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Durham University News

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Durham University to honour leading international figures

(16 April 2014)

Six leading international figures will be awarded honorary degrees alongside thousands of students graduating from Durham University in July.

One of Britain’s most distinguished organists, James Lancelot, will receive an honorary Doctor of Music. He is Master of the Choristers and Organist at Durham Cathedral with responsibility for the Cathedral’s ministry through music, a position held since 1985. He introduced girl choristers to the Cathedral in 2009, and at present is President of the Incorporated Association of Organists. 

Successful entrepreneur and businessman, Bob Young, will receive an Honorary Master of Arts. Mr Young’s businesses have made major contributions to the regional and national economy and he has established a scholarship programme which supports local students who are unable to secure funding for their university education.

Tony and Barbara Laithwaite, founders and owners of the world’s foremost home delivery wine company, Laithwaite’s Wine, will both receive an honorary Doctor of Civil Law. The couple met whilst they were both students at Durham University in the 1960’s and are major benefactors to Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience.

Renowned anthropologist and bio-archaeologist Professor Jane Buikstra will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. Professor Buikstra is the Director of the Centre for Bioarchaeological Research at Arizona State University and President of the Center for American Archaeology. 

Professor Mosobalaje Oyawoye, the first African Professor of Geology, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Science. Known as “The Father of Geology” in his home country of Nigeria, Professor Oyawoye studied for his PhD at Durham University.

The Congregation ceremonies will be held at Durham Cathedral and will take place from 1 to 4 July 2014.

Durham University is a world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education. The most recent UK league tables place Durham in the top echelon of British universities academically. 

Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University, said: “All of our honorary degree recipients have made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields. They all have strong links to Durham and some are alumni of the University.

“They are role models for our students in terms of what can be achieved with drive, determination and skill.”

“Durham’s graduates are among the most sought-after in the world. When our students embark on their own professional journeys I am sure they will draw inspiration from the success of our honorary graduates in making a real difference in whatever field they choose.”

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