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Ceremonies Unit

Honorary Degrees

At certain Congregation ceremonies the University awards honorary degrees to candidates who have been nominated by University staff and approved by Senate. During the ceremony a speech (oration) of the life and work of the graduand is presented prior to conferring the award.

If you would like someone to be considered for an honorary award, view the nomination information.


The following honorary degrees will be awarded during Summer Congregation 2015

Ahmed Cassim Bawa - Honorary Doctor of Science on Tuesday 23 June at 11:00 am

Professor Ahmed Bawa is Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Durban University of Technology, South Africa. He is a theoretical physicist, and between 1986 and 1988 studied for his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at Durham University. He spent many years in academic administration in South Africa, including four years as deputy vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Natal. Between 2002 and 2010 he was based in the United States working as programme officer of higher education and scholarship for the Ford Foundation and as a faculty member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Hunter College, both in New York. He returned to South Africa in 2010.

Gabby Logan - Honorary Doctor of Civil Law on Wednesday 24 June at 9:00 am

Gabby Logan is a television presenter and a former international gymnast. She studied Law at Durham University, graduating in 1995, where she also began her radio broadcasting career at Metro Radio. She joined Sky Sports in 1996 before moving to ITV where her presenting credits include The World Cup, Champions League, Premiership and the Boat Race. In 2004 she hosted Sport Relief for the BBC before joining the corporation in 2007. She was a key member of the BBC’s presenting team for the London 2012 Olympics, 2014 Football World Cup and Comic Relief in March 2015. She is Vice President of Sparks, a children’s medical research charity, and patron of the Disabilities Trust, Prince’s Trust and Great Ormond Street.

Peter Alan Shaw - Honorary Doctor of Civil Law on Wednesday 24 June at 2:00 pm

Professor Peter Shaw held three Director General posts in the UK Government leading on major developments in education and employment. He was a Founding Partner of Praesta Partners, a specialist coaching organisation. He has coached senior leaders and teams across five continents. He has written 21 influential books on aspects of leadership and is a Visiting Professor of Leadership Development at university business schools. He studied geography at Durham University, graduating in 1970. He was a member of St John's College Council from 1994 to 2008 and is a Professorial Fellow at the College. He was Government Regional Director for the North East of England from 1991 to 1993.