December 15, 2016, by Liz Cass

Hundreds graduate alongside inspirational leaders

grad1Black gowns and mortar boards have filled University Park as part of Winter Graduation ceremonies.

Hundreds of students, as well as proud families and friends, watched the ceremonies in the newly opened David Ross Sports Village.

Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, presided over the ceremonies. He said: “Graduation is a unique occasion, not only for those of you who will see the fruits of your time at our University formally rewarded, but also for your proud families and friends, who have made such a pivotal contribution to your success.”

But as well as the undergraduates those who have made a contribution to the success of the University were honoured.

dsc_7577Over nine ceremonies the University celebrated four people with honorary degrees; Colin Herridge, The Rt Hon Baroness Stowell of Beeston MBE, David Florence, and Julia King, The Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE.

Former Economics and Social History student Colin Herridge was honoured for his business and sporting success. Mr Herridge is a former owner, investor and director of several businesses including the Slug and Lettuce Pub Group, Bioplan Holdings plc, Grosvenor Inns plc, Hayters Sports Agency as well as having various non-executive directorships. From captaining the rugby team in his third year at Nottingham he retained his love of the sport. He was Chief Executive of Harlequin FC, President of Surrey RFU, and Executive member of the Rugby Football Union Committee, Media director for the England team and Treasurer of the RFU.


Tina Stowell, a former Chilwell Comprehensive pupil and once head of corporate affairs at the BBC, became a Life Peer as Baroness Stowell of Beeston and was introduced in the House of Lords in 2011. Until the summer of this year she was a member of the Cabinet, Leader of the House of Lords and the Lord Privy Seal.

Earlier this year David Florence, a University of Nottingham alumnus in mathematical physics, became the first British Canoe Slalom athlete to be selected for three successive Olympic Games. He won silver medals in Beijing and London before taking his third in Rio.

Baroness Brown is an engineer, House of Lords cross bencher and former Vice-Chancellor of Aston University. An academic career at Cambridge University led to senior business and engineering roles at Rolls Royce plc. Her current interests include climate change mitigation and the low carbon economy. She serves as Vice Chair of the Committee on Climate Change. In 2012 she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to higher education and technology.


Isobel Pooley after giving her speech at graduation


A worried Isobel Pooley before the ceremony

As well as degrees a number of awards were presented to University of Nottingham alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their community, stimulated new ideas and have shown exceptional dedication, creativity and leadership.

Those receiving the awards included; Cynthia Barlow, Chair of RoadPeace, John Miller, who worked for the BBC, UNESCO and Television South, Nick Munro, who has designed a teapot for The Queen, Edwina Brocklesby, Britain’s oldest triathlete, James Key, a technical lead in Formula 1, Marc Wileman, who won investment on Dragon’s Den for his slime, Dame Mary Marsh, non-executive director of HSBC, Katie Williams, who taught English to Palestinian refugees, and Chris Wyles, who has represented the USA in rugby at the Olympics.

British high jumper Isobel Pooley returned to the University to address graduates as the alumni speaker. She gave a speech about university giving her the “room to grow”. Afterwards she tweeted a pictures adding: “so grateful that the VC had confidence in me and gave me this chance.”


Posted in AlumniAwards and accoladesStudents