1989. 

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle – 1:30pm 

Catherine Ogle became Dean of Birmingham in September 2010, the third woman to be appointed as Dean in the Church of England. She leads the Anglican Cathedral and supports the Bishop of Birmingham in his mission in the city and region as a member of his core staff.

 She was previously Vicar of Huddersfield, a large town centre Parish Church. During this time she became a Canon of Wakefield Cathedral and served on the College Council of the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. 

Catherine was trained for ordained ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge and served as a deacon for seven years before being one of the first women to be ordained as priest in the Church of England in 1994, at Ripon Cathedral. She served her curacy at St Mary, Middleton, in South Leeds and then took up an appointment at BBC Radio Leeds as Religious Affairs Editor.

She is a graduate of the University of Cambridge (MA in Theology) and also holds an MA in Theology from the University of Leeds. 

Bhai Sahib, Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia – 4:30pm 

Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwaloa is the first British Sikh to be awarded the official title of ‘Bhai Sahib’ by the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (the Sikh ‘apex’ organisation representing some 26 million Sikhs globally) for his selfless service in propagating the Sikh faith, engagement in interfaith work and heritage conservation.  

He is the Spiritual Leader and Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, UK - a charitable organisation with its Headquarters in Birmingham.  It has two sister organisations in Leeds and London with branches in India and Kenya.  He is also Chairman of the Nishkam Centre which engages in a plethora of civic activities. 

Within the interfaith context, Bhai Sahib is a senior member of the Elijah Board of World’s Religious Leaders and the European Council of Religious Leaders.  He is Co-President and Trustee of Religions for Peace International, New York, and President of Religions for Peace UK.  He supports the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago.  Bhai Sahib is Patron of the Divine Onkar Mission, Anon Care (UK), the Nishkam Healthcare Trust and the Nishkam School Trust which has pioneered a multifaith ethos in values-based education at its Nishkam Nursery, Primary, High School and Sixth Form.  

Bhai Sahib is currently working on an ‘International Charter for Forgiveness’ and a Museum of World’s Religions to be located in Birmingham.  


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or [email protected]