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Durham University

Durham University News


Six set for honorary doctorates at Durham University

(16 February 2005)

Durham University salutes the achievements of six men and women in the worlds of science, financial management, literature, music and religion with the award of honorary doctorates at degree ceremonies in the summer and next winter.

Announcing the University’s list of honorary graduates for 2004-05 the Vice-Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman said: “The University is delighted to celebrate the outstanding work, leadership and inspiration to others that these men and women give to the wider community.

“They represent values that we also hold high – academic excellence and engagement through science, the arts and humanities, with society as a whole. They have a mixture of strong links with the North East region and with national and international affairs.

“We look forward to them joining us when we confer degrees on our regular graduates in the next few months and welcoming them into the University family.”

The ceremonies will be held in Durham Cathedral at the end of June and next January when more than 3,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students will receive their degrees. Individual dates and arrangements will be announced later.

The candidates are:

  • Newcastle-born Sir Derek Wanless, a Director of Northern Rock plc and Northumbrian Water plc and former Group Chief Executive of the National Westminster Bank, who has been a major adviser to the government on public health planning. He will be made a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL ).
  • Peter Carter, the leader of the well-known Allegri String Quartet who are an established part of the North East concert calendar, becomes a Doctor of Music (DMus).
  • The University is conferring Doctor of Science (DSc) degrees on two key people in the development of UK science research and its interaction with industry, Professor Julia Goodfellow, the Chief Executive of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Professor Sir Gareth Roberts, a former Durham University professor whose career has embraced industry and academic research and management.
  • The writer Anne Stevenson, who was born in America, now living in Durham, is a poet, critic and biographer of international stature. She will be made a Doctor of Letters (DLitt ).
  • Cardinal Walter Kasper, an eminent theologian and influential Vatican figure in co-operation between religions as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is to receive a Doctor of Divinity (DD) degree.

Ceremonies to be held on 30 June or 1 July 2005

Doctor of Music (DMus)–Peter Carter -Performer, teacher and promoter of music

Peter Carter and the Allegri Quartet have had a close association with the University since 1998. They give concerts under the MUSICON programme, open rehearsals, composition workshops, lectures, instrumental tuition and other activities involving students, staff and members of the public. He is regarded as one of the most influential and experienced chamber musicians of his generation, championing in particular the string quartet repertoire in universities and throughout the UK. He has been leader of the Allegri since 1976 and has confirmed its reputation both nationally and internationally as one of the most respected and widely-recorded chamber groups. Born in Durban, South Africa, in 1935, and is the fourth generation of his family to have been a professional musician in London. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London, and in Brussels. Apart from two years as Senior Lecturer in Strings at the University of Cape Town, he has lived in this country since 1952. Before becoming leader of the Allegri, he was second violin in the Dartington String Quartet and leader of the Delmé Quartet. His violin is by JB Guadagnini, c. 1765.

Doctor of Science (DSc) – Julia Goodfellow-Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

In 2002 Professor Julia Goodfellow became the first woman to be appointed chief executive of any of the UK research councils. The BBSRC oversees the allocation of the government’s annual funding of more than £300 million for research in biotechnology and biology. She had spent more than 20 years at Birkbeck College, University of London, where she was Vice-Master from 1998 and Professor of Biomolecular Science from 1995 and Head of the School of Crystallography. Her research group has an international reputation for computer simulation work on the structure of large molecules. She joined the BBSRC Council in 1997. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Biology and the Royal College of Arts. She opened Durham’s new Integrated Cell Biology Lab in 2002.

Doctor of Science (DSc)– Professor Sir Gareth Roberts-leading example of industrial and academic cross-over

Sir Gareth has been President Wolfson College Oxford since 2001 and is a major figure in the UK academic community. From1976-85 he was Professor of Applied Physics and Head of the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Durham and made a great contribution to the development of the Department. He became Chief Scientist and Director of Research at Thorn EMI 1986-90, then Vice Chancellor University of Sheffield 1991-2000. Elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1984, he was knighted in 1997 and served as President of the Institute of Physics 1998-2000 As a member of numerous public body committees including the Presidency of the Science Council and Chairman of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Committee, he has had a substantial influence of the development of national science policy

Doctor of Letters (DLitt )- Anne Stevenson - poet, critic and biographer of international stature

Anne Stevenson has led a life of dedication and achievement in poetry. This year is the 40th anniversary of her first publication, Living in America. Anne Stevenson now lives in Durham and has a long connection with the region and university. In 2002 she won the Inaugural Northern Rock Foundation Writers’ Award (£60,000) and was Northern Arts Literary Fellow at the Universities of Durham (1981-82) and Newcastle (1984-85). Daughter of the American philosopher C.L. Stevenson, she grew up in post World Ward II United States and came to England in the 1950s. She is regarded as among the wisest and most accomplished contemporary poets.

Doctor of Civil Law (DCL )– Sir Derek Wanless-Former Group Chief Executive of the National Westminster Bank

Derek Wanless is now a Director of Northern Rock plc and Northumbrian Water plc. Also Vice Chairman of the Statistics Commission and a Trustee of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, he has recently been an influential advisor to the Government on health service resourcing and public health issues. His influence is expected to shape Government policy for many years to come, particularly about the impact of “good health equals good economics” and the shift towards the promotion of good health for the whole population to create a true health service rather than a sickness service. He was knighted for his public service in the 2005 New Years Honours.

Ceremony to be held in January 2006

Doctor of Divinity (DD) - Walter Cardinal Kasper-Eminent theologian and a world figure in co-operation between religions

An ecclesiastic of international standing and influence and author of major academic works, Walter Cardinal Kasper is established at the very forefront of contemporary Catholic theology committed to constructive ecumenical engagement. He studied Catholic Theology at the Universities of Tubingen and Munich 1952-56 and is former Professor of Theology at Tubingen which has strong links with Durham.

In 1979 he was chosen as one of a dozen Catholic theologians to sit on the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission, one of the most comprehensive theological forums in Christianity. He became Archbishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart in 1989. Ten years later he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Secretary to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and became President of the Pontifical Council after he was created a Cardinal in 2001. With outstanding record of academic, ecclesial and ecumenical achievements, Walter Cardinal Kasper has been awarded honorary degrees from universities around the world, but has yet to be honoured by an English university.

Media contact : Keith Seacroft, Head of Public Relations, University of Durham, Tel +44 (0) 191 334 6074 e-mail :

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