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Durham University

Durham University News


Men of Business and Law to receive honorary degrees

(28 March 2003)

The leader of one of the world’s biggest companies and a top charity lawyer are due to join the distinguished ranks of honorary graduates of Durham University.

Ford Motor Company President Sir Nick Scheele and charity law expert Peter Mimpriss will receive honorary degrees from Sir Peter Ustinov, Chancellor of the University on Thursday 3 July in Durham Cathedral.

The ceremonies take place during the annual three-day period of summer Congregations when about 3,000 newly-graduating students receive their degrees. It will be a second Durham graduation for Sir Nick Scheele, who gained a BA in German in 1966.

Sir Kenneth Calman, Vice-Chancellor said, “The University recognises the achievements of both men, not only in their professional setting but also in the wider community. We are delighted to welcome them into our family of honorary graduates and look forward to celebrating their expertise and accomplishments”.
Notes for editors

  • On 3 July Sir Nick Scheele’s degree will be conferred at the 11.00 am ceremony and Peter Mimpriss’s at 2.00 pm. More details will be issued in a media operations note nearer the day.
  • See below for biographical summaries on both men.
  • The University is due to confer other honorary degrees to be announced later.

Further information

Claire West, Public Relations, tel: 0191 334 6074
or Keith Seacroft, Head of Public Relations, tel: 0191 334 6077
Biographical details

DCL Sir Nick Scheele
President and Chief Operating Officer of Ford Motor Company – the world’s 5th largest company.

Second only to Bill Ford Jr, Sir Nick started at Ford in 1966 as a buyer after gaining his BA in German at Durham. “Mr Fix-it” is best known in the UK for turning around the fortunes of Jaguar cars, bought by Ford in 1989. After improving quality, doubling sales and retaining Jaguar’s reputation as a top provider of luxury cars during the 1990s, he became Chairman of Ford Europe in 2000. When Jacques Nasser was forced to resign as Chief Executive in 2001 Scheele moved to North America to lead Ford globally. He is quoted as seeing Ford’s future priorities to be in “alternative modes of transport … and methods of cleaning air, for example hybrid electric vehicles”. Devoted to children’s welfare, community relations and industrial regeneration, he is a member of many charity boards including being a life member of the NSPCC. Sir Nick maintains a relationship with the University, keen to enhance Durham sporting facilities. He enjoys reading, classical music, tennis and squash. Sir Nick Scheele was awarded a knighthood in 1998 for services to British exports.

DCL Peter Mimpriss CVO
Respected Commentator on Charity and Tax Law

Peter Mimpriss was a partner of the law firm Allen and Overy from 1972 until his retirement in October 2002. During this time he built up an outstanding reputation in the fields of charity and tax law. He has held trusteeships and directorships of several major national charities including: Leeds Castle Foundation 1980-; Weston Park Foundation 1986-98; Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust 1988-2000; The Prince's Trust 1998-; Institute for Philanthropy 2000-; World Trade Center Disaster Fund 2001-;The Prince’s Regeneration through Heritage Trust 2002-. He was University Solicitor, University of London 1994-2002; co-founder and chairman Charity Law Association 1992-97; and chairman Chariguard Group of Common Investment Funds from 1994-2000. In October 2002 he became Director of the Edmond J Safra Philanthropic Foundation. He was made Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 2001.