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Graduation July 2013

Graduation Ceremonies are a fitting conclusion to the hard work of our students over the course of their studies. They also provide the perfect opportunity for the University to recognise excellence in areas that reflect its mission through the conferment of honorary degrees.

Posted: 26 July 2013

image for news story Graduation July 2013
Graduation is a fitting conclusion to the hard work of our students over the course of their studies.

Honorary Degrees are conferred by the University on individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievement or distinction in a field which is relevant to the academic work or life of the University. This summer, the University is delighted to recognise the achievements of the actress/director Iciar Bollain, the philosopher Alan Montefiore, the accountant Ed Smith and the natural historian Martin Spray CBE.

Iciar Bollain

Doctor of Letters
honoris causa

Iciar began her career as an actress at the age of 15, when she starred in the Spanish classic - El Sur by Victor Erice. She then went on to appear in many feature films including Malaventura by Manuel Guiterrez Aragón, Sublet by Chus Gutierrez, Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom and Rabia by Sebastian Cordero.
In 1995 she released her directorial feature film debut – Hola, ¿estás sola?, which she also wrote. The film was nominated for the Best Directorial Debut at the Spanish Film Academy awards and went on to win many other awards including Best New Director and the Audience Award at the Valladolid International Film Festival. Her follow-up – Flores de otro mundo, co-written with the Julio Llamazares won the International Critics Week Grand Prix at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Iciar’s third film – Te doy mis ojos (Take My Eyes, 2003) won seven Goyas (Spanish Film Academy awards) including Best Film. She has gone on to release three further films, her last Katmandu was released in 2012, and marked her first shoot in English.

In 1996, Iciar published a book on the director Ken Loach: Ken Loach – a sympathetic observer, which was written on the set of his film Carla's Song.

Alan Montefiore

Doctor of the University
honoris causa

Alan is the President of the Forum for European Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He was a fellow and tutor in philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford.

Alan has researched and published on a wide variety of topics including moral and political philosophy, contemporary French philosophy and issues of identity and responsibility. He has taught and influences some of the most prominent philosophers writing today.

The son of Leonard Montefiore who was Chairman of the Froebel Educational Institute from 1939 to 1961, Alan himself was elected Chairman of the Institute and Chair of Froebel College Governors from 1975 to 1979, where he helped oversee the introduction of higher degrees in teacher training and was instrumental in the setting up of the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education.

Ed Smith

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

Ed spent his professional life at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which he joined in 1977 after obtaining a degree in Accountancy. He ran the PwC Higher Education practice, which included sitting on the Board of the University of North London and held a number of leadership roles both in the UK and globally, including a stint as Global Learning and Development Leader and as the UK Board Head of Strategy, People and Knowledge. After a number of years as Global Assurance Chief Operating Officer and Strategy Chairman, Ed retired in 2007.

Since his retirement, Ed has committed himself to a number of causes and activities which align with his interests in sustainable development, talent development and complex public service change. He is Chairman of the British Universities & Colleges Sport and Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Council at the University of Birmingham. Ed was a Board Member and Deputy Chair of HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and is now Chairman of the Student Loan Company.

Ed is Chair of WWF-UK and a member of the WWF International Board. He is also treasurer of the international think tank – Chatham House and sits on the Boards of the Department of Transport and NHS England.

Martin Spray CBE

Doctor of Science
honoris causa

Upon obtaining a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Swansea, Martin entered the civil service, joining the Science Research Council as committee secretary in the Astronomy, Space & Radio division. A number of different managerial roles followed until 1988, when he was approached by the World Wide Fund for Nature to join them as Area Manager for London & South East in 1988.Three years later, he became the first Chief Executive of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, which was to become one of the largest and most successful wildlife trusts in the UK. Alan spent twelve years at the trust, and was made Vice President when he left. In 1991, he was appointed Chief Executive of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

Alan is a board member of the Veolia Environmental Trust – a grant funding body – and the UK International Union of Nature Conservation Executive. He is also Chairman of the board of trustees of the Marine Conservation Society.

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