University of Liverpool announces 2009 honours

Acclaimed conductor, Vasily Petrenko, and one of the country’s leading theatre directors, Jude Kelly, are among 10 esteemed figures to receive honorary degrees from the University of Liverpool next week.

Vasily Petrenko, originally from Leningrad, Russia, was appointed the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s (RLPO) youngest-ever principal conductor in 2005 following his success in St Petersburg and Moscow.  Under his guidance the RLPO made its Proms debut in 2008 and played a significant role in the city’s European Capital of Culture celebrations.  Vasily will also be appointed an honorary professor at the University’s School of Music.

One of the country’s leading theatre directors, Jude Kelly OBE, is recognised nationally for her achievements in founding and developing community theatre companies. Originally from Liverpool, Jude was appointed the first artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse where she hosted productions such as Checkov’s The Seagull, starring Ian McKellen and J.B.Priestley’s Johnson over Jordan, starring Patrick Stewart.  She is now the artistic director of the South Bank Centre in London, and chairs the group planning for the cultural and educational dimensions of the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Tung Chee-Chen is Chairman and Chief Executive of Orient Overseas International Limited – one of the largest and most successful shipping corporations in the world and among Hong Kong’s most recognised global brands.  The shipping tycoon was born in Shanghai and educated in Birkenhead and at the University of Liverpool.  He succeeded his brother, Chee-Hwa, also a Liverpool graduate, when he became the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong. 

Professor Sir John Sulston was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death.  This work has now been developed, under Sir John’s leadership, into an ongoing international project to map the human genome.

Professor Dame Sally Davies is Director General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department of Health and the National Health Service. In this role she has created a radical new strategy for research for the NHS.  The strategy, called ‘Best Research for Best Health’, aims to bring academic research and health care practices closer together.

Lord Bhikhu Parekh, from Gujarat, India, is a political philosopher at the University of Westminster and is internationally acclaimed for his work on Ghandi, Karl Marx and Michael Oakeshott.  Following his role as Deputy and Acting Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, his study Rethinking Multiculturalism was published, alongside the report of the Runnymede Trust’s Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. This controversial report transformed public debate about multiculturalism, and became known as the Parekh Report.

Professor Bernard Raveau is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of solid state chemistry. He demonstrated the ability to make new materials that could act as so-called superconductors, which he found to greatly reduce the energy loss associated with existing electric conductors. Bernard is founder and director of the National Research Centre of Technology at the University of Caen in France.

University of Liverpool graduate, Jim Eyre OBE, is one of Britain’s most innovative architects.  His commissions include Liverpool’s Echo Arena and Conference Centre, the ‘Bridge of Aspiration’ in Covent Garden and the new cold-climate Alpine House at Kew Gardens. As partner and director of the Wilkinson Eyre practice he has seen national and international success with the refurbishment of the new Bodleian Library in Oxford and the master-plan for a 300-acre botanic garden on the Singapore waterfront. 

As Keeper of Art Galleries for Museums and Galleries on Merseyside between 1989 and 2007, Julian Treuherz, supervised the ambitious renovation of the Walker Art Gallery and brought a series of high-profile exhibits to Liverpool, most notably on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and on Art in the Age of Steam. 

Peter Bounds is a former Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council and recognised for leading the city away from difficult financial times during the early 1990s and towards the achievements of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.  Peter now has roles as a Civil Service Commissioner, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Council of the Anglican Cathedral.

The honorary degrees will be conferred during a week of ceremonies at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall from Monday, 6 July, in which more than 4,000 students will graduate.

Notes to editors:

1. Reporters are invited to attend the ceremonies and photographers are invited to attend prior to each ceremony.  Please contact Samantha Martin in advance if you plan to attend. 

Monday, 6 July, 10.30am – Professor Bernard Raveau (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science)
Monday, 6 July, 3.00pm – Tung Chee-Chen (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)
Tuesday, 7 July, 10.30am – Vasily Petrenko (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music)
Tuesday, 7 July, 10.30am – Jude Kelly OBE (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature)
Tuesday, 7 July, 3.00pm – Jim Eyre OBE (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)
Wednesday, 8 July, 10.30am – Professor Sir John Sulston (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science)
Wednesday, 8 July, 3.00pm – Professor Dame Sally Davies (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science)
Thursday, 9 July, 10.00am – Lord Bhikhu Parekh (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)
Thursday, 9 July, 3.30pm – Peter Bounds (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)
Friday, 10 July, 10.30am – Julian Treuherz (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)

2. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

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