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University to award three honorary degrees

Posted on 20 January 2009

The University of York is to award honorary degrees to a clinical psychologist and television presenter, a leading expert in Viking archaeology and City of York Council’s former Chief Executive.

Professor Tanya Byron, Professor Else Roesdahl and David Atkinson will be presented with the honorary degrees of Doctor of the University at ceremonies taking place on Saturday, 24 January.

The University confers honorary degrees on individuals who have made a significant contribution to society. Recipients often have existing links with the University and are chosen from nominations made by its members.

Professor Tanya Byron

Consultant clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, a University of York psychology graduate, is popularly known for presenting television programmes on child behaviour, science and current affairs including House of Tiny Tearaways and Am I Normal? She is the author of three books on child behaviour as well as a guide to child development, and writes a weekly advice column for the Times newspaper. Professor Byron has worked in the National Health Service for 18 years and currently spends one clinical day a week as a consultant in child and adolescent mental health. Last year she was made Professor in the Public Understanding of Science by Edge Hill University, where she is also Chancellor.

Professor Else Roesdahl

Professor Else Roesdahl is a leading expert on Viking and medieval archaeology and has published widely for both popular and academic audiences. A professor in the Department of Medieval and Renaissance Archaeology at the University of Aarhus, she has received numerous awards for her work including the 1988 Søren Gyldendal Prize for her book The Vikings. In 1992 she was made a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog, an honour conferred by the Queen of Denmark in recognition of particular contributions to Danish life. In 2007 she was elevated to the Order’s First Degree. Professor Roesdahl is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts.

David Atkinson

Chief Executive of City of York Council until July 2007, David Atkinson managed the city through substantial changes as longstanding manufacturing jobs were replaced by growth in employment in the financial, retail, science and tourism sectors. He was also a supporter of the University’s role in York. He joined the authority in 1995 as Director of Resources and was promoted to the post of Deputy Chief Executive three years later. In 2000 he was appointed Chief Executive, making him responsible for a £153m budget and 7,000 staff. He is now retired.


Notes to editors:

  • David Atkinson will be presented for his honorary degree by Professor Matthias Beck, of The York Management School, in Ceremony One, at 9.30am.
  • Professor Else Roesdahl will be presented for her honorary degree by Professor Martin Carver, of the Department of Archaeology, in Ceremony Two, at midday.
  • Professor Tanya Byron will be presented for her honorary degree by Professor Susan Gathercole, Head of the Department of Psychology, in Ceremony Three, at 3pm.

Contact details

James Reed
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 432029