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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 Winter Congregation 2017

John C Taylor - Honorary Doctor of Science on Thursday 12 January at 12:00 noon

Professor John C Taylor OBE is a world-renowned inventor and entrepreneur perhaps best known for designing thermostat systems. After 20 years working for the family business Otter Controls, Professor Taylor left to build his own company Strix Ltd which received four Queen's Awards. He is an eminent horologist, with a renowned collection of early English clocks and watches. Professor Taylor designed the Chronophage clocks, which have been exhibited in a number of museums. The one on the outer wall of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge has become a major tourist attraction. In 2011, Professor Taylor was made an OBE for services to business and horology. He is a visiting Professor of Physics at Durham and generously supported research in the Physics department.

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Kathryn Tickell - Honorary Master of Music on Thursday 12 January at 3:00 pm

Kathryn Tickell OBE is an acclaimed performer of the Northumbrian pipes, as well as a renowned folk musician, composer and recording artist. Her work is rooted in the North East of England, inspired by its places and people. She released her first album at 16 and has since recorded 14 more; she has performed on the BBC proms and collaborated with Sting on a number of projects including his music theatre show The Last Ship. She founded The Young Musicians Fund, which has raised £100,000 for young people in the region, and initiated The Festival of the North East. Kathryn has a strong association with Durham; she has performed and recorded in Durham Cathedral and last year she performed at Ushaw College. Her father was born in Durham, and her grandfather was a County Durham pitman. In 2009, she received the Queen's Medal for Music and an OBE for services to folk music in 2015.

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