Liverpool’s 2014 Honorary Graduates


Philip Clarke

Former Chief of Bureau for BBC Delhi, Sir Mark Tully, and Labour Party politician and journalist Lord Adonis, are among seven esteemed figures to receive honorary degrees from the University of Liverpool.

Sir Mark and Lord Adonis will be honoured alongside silver Olympic medalist, Dr Alison Mowbray; Chief Executive Officer of Tesco PLC, Philip Clarke; Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, Paul Polman; Chemistry Nobel Prize winner, Professor Dan Shechtman; and Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cambridge, Shankar Balasubramanian.

Sir Mark is a freelance broadcaster and writer who worked for the BBC for 30 years. He is best known for his role as Chief of Bureau for BBC Delhi. Born in Calcutta, he has written several books and received a number of awards for his work, including the BAFTA Dimbleby Award. He was knighted in 2002 and later received the Padma Bhushan award, one of the most prestigious honours in India.

Minister for Schools

Lord Adonis was a journalist at the Financial Times for five years, before moving to The Observer as a political columnist. He later joined Tony Blair’s policy staff, first as Education Adviser and then as Head of the Policy Unit. He was Minister for Schools from May 2005 until October 2008, Minister of State for Transport from October 2008 to June 2009, and Secretary of State for Transport from June 2009 until May 2010.

Dr Mowbray learnt to row whilst she was a student of Microbial Biotechnology at the University of Liverpool. She joined the British Olympic team in 1998, where she continued to train for the next seven years. Dr Mowbray competed in five World Championships and the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games, winning silver at Athens. In 2012 she was a bid ambassador and Olympic and Paralympic Gamesmaker.


Philip Clarke is a graduate of the University, who began his retail career at a Tesco store in his home city of Liverpool where he worked while he was studying. After graduation, he joined the Tesco Management Training Programme and spent the following nine years in Store Management. Following directing roles at stores throughout the Midlands, North of England and Scotland, he took responsibility for the businesses outside the UK, leading the company’s entry into China and India. He remained Chief Information Officer until taking up the role of CEO in 2011.

Paul Polman is a recipient of both the Atlantic Council Award for Distinguished Business Leadership and the CK Prahalad Award for Global Sustainability Leadership. As Chief Executive of Unilever, he has set out an ambitious vision to double the size of the company while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. He has overseen a collaboration between Unilever, the University of Liverpool and the Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop a state-of-the-art Materials Innovation Factory that will open in 2016.

Icosahedral Phase

Professor Shechtman is the Philip Tobias distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology as well as Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. While on sabbatical at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he discovered the Icosahedral Phase which opened the new science of quasiperiodic crystals. In 2011, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of quasicrystals.

Professor Balasubramanian has been a Cambridge academic and Fellow of Trinity College since 1994 and is an expert in the study of nucleic acids. He is the co-inventor of the leading next generation sequencing methodology which has made routine, accurate, low-cost sequencing of human genomes a reality. He created Solexa sequencing and co-founded the biotech company Solexa to commercialise the technology, and has remained a senior advisor to Solexa over the past decade.

The honorary degrees will be conferred during a week of ceremonies at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral from Monday, 14 July, in which more than 4,000 students will graduate.

sir mark tully

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