Jon Snow and Bill Kenwright among University honours

Jon Snow

Jon Snow

Award winning journalist, Jon Snow, and leading theatre, film and TV producer, Bill Kenwright, are among seven esteemed figures to receive honorary degrees from the University of Liverpool this month.

Jon Snow and Bill Kenwright will be honoured alongside Director General of CERN, Professor Rolf Heuer; civil engineer, Er Bee Wah Lee; President of East China Normal University (ECNU), Professor Dr Lizhong Yu; Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, Sir Tom Blundell; and Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Michael Brown.

Jon Snow is an award-winning journalist and presenter of Channel Four News. He studied Law at the University from 1968-70, before being excluded for his part in an anti-apartheid protest on its campus. He did Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in Uganda, and was Director of the New Horizon Youth centre, looking after homeless and vulnerable young people in Central London. In 1973 he joined the London Broadcasting Company, Britain’s first legal commercial radio station, before transferring to ITN in 1976. Jon is also Trustee of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and is Deputy Chair of the Media Trust.

Leading West End theatre, TV and film producer, and the Chairman of Everton football club, Bill Kenwright, was born in Wavertree, Liverpool and began his career as an actor. After several appearances in West End musicals, he was offered the part of Gordon Clegg in Coronation Street. He left the show a year later and set up his own theatrical production company. Bill Kenwright Ltd is the most prolific theatre company in the world and in 2000 Bill was awarded a CBE for services to film and theatre.

Professor Rolf Heuer is Director General of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Since starting his role as Director General in 2009, he has overseen the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, which was built with the help of physicists from the University of Liverpool. The LHC is seeking answers to some of the most fundamental mysteries of the Universe, from anti-matter to dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

Er Bee Wah Lee is a civil engineer and a member of the Singapore Parliament. She began her career with Singapore Technologies Private Limited (STPL), where she was the only female site engineer in a team of more than 50. STPL sponsored her to do a Master of Science (Engineering) at the University of Liverpool. In 1996 she set up her own company, LBW Consultants LLP, which looks after commercial, industrial and residential engineering projects. She was elected to parliament in 2006.

President of East China Normal University (ECNU), Professor Dr Lizhong Yu, was born in Shanghai and has been associated with the University since 1978 when he applied to study Geography. In 1985, he completed his PhD at the University of Liverpool. He then returned to ECNU to work as associate professor, where his later roles included Deputy Director the Geography department, Chief of the Research Office, and President. A pioneer for the study of Environmental Magnetism, he is co-chairman of the Shanghai Association of Environmental Science and Technology and is a senior adviser of the Shanghai Association of Science and Technology.

Sir Tom Blundell is Professor Emeritus and Director of Research in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. His research interests in the molecular architecture of living organisms have been focused on molecular and structural biology of growth factors, receptor activation and signal transduction, which are important in cancer and other diseases. In 2009 he was appointed Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the UK’s leading funding agency for academic research and training. He co-founded Astex Therapeutics, a company that makes cancer medicines and is currently a Non-Executive Director and Chair of Astex’s Science Advisory Board.

Professor Michael Brown will receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. He began his career in a research and academic post at the University of Nottingham, which was followed by a Royal Society European Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Centre d’Etudes Nucleaires in Grenoble, a Senior Lecturer post at Loughborough University, General Manager of Loughborough Consultants and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at De Montfort University. A Chartered Physicist and a Chartered Engineer, Professor Brown is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Directors and the Royal Society of Arts as well as being a Companion of the Institute of Management. He is also a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Merseyside and was awarded a CBE in 2008 for services to higher education and the communities of Liverpool.

The honorary degrees will be conferred during a week of ceremonies at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall from Monday, 18 July, in which more than 4,000 students will graduate.

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