Students Staff

16 July 2016

Graduation 2016 at the University of Essex

Graduation 2016 - 13 July

Graduation 2016 saw thousands of students celebrating success in their studies with the University of Essex also recognising distinguished individuals across a range of fields through the awarding of Honorary Degrees.

People around the world watched Graduation ceremonies online on the University website and you will be able to catch up with them all for a limited period from later this week.

Excellence in Teaching Awards were also be awarded to outstanding staff and the University welcomed back Alumna of the Year Amy Woolf to receive her award.

This year’s Honorary Graduands

Honorary graduates this year include multi BAFTA-winning producer and director Geoff Posner and internationally-known maverick artist Gee Vaucher. They will join nearly 3,000 students and 7,000 guests for this year’s celebration, which takes place from Tuesday 12 July to Friday 15 July.

Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili - 10am ceremony, Tuesday 12 July

Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili is a former Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa Region and a co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign to find the 300 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

She has held several keys positions within the Nigerian government and her career is defined by a pursuit of transparency, accountability and policy reform, primarily in economics and education for Africa.

A leading chartered accountant, Ms Ezekwesili is currently Senior Advisor on African Economic Development Policy at the Open Society Foundations, where she assists the Mano River governments with international financial relations. She also works on developing a school of public policy in Abuja, Nigeria.

Holding a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, she began her career as a qualified chartered accountant with Deloitte and has served as Director of the Harvard-Nigeria Economic Strategy Program in Boston and Abuja.

Diana Nammi - 1pm ceremony, Tuesday 12 July

Diana Nammi has dedicated her life to campaigning for universal human rights. She spent 12 years on the frontline as a a member of the Peshmerga - the Kurdish military force - but eventually her activism in Kurdistan-Iran and neighbouring countries resulted in her facing persecution, which forced her to seek refuge as a political refugee.

She now lives in the UK and in 2002, in response to the “honour” killing of her own, British-Iraqi interpreter, she founded the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO), an NGO providing advice, advocacy, training and counselling to women and girls from Middle Eastern and North African, Afghan and Turkish communities affected by so-called “honour”-based violence, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation as well as domestic violence.

As Executive Director, Ms Nammi leads IKWRO’s campaigning which has led to recognition from the authorities that “honour”-based violence is a crime and must never be justified under the name of culture. She was instrumental in the criminalisation of forced marriage in the UK in 2014.

Helena Morrissey CBE - 4pm ceremony, Tuesday 12 July

Helena Morrissey CBE actively champions gender equality in business.

She is the CEO of Newton, a London-based global investment company, as well as Chair of The Investment Association (IA) and Founder of the 30% Club.

Ms Morrissey joined Newton in 1994 as a fixed income fund manager and was appointed CEO in 2001. Newton manages around £50 billion for pension funds, charities and through funds available to individuals.

In June 2014 Ms Morrissey was appointed Chair of The IA, the UK’s industry trade body whose members manage £5 trillion. Recently, Ms Morrissey was appointed by the Chancellor to the UK’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board.

In 2010, Ms Morrissey founded the 30% Club, a cross-business initiative aimed at achieving 30% women on UK corporate boards. She has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. In 2013 and 2014 she was voted one of the 50 Most Influential People in Finance globally by Bloomberg Markets.

Professor John Scott CBE - 10am ceremony, Wednesday 13 July

World-leading sociologist Professor John Scott CBE is Chair of Section S4 of the British Academy, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Scott is internationally renowned for publishing high quality research, particularly on class, capitalism and power. He was awarded a CBE in 2013 for services to the social sciences, and he holds a PhD on the concepts of class and status.

Calling Essex “the strongest social science University in the UK” and naming the Department of Sociology “the best in the country”, Professor Scott spent 14 years at the University. Whilst here he produced successful works Sociological Theory (1995) and Social Theory (2006). He also helped found the University of Essex Graduate Journal Of Sociology, which aims to raise the publication profile of our graduates. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Essex.

A member since 1970, Professor Scott became the President of the British Sociological Association in 2001. He has edited Sociology Review, the Sociology magazine for A-Level students, was Chair of the Sociology panel in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

John Pullinger CB - 10am ceremony, Thursday 14 July

Leading statistician John Pullinger is the Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority. He is also the UK National Statistician, Head of the Government Statistical Service, and has been chair of the UN Statistical Commission and President of the Royal Statistical Society.

His aim as a statistician is to increase the use of statistics in civil society and the policymaking process, “mobilising the power of data to help Britain make better decisions”.

Formerly a member of what is now the Executive Committee, a body responsible for managing the services of the House of Commons, Mr Pullinger worked closely with the Speaker and several committees to develop the connection between Parliament and the public. He was for ten years the Librarian of the House of Commons providing research and information services to MPs of all parties.

He was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Bath in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for his services to Parliament and to the community via Great Culverden Park Ltd.

Upon completing his degree in Geography and Statistics, John entered the civil service. He worked in a number of government departments before becoming Director of Planning at the former Central Statistical Office (CSO). Mr Pullinger was also instrumental in the creation of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), CSO’s successor, which he now has executive responsibility for as Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority.

William Pooley MBE - 1pm ceremony, Thursday 14 July

Qualified nurse William Pooley MBE contracted and survived the Ebola virus during the 2014 outbreak in Sierra Leone.

He qualified in 2013 as a nurse, and travelled to Africa to work with sufferers of cancer, tuberculosis and HIV. When there was the Ebola outbreak Mr Pooley immediately volunteered to assist at a clinic treating Ebola victims. A selfless individual who tirelessly strives to help others, Mr Pooley became ill just six weeks after he began volunteering in Sierra Leone.

Mr Pooley had to be airlifted back to the UK for treatment for the virus. He was treated in a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London where he was given the experimental drug ZMapp.

After recovering from the disease that has killed thousands, he returned to Africa to continue his work as a nurse in an Ebola unit run by medical staff from the UK. Mr Pooley’s blood plasma was given to Pauline Cafferkey, a British aid worker who contracted Ebola in December of 2014.

Mr Pooley has since returned to England, and has campaigned for the US and UK governments to do more when it comes to international health outbreaks.

Geoff Posner - 4pm ceremony, Thursday 14 July

Internationally-renowned Producer and Director Geoff Posner has won six BAFTAs, two International Emmy Awards and four British Comedy Awards.

Graduating from Essex with a Sociology degree in 1970, he had wanted to direct television programmes since watching Top Of The Pops, aged 12.

At Essex, he became Chair of the Entertainments Committee, marking his first step into the worlds of music and comedy. He joined the BBC as a Runner and within six years he had directed his own show, ironically enough Top of The Pops. He went on to Produce and Direct some of the best-loved TV comedy shows since the 1980s, including Not The Nine O’Clock News, The Young Ones, Saturday Live and Little Britain as well as series starring Victoria Wood, Steve Coogan, Lenny Henry, Paul Merton, French & Saunders, Harry Enfield and Catherine Tate.

He directed the pilot programmes of both Blackadder and Vic Reeves’s Big Night Out. Mr Posner’s company, Pozzitive, specialises in nurturing young comedic talent, both in television and radio. He is also one of the country’s leading directors of live events, having directed the Eurovision Song Contest, two Princes Trust Concerts, events for Amnesty International and Comic Relief and both the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Concerts from Buckingham Palace. He was one of the directors of Live 8, the Royal Wedding and the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

He is very committed to nurturing younger generations. He is a Lecturer in Television at the University of Arts in London, and returned to Essex recently to attend the Sociology Speed Networking event, crediting Essex’s radical thinking for helping ‘position himself in the world’.

Gee Vaucher - 10am ceremony, Friday 15 July

Gee Vaucher is an internationally-known maverick artist, activist, filmmaker and gardener - a key figure in the art of politics and the politics of art.

Throughout most of her adult life, Ms Vaucher has lived at Dial House, a 17th century farm cottage in Essex. From its inception in 1967 as an open house, ‘open door, open heart’, the building has attracted visitors from around the globe to share ideas of art, activism and sustainable living.

Between 1977 and 1985 the house was home to the anarchist punk band, Crass.

Having in the late ‘70’s taken time out for a couple of years, Ms Vaucher worked as a successful illustrator in New York, where she also published the radical broadsheet, ‘International Anthem, a nihilist newspaper for the living.’ In 1978, she returned to Dial House to join Crass as their designer and filmmaker.

Since Crass disbanded, Ms Vaucher has continued to develop her work in all mediums from painting to illustration, sculpture to filmmaking, bookmaking to gardening.

In November 2016, Ms Vaucher will be at Firstsite Colchester, with her first full-scale UK exhibition, co-curated by Stevphen Shukaitis, from the University’s Centre for Work, Organisation, and Society.

Sir Garry Hawkes CBE - 1pm ceremony, Friday 15 July

Edge Hotel School co-founder Sir Garry Hawkes CBE is described as one the greatest pioneers within the contract catering sector.

Sir Garry is now Director of the Edge Foundation, former President of Hospitality Action, President of the British Hospitality Association, former Chairman of Edexcel and former Chair of the Basic Skills Agency.

He went to Huddersfield Polytechnic and studied Hospitality Management for three years. After studying, he rose through the ranks to become chief executive of international catering company Gardner Merchant, leading the management buyout to buy the company. Sir Garry then became chairman of Edexcel, which he later sold to Pearson, the publishers of the Financial Times.

With the proceeds he set up the independent educational charity The Edge Foundation, which supports technical, practical, vocational and professional education through the UK. Sir Garry was awarded a CBE for services to tourism and the catering industry.

Danny Pecorelli - 1pm ceremony, Friday 15 July

Successful hotelier Danny Pecorelli is the Managing Director of the luxury hotel group Exclusive Hotels and Venues.

Running four hotels, two venues and two golf clubs and holding an unprecedented 20 AA stars and four Michelin stars between them, Mr Pecorelli has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations throughout his career, including Hotelier of the Year 2014.

Having worked his way up over the past 25 years through the hospitality industry, Mr Pecorelli is a firm believer in career progression and is passionate about hospitality education.

He is a keen supporter of the unique Edge Hotel School, based at Wivenhoe House. Mr Pecorelli regularly visits the School to give his popular masterclasses on the hospitality industry. Through Exclusive Hotels and Venues Mr Pecorelli also awards scholarships and mentoring support to students working towards their degrees in Hotel Management.

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