During our summer Congregations honorary degrees will be given to candidates who have been nominated by University staff and approved by Senate. During the ceremony a speech of the life and work of the graduand is presented prior to conferring the award.
Professor Edith Hall is a scholar of classics and cultural history, who has just left the Classics Department at King's College London to rejoin the department at Durham. Originally specialising in ancient Greek literature, she has held posts at the universities of Cambridge, Reading, Oxford, RHUL and Durham, and visiting chairs at several North American institutions. Known for her humorous style of lecturing, she broadcasts frequently on radio and television, has published over thirty books, works as a consultant with professional theatres, lectures all over the world, and publishes widely in academic and mainstream journals and newspapers.
An environmental campaigner since 1989, Maggie Bosanquet has led Durham County Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Team for 27 years. She has built up a nationally renowned team of experts, working with them and partners to deliver a multi-million-pound programme of climate emergency related sustainability, energy and carbon initiatives. Maggie is a Durham Energy Institute Advisory Board member and supports the work of the DEI and the wider university, working with students and researchers to develop innovative projects. She sits on many regional and national partnerships, including the Regional Energy Officers Group and Climate Emergency Strategic Board which she helped establish.
Henry Timms is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He is the creator of the largest global philanthropic movement in history, #GivingTuesday, which has raised over $7 billion in donations for good causes. He is also the co-author of the international best-selling book New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World - and How to Make it Work for You, and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the 92nd St Y. Henry serves the Harvard Kennedy School as a Hauser Leader and is a Senior Fellow at both the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University and the United Nations Foundation.
Simon Croft is Professor of Parasitology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Having read Zoology at Durham University, he gained a PhD at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He has worked on the discovery and development of drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in academia, industry and public-private partnerships and advanced two treatments for the leishmaniasis. He has advised NTD programmes for the WHO, Wellcome Trust, UK ODA and others including the Durham-led MRC Global Challenges Research Fund: Global Network for NTDs. Simon has been R&D Director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Geneva, Dean of Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, LSHTM and President of the British Society for Parasitology.
The first female Poet Laureate of Jamaica (2017-2020), Lorna Goodison has won many awards for her work, including the 2019 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and the Musgrave Gold Medal from Jamaica. In a series of ground-breaking books of poetry published over forty years, from Tamarind Season (1980) to her 600-page Collected Poems (2017) and Mother Muse (2021), she has written poems of extraordinary music, sensuous texture, and powerful historical imagination that straddle the divide between oral and literary traditions, and between creole and visionary rhetoric. Her poetry journeys into the recesses of her personal, familial, and historical past, unflinchingly mourns the wounds of Caribbean history, and yet celebrates the region’s multiple peoples, cultures, religions, and languages. Lorna Goodison is Professor Emerita at University of Michigan, where she was the Lemuel A. Johnson Professor of English and African and Afroamerican Studies. She lives in Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia with her husband, Professor Ted Chamberlin.
Jill Black is a Durham Law School graduate from Trevelyan College. Specialising in family law, she took silk in 1994. She was appointed a High Court judge in 1999, also becoming a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). Lady Black was appointed a Lady Justice of Appeal in 2010 and, in 2017, she became the second women to be appointed as a Justice of the UK Supreme Court, retiring in 2021. Amongst the additional roles she fulfilled whilst a judge, she was Head of International Family Justice, and Vice Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission.
Sara Thornton graduated from Durham University with a BA in Philosophy and Politics. She is the UK's Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, served as the chief constable of Thames Valley Police for eight years,’ and was the first Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 2015 to 2019. She is chair of the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit Leadership Advisory Board, an Honorary Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force and Honorary Professor in Modern Slavery at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, University of Liverpool. She is a member of the Royal College of Defence Studies, the Advisory Board for the Oxford University Centre for Criminology and a trustee and board member of the Police Foundation. Sara was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2006, made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011 and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2019.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller is a tireless advocate for awareness, understanding, support and treatment of mental health challenges. After his son Charlie, like his father a Durham graduate, took his own life while suffering from depression, he co-founded the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. This is now one of the UK’s most respected mental health charities and works closely with the Counselling Service at Durham University. Sir Mark read law at Durham before enjoying a long and hugely successful career in the profession, as a Queen’s Counsel and finally Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division).
Orations will be made available for all recipients after the ceremonies.