Founding members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Baroness Shirley Williams and Lord Bill Rodgers, have joined materials scientist Professor Dame Julia Higgins to receive honorary degrees from the University of Liverpool (Monday, 8 December).
Baroness Williams of Crosby set up the SDP in 1981 with Lord Rodgers, the late Lord Roy Jenkins, and University of Liverpool Chancellor Lord David Owen – a group that became known as the ‘Gang of Four’. During her early political career Baroness Williams held a number of cabinet posts as a Labour MP and was responsible for introducing comprehensive education for all in the UK. She also helped to draft new constitutions in Russia and the Ukraine following the fall of Communism.
She was made a life peer in 1992, served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and now works as an advisor on nuclear proliferation for Gordon Brown.
Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank was born and brought up in Liverpool. He was appointed Secretary of State for Transport in 1976 but left Labour in 1981 and set up the SDP. He was made a life peer of the House of Lords in 1992, and later became the leader of the Liberal Democrats. He is still an active member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee. Outside Parliament he became Director General of the Royal Institute of British Architects and later Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority.
One of the UK’s leading scientists Professor Dame Julia Higgins will also be honoured. Dame Julia is a distinguished academic and international policy maker whose research into polymer science and ‘neutron scattering’ has placed her at the forefront of her field.She has served as Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2001 and a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2003.
The honorary degrees were conferred at the Philharmonic Hall.
Notes to editors:
1. Members of the media are welcome to attend the Philharmonic Hall prior to each event for interviews/photographs. Please contact Laura Johnson on the number below if you plan to attend. Please arrive at the back entrance of the Philharmonic Hall at the time indicated.
Professor Dame Julia Higgins – 12.15 pm
Baroness Williams of Crosby and Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank – 2.30 pm
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 £108 million annually.