Pete Cresswell, a former University of Liverpool student who was expelled for his part in a protest, and April Ashley, one of the first people in the world to undergo pioneering gender reassignment surgery are among five esteemed figures to receive honorary degrees from the University of Liverpool this week.
They will be honoured alongside Professor Phil Scraton, criminologist, academic and author; Jean-Luc Courcoult, Director of street theatre company, Royal de Luxe; and Paul Lewis, an English classical pianist.
Pete Cresswell came to Liverpool in 1967 to study Political Theory at the University. In 1970, he was part of a student protest against the then Chancellor, Lord Salisbury, and the University’s investments in South Africa, culminating in a two week occupation of the Senate House, the University’s administration building.
Pete was expelled for his part in this protest and nine other students – including Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow – were suspended. After his expulsion, Pete stayed in Liverpool and qualified as a social worker holding a variety of posts with Liverpool City Council and in independent roles until his retirement from the Care Quality Commission in 2011.
Born in Liverpool in 1935, April Ashley MBE, is a former Vogue model, actress and restaurateur who became one of the world’s most famous transgender individuals. She was instrumental in lobbying the government to pass the Gender Recognition Act in 2004 and in 2012 she was appointed an MBE for services to transgender equality. An exhibition of her life ‘April Ashley: Portrait of a Lady’ held at the Museum of Liverpool attracted more than 1.3 million people.
Phil Scraton is Professor of Criminology in the School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. He was a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel between 2010 and 2012 and primary author of Hillsborough: The Report of the Independent Panel (2012). In September 2016, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for his work on Hillsborough, and other contributions to research in the city.
Jean-Luc Courcoult is Director of Royal De Luxe, a French mechanical puppeteer street theatre company who brought the unique Giant Spectacular to Liverpool in 2012 and 2014. He was born in Paris in 1955 and became interested in theatre during his teens. In 1979 he formed the creative partnership with Didier Gallot-Lavallée and Véronique Loève that became Royal De Luxe.
Paul Lewis CBE is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. Born in Huyton, he won a place at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester before going on to the Guildhall in London. He performs regularly as a soloist with the world’s great orchestras and is a frequent guest at the most prestigious international festivals, including Lucerne, Mostly Mozart in New York and London’s BBC Proms where in 2010 he became the first pianist to perform a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in one season.
Catherine Jones, the University’s former Academic Secretary will also be recognised with an Honorary Fellowship. Catherine graduated from the University of Liverpool in Classical and Medieval Latin in 1981 and after gaining experience in a local authority, she returned to the University in 1987, working in areas such as the management of research contracts and scholarships and later managing the University’s governance. She went on to manage the University’s Teaching Quality division before being appointed Academic Secretary in 2004. Catherine retired from the University in 2015. Catherine is a trustee of North West Cancer Research and the Wirral Academy Trust.
The honorary degrees will be conferred at ceremonies on Wednesday, 7 and Thursday, 8 December 2016 ceremonies at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
Wednesday, 7 December, 10am – Paul Lewis CBE (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music)
Wednesday, 7 December, 4pm – April Ashley MBE (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)
Thursday, 8 December, 10.30am – Jean-Luc Coucoult (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters)
Thursday, 8 December, 10.30am, Catherine Jones (Honorary Fellowship)
Thursday, 8 December, 3pm – Professor Phil Scraton (Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws)
Thursday, 8 December, 3pm – Pete Cresswell (Honorary Degree of Batchelor of Arts)