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Honours at the University of York

Posted on 2 July 2003

A group of people with distinguished careers ranging from film-making to molecular biology, together with the Governor-General of Belize, will be awarded honorary degrees by the University of York in three days of ceremonies next week.

A group of people with distinguished careers ranging from film-making to molecular biology, together with the Governor-General of Belize, will be awarded honorary degrees by the University of York in three days of ceremonies next week.

The group, honoured as the University celebrates its 40th anniversary, includes Aardman Animations founder Peter Lord, and former local headmaster Roger Kirk, a committed contributor to the work of the University, whose degree will be awarded posthumously.

The eight ceremonies, on 9, 10, and 11 July, will see nearly 2,000 students receiving first degrees and diplomas, and another 900 postgraduate students receiving their awards. The ceremonies will also be shown live on large screens in the campus Exhibition Centre. The Exhibition Centre will have historic images of the University over the last 40 years on display.

The honorary graduands are:

  • Jim Arnold, Director of the New Lanark Conservation Trust. A York history graduate who has turned the historic village into a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Dr Victor Bolotov, First Vice-Minister in the Russian Ministry of Education. A moderniser of the Russian education system who has established links with the University of York and its innovative curriculum work.
  • Professor Anne Boyd, Professor of Music at the University of Sydney. She studied at York as a postgraduate student and later founded the Music Department at Hong Kong University.
  • Roger Kirk (posthumous award), former headmaster of Easingwold School and long-time member of the University Council. He was a dedicated supporter of student life.
  • Professor Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government. A strong advocate of science whose 'baptism of fire' came with the foot and mouth epidemic.
  • Peter Lord, a York graduate and founder of the film and animation company Aardman, which made Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and other award-winning animations.
  • Dr Kim Nasmyth, the first graduate of the University's Department of Biology to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is Director of the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna.
  • Professor Caryl Phillips, of Barnard College, New York. Born in St Kitts and raised in Leeds, he is a successful playwright, novelist and scriptwriter who has redefined the debate about Britishness.
  • HE Sir Colville Young, Governor-General of Belize, who studied for his Linguistics doctorate at York, and went on to a distinguished career, promoting Creole culture.

Among the 2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students receiving their degrees next week are:

Jodi Unsworth, who will be graduating with a first degree in Educational Studies. Jodi works voluntarily for Liverpool FC, going into schools in the Liverpool area to train 3 to 18 year olds. She also runs a support group which helps over 80 families who have children with skin conditions.

Adam Dymond, an English undergraduate, who made a full-length feature film of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. This was shown at the City Screen earlier this year.

Aliou Tall, a student from Senegal. He will be graduating with a PhD in Philosophy. Aliou plans to bring his family from Senegal for the ceremony - it is highly unusual for Senegalese students to study in the UK. Receiving his PhD is a great achievement for Aliou who went to a primary school in Senegal which had no electricity. He is hoping to go to Mali in August to help improve the quality of teacher training in rural areas. Many of the schools there have over 170 students per classroom, five students per desk and one book between six children.

Cllr Keith Aspden, recently voted on to the City of York Council to represent the Fulford Ward, who will graduate with a degree in Politics with Education, and will begin a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) in History with Citizenship at the University in September.

Engineer Andrew Hill, 39, will receive a Masters of Science degree. He works for BAe Systems at Bristol and is a specialist on radio frequency (RF) systems. He was attending a short course at the University of York on RF systems when he was told the course could count toward a part-time MSc. Although he'd only taken an HND previously, then worked for 12 years as an engineer, he decided to take on the challenge and to increase his maths qualifications to be eligible - a major hurdle.

Maryan Marshman, the manager of Continuing Professional Development at the University, said of Andrew: "This is a nice human story of achievement. It's a good example of widening access to the University - we have six men and women who are mature students and professional engineers graduating this year from this programme. They have come from all over the UK."

Notes to editors:

The 2003 Degree Day website can be visited at

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153