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Honorary Graduates – Bath Spa University

Our honorary graduates are valued members of the Bath Spa community, and are given awards in recognition of outstanding achievement or excellence in their field.

Each year the University confers honorary awards to individuals who have made a notable and sustained contribution to their academic fields or profession, to society, or to the University.

All Bath Spa staff (with input from students) are able to propose potential recipients of honorary awards, and nominees are approved by the University’s Board of Governors.

We're immensely proud of our community of honorary award recipients and value their ongoing relationship with the University.

'I am passionate about supporting emerging entrepreneurs and inspiring a new generation to work hard, live responsibly and look for golden opportunities to build fresh and exciting businesses.'

Deborah Meaden, honorary award recipient in 2014

2020-2023 Honorary Graduates

Dr Gopalkrishna Gandhi (2023)

Born in 1945 as the youngest of four children, as a child, Dr Gandhi was used to his grandfather the Mahatma Gandhi and his associates visiting and staying in his familial home. These precious moments with his grandfather no doubt had a significant impact on his future ambitions.

As an adult, Dr Gandhi went on to read English Literature and History at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, India. Currently Distinguished Professor of History at Ashoka University, Sonepat, India, he contributes monthly columns to The Telegraph (Kolkata) and The Hindustan Times (New Delhi). He also writes on occasion for The Hindu (Chennai) and Hindustan (New Delhi).

As a member of the Indian Administrative Service, Dr Gandhi has held administrative positions in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and at the national headquarters in Delhi. He was Secretary to the Vice President of India (1985-1987) and Secretary to the President of India (1997-2000).

Positions held by him outside India have included those of Director of The Nehru Centre in the High Commission of India, London, High Commissioner for India in South Africa, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, and Ambassador of India in Norway and Iceland. He was Governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009.

Veronica Ryan OBE (2023)

Veronica Ryan OBE is an esteemed sculptor, and won the Turner Prize – arguably the most prestigious art accolade in the UK – in December 2022. Prior to this, she studied BA Fine Art at the Bath Academy of Art at Corsham Court (now Bath Spa University’s Bath School of Art, Film and Media, at Locksbrook campus) from 1975-1978. She went on to establish an internationally revered exhibition profile, winning numerous awards across the globe.

Kathy Hinde (2023)

Kathy Hinde is a Bath Spa University graduate and audiovisual artist whose practice embraces open methods and evolving processes. Through installations, performances and site specific experiences, she aims to nurture a deeper and more embodied connection to other species and the earth’s systems.

Kathy has toured work across the globe and has received awards including an Ivor Novello, an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica, a British Composer Award in Sonic Art an ORAM award and a Scottish Award for New Music. Kathy is also a member of Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF), and a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol.

Following her studies at Bath Spa, Kathy has maintained a connection with the University through interdisciplinary research projects across music, art, education and environmental science.

Kate Morton (2023)

Kate Morton is the CEO of mental health charity Bath Mind. Kate has worked as a senior leader in housing, health, and social care, and has overseen the creation of supportive safe spaces for some of the most disadvantaged in our society.

Diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008, she made the decision to volunteer for a local mental health charity as part of her recovery. She joined Bath Mind’s Board of Trustees in 2011 and became CEO in 2015. The organisation has grown fourfold under her leadership, expanding its reach, and focusing on university students and young adults across both Bath.

Kate is currently Chair of Bath’s 3SG, and leads on local innovative community projects.

Christopher Crowther (2023)

With more than 25 years’ experience in the information assurance and security domain, Chris Crowther works at C-Suite level leading several cyber, information protection and resilience challenges.

Chris has led the delivery of some of the most demanding national security programmes in the UK, the US and EMEA, operating at the very highest levels of government. Where possible, he shares his knowledge and experience with Bath Spa University, the US National Defence University and UK Defence.

Carl Anka (2023)

A Bath Spa University graduate, journalist, broadcaster and author based in Manchester, Carl has spent his postgraduate years writing for the BBC, the Guardian, VICE, NME, GQ and BuzzFeed and The Athletic.

He co-authored Marcus Rashford’s book You Are a Champion (Macmillan). The book was WHSmith’s Book of the Year, and won Best Overall Book of the Year at the 2022 The British Book Awards.

Andrew Grant (2023)

Andrew is a landscape architect whose work explores the reconnection between people and nature. He started his company, Grant Associates, in 1997 and it is now an international design studio with offices in Bath and Singapore. He uses creative ecological design to find solutions to climate change, biodiversity loss and improving human quality of life, health and wellbeing.

He has previously been awarded the title of RSA Royal Designer for Industry in recognition of his pioneering global work. He is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA, Chair of the Bathscape Landscape Partnership and a member of the Bath World Heritage Site Advisory Board. He is also co-founder of the Bath pop-up festival, Forest of Imagination.

Adam Rutherford (2023)

Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, author and broadcaster. He did his first degree at UCL in genetics, his PhD at the Institute of Child Health at Great Ormond St Hospital, which is part of UCL, and is now a lecturer of Biology and Society at UCL.

Adam is a regular on BBC Radio 4, presenting many documentaries, as well as Start the Week, and the Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry. He has written several books, including most recently Control: the Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics, and the international bestsellers How to Argue With a Racist, and A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived.

Russell Hobby CBE (2023)

Russell joined Teach First as CEO in September 2017, building on more than 15 years developing and promoting leadership in schools. Prior to joining Teach First, Russell was General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and before that worked as a management consultant, helping found Hay Group’s education practice.
Russell serves as a trustee of Fair Education Alliance and Teach for All UK Charity Board, as well as participating as a Community Board Member for Digital Poverty Alliance. Russell recently joined the Education Committee at the Royal Society.
Russell was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List of 2022.

Reeta Charkrabarti (2022)

Reeta Chakrabarti is a journalist and presenter for BBC News. She regularly presents the One, Six, and Ten O'Clock News on BBC1 and works on the rolling News Channel. She combines being a studio anchor with reporting from home and abroad.

Before this, Reeta was a correspondent covering politics, home affairs, education, and community affairs. Before moving to television, Reeta spent several years as a radio producer and reporter on BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live.

Reeta is an honorary fellow of Exeter College, Oxford; University College London; and the University of East London. In addition, she has an honorary doctorate from York St John University and, since March 2020, has been Chancellor of YSJ.

Reeta was born in London but brought up in Birmingham, lived in India as a teenager, and in France for a year as a student. She lives in north London with her husband. She has three children.

Professor Samit Ray (2022)

Professor Samit Ray is a well-known visionary leader, educationist, entrepreneur and change-maker in West Bengal, India. After graduating from Calcutta University in Physics, he started his job as a software engineer but discovered that as a mathematician, he could bring more value with his innovative teaching to young graduates to secure their dream jobs in the public sector.

Thus he started his tutorial home and later founded RICE (Roy's Institute of Competitive Examinations) Group in 1985, which has branches and test centres in most districts of West Bengal. Professor Samit Ray is Chancellor, and founder of Adamas University and founder of two nationally reputed higher secondary schools, namely Adamas International School and Adamas Word School. Professor Samit Ray also founded two charitable trusts- the Sachis Kiran Memorial Trust, named after his late father, and Samit Ray Foundation, which are dedicated to different social and humanitarian works.

Professor Samit Ray had been awarded the 'Honorary Emeritus Professor' degree by Dnipropetrovsk National University of Railway Transport, Ukraine. Professor Samit Ray pursues the goals to transform the lives of young people, making them good human beings and establishing the Bengal as the global centre of excellence in education once again.

Father Bill (2022)

Born in Yorkshire, Father Bill M., OSM, joined the ancient Catholic Religious Order, the Friar Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1975 in the Priory of the Servite Order in Kensington, London. He was elected Prior of his Order's London Community of Servite friars in 1976 while pursuing his doctoral studies. Father Bill later served at the Catholic University Chaplain at the University of London and City University. Father Bill was recalled by Order to serve for a second time as Prior of the London Servite friars and later returned to the Oxford Priory. From there, he was appointed Hon Gen Secretary of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Father Bill came to Bath in 1999 on loan to the Clifton Diocese to serve as Catholic University Chaplain to the two universities in Bath, continuing to serve in both at the request of the Bishop of Clifton for over 20 years. Wearing his traditional friar's 'habit', new students were directed to look on campus for 'the man in black'. Along with his university roles, he became Parish Priest to Ss Peter and Paul in Combe Down, Bath, St Joseph's, Peasedown St John, and Hospital Catholic Chaplaincy to Bath Clinic and St Martin's Hospital, Bath.

While striving to represent his share of the teachings and life based on Catholic tradition and convictions, he has served Catholic students and staff of both Bath universities.

About his days at Bath Spa University, Father Bill said:

"I have felt privileged to enjoy meeting many interesting, good and fun people at Bath Spa and have many happy memories for which to be thankful"

Reverend Preb Jan Knott (2022)

'Any woman who chooses to get involved with the Church of England is crazy!' The words rang in Jan Knott's ears in the mid-80s. Jan was teaching part-time, had three children and was an active partner in her husband's road haulage company. Jan began the challenging journey towards Ordination - a rigorous selection process ratified her vocation.

Three years of training followed, and Jan joined the ranks of waiting women experiencing vigorous and unpleasant opposition. Then the Church of England formally adopted new legislation in 1994; Rev Preb Jan Knott could finally be ordained, Priest. She served in Parishes; as a School Chaplain; became a Rural Dean; a University Chaplain; was given a seat in the Cathedral Church in Wells, and took on various responsibilities where women needed to be. Jan's last full–time post saw her working as Rector of Farmborough, Marksbury and Stanton Prior with three churches and two schools and as Chaplain at Bath Spa University.

At Bath Spa, there were various initiatives to get up and running, and Jan became adept in the art of loitering, engaging with students, staff and visitors. Quite a job, but she loved it. Jan now serves as a 'supply vicar' going where she is needed.

Sarah Liversedge-Platz (2022)

As an alumna, Sarah Liversedge-Platz is no stranger to Bath Spa University, having graduated with a first in Composition. Since then she has gone on, via the BBC, to develop a successful music publishing business and has received a number of music industry awards.

Commenting on what it means to be awarded, Sarah Liversedge-Platz said:

"I am so honoured to receive this recognition from an institution that means so much to me. My time at Bath Spa as a music undergraduate was incredibly special. The University is a place that really nurtures and inspires creative minds. It helped me lay foundations that would serve both myself and the songwriters and composers I've worked with throughout my career decades later."

Lord Jonathan Evans (2022)

Lord Jonathan Evans is the Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher. Previously, he was the Director General of the Security Service - MI5 - from 2007 to 2013.

He is now a Non Executive Director of Ark Datacentres and chairman of the Public Interest Committee of KPMG UK. He is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, Chair of Kent Search and Rescue and a Visiting Professor at King’s College London. He graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Classical Studies.

Lord Jonathan Evans was nominated for the award by Allyson MacVean, the University’s Professor of Policing and Criminology and Co-Director for Bath Spa's Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Professional Practice (CLEPP).

Accepting the Honorary Doctorate, Lord Jonathan Evans said:

"I admire the work of the Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Professional Practice at Bath Spa University so I am particularly honoured to be awarded an Honorary Degree by the University."

Tyrone Mings (2021)

Footballer Tyrone Mings is captain of Premier League side Aston Villa and represents England on the international stage. He was born and raised in Bath and is a highly respected and inspirational figure in the local community.

Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University, nominated Mr Mings for this award and said: "I am thrilled to be able to confer the award of Honorary Doctorate of Education to Tyrone Mings. His determination, motivation and success is an inspiration to our students, the local community and any young person who strives to be the best they can be.

"He had a difficult route to the top of his profession, not least being released from a Premier League academy at the age of 16. He did not however let this set him back or dissuade him from achieving his goal.

"Tyrone Mings is an example of never giving up, continuing to work hard and doing things your own way when no other way is presented to you. He is an outstanding and inspiring individual and I heartily welcome him to the Bath Spa University community."

Damian Carrington (2020)

Journalist Damian Carrington is environment editor at The Guardian, which he joined in 2008. Previously he reported on science while at BBC News Online and New Scientist and was a web editor for the Financial Times.

Damian reports on the climate crisis, the destruction of the natural world and pollution. His career has seen him visit all seven continents, including Antarctica and the Amazon, and all five oceans, including the Arctic. In 2019, he reported from the Columbian Andes and from Darfur in Sudan.

His journalism has been recognised by awards from the Association of British Science Writers, the British Society of Magazine Editors, the European Online Journalism awards and others. 

Damian's voice is one of reason and clarity. He balances emotive topics with scientific rigour and presents a clarion call for change in the measured and nuanced manner. He teaches us to wise up and make a difference, and in that his values, his approach and his purpose are deeply consonant with those of Bath Spa University.

2016-2019 Honorary Graduates

Col Needham (2019)

Col is an entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of IMDb and is now its general manager since its acquisition by Amazon.

Graduating from Leeds University with a Computer Science degree in the 1980s, he is an example of someone who combined his computer skills with his personal interest – movies – and created a global business. His internet movie database, now regarded as the cinema encyclopedia, means he is often referred to as 'Britain's most powerful man in Hollywood'.

Col lives in South Gloucestershire but travels the world watching, reviewing and enjoying films. He also attends every film festival and movie awards ceremony in the business. Col is the perfect example of someone who has demonstrated creativity, culture and enterprise and is thus a great fit for this University's community.

Annie Maw (2019)

Annie Maw has served as High sheriff and is now Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. she trained as a nurse, but has moved into charitable and civic work later in her career. She is Chancellor of the Children's University of Somerset.

All of this, Annie has done since a riding accident confined her to a wheelchair in 2002.

Those that meet her describe Annie as one of the most impressive and warm people they have ever met. A real role model and a woman of courage and values.

Roger Deakins (2019)

Oscar winning cinematographer, Roger Deakins CBE, was today awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Bath Spa University in recognition of his significant contribution to film and TV.

Deakins, who studied at Bath Academy of Art (now Bath Spa University), is best known for his work on the films of the Coen brothers, Sam Mendes, and Denis Villeneuve.

His feature films include The Big Lebowski, Skyfall, True Grit and Jarhead, and he also enjoys being a visual consultant on animated films including Wall•E, Rango, and How To Train Your Dragon.

In 2018 Deakins won an Oscar for best cinematographer for his work in Blade Runner 2049.

Andrea Arlidge (2018)

Andrea Arlidge is the CEO of the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, a partnership of schools in the Bath, Keynsham and Bristol area. 

With 15 year’s headship experience at two schools, Andrea joined Wellsway School in 2005 from St Katherine’s School in Pill. She has significant experience of school improvement and raising achievement.  She is Chair and founding member of the Keynsham Area Family of Schools, a partnership between nine primary and secondary schools. She is also the Director of the Bath Education Trust, Trustee of the local County Sports Partnership (WESPORT) and a governor at Bristol Grammar School.

In 2018, she was named a 'National Leader in Education' by the Department of Education, for her support of the Wellsway Trust schools during 'challenging circumstances'. 

Howard Skempton (2018)

Howard Skempton is a composer and pianist. He studied composition under Cornelius Cordew, and it was at Cordew's class at Moreley College that he formed the Scratch Orchestra, an experimental music group that ran until the mid 1970s. He joined with Scratch Orchestra colleague Michael Parsons to later form a duo group to perform their music, which led to a series of commissions for orchestrals and large audience pieces, including Lento and Surface Tensions.

He now teaches music and composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire. In 2005, Skempton was awarded the Chamber Scale Composition category at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards for his string quartet Tendrils. 

Val McDermid (2018)

Widely regarded as one of the world's greatest living crime writers, McDermid's novels have been translated into 40 different languages and sold over 15 million copies worldwide to date. She is renowned for her suspense-filled, intricate and innovative plots, often set in the gritty world of Scotland's urban central belt.

Her third series, featuring psychologist Dr Tony Hill, saw her win the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for The Mermaids Singing in 1995, with the series later being adapted into the critically-acclaimed and highly successful television drama, Wire in the Blood.

As well as being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, McDermid is one of five judges for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. In 2010, she received the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement from the Crime Writers' Association, which honours authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre. She has also been awarded the Pioneer Award by Lambda Literary in the US, and the Theakston's Old Peculier Award for Outstanding Contribution to the genre.

Michael Simpson (2018)

Michael Simpson is a painter known for his large scale works that play with abstraction, form and materiality. 

Educated at Bournemouth College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s, Michael embraced a number of styles - from Minimalism to historical Flemish painting - to create a style he describes as a 'deceptive force of the constructed image'. He has exhibited in such places as the Piccadilly Gallery, the Arnolfini and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, and Spike Island. 

In 2016, he won the John Moores Painting Prize for his painting Squint (19). 

Amelia Freedman (2018)

Amelia Freedman is the founder and artistic director of the Nash Ensemble. She started the chamber ensemble while a young student clarinettist at the Royal Academy of Music, but her preferred name The Academy Ensemble was refused by the Principal of the conservatoire, assuming that a student ensemble would have a short shelf life and go down in flames. Denied her choice of name, Amelia Freedman chose instead that of a favourite London architect. The Nash Ensemble was born and gave its first professional concert at the American Embassy in 1964, and in October 2014 it celebrated its 50th year of continuous existence.

Freedman played in the group for the first four years until she left the performance side in order to devote herself full-time to running it. If it took courage to set it up in the first place, the group has called on her reserves of patience and fortitude for each of its 50 years, with income from the Arts Council and various trusts and foundations never producing more than a third of what is required to meet the artistic ambition.

That ambition has been remarkable. Over the years, Freedman has commissioned 193 new works and the group has given more than 300 premieres by 225 composers, including Richard Rodney Bennett, Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux and Peter Maxwell Davies.

She has also served as a director of the Bath International Music Festival (1986-93), head of classical music at the Southbank Centre (1995-2006), and at 74 is still artistic director of the Bath Mozartfest and the Bath Bachfest.

As Philharmonia Managing Director David Whelton has said: "No one has done more than Amelia Freedman to further the cause of chamber music in this country."

Lord David Puttnam (2017)

Following a short career in advertising, Lord Puttnam moved into film production in the late 1960's and produced a range of films including Bugsy Malone (1976). In 1976 he started his own production company, producing films such as The Killing Fields, Roland Joffe (winner of the 1986 Palme d'Or) and Chariots of Fire (winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture).

His films have won a total of 10 Oscars, 25 BAFTAs and the Palme d'Or. Lord Puttnam was knighted in 1995 and appointed to the House of Lords in 1997 where he now sits as a Labour Peer.

Since retiring from film production Lord Puttnam has had extensive involvement in the education sector. He has previously held roles as the Chairman of the National Film and Television School, Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, Chancellor of the Open University and founded the National Teaching Awards in 1998.

Lord Puttnam teaches on the MA Independent Filmmaking and MA Scriptwriting courses at Bath Spa University through his online education platform, Atticus Education, providing invaluable industry insight to the students on these programmes.

Salima Hashmi (2016)

Professor Hashmi is widely acknowledged as one of Pakistan’s foremost artists and author on contemporary art. She has helped numerous young unknown artists exhibit their work internationally, and has championed the extraordinary achievements of female artists in Pakistan. She also works tirelessly with organisations such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to bring peace between Pakistan and India to promote tolerance and to improve conditions in the country.

The Government of Pakistan awarded Salima the President's Medal for Pride of Performance for Art Education in 1999 and the Australian Council of Art and Design Schools nominated her as Inaugural International Fellow for distinguished service to art and design education in 2011.

Ashley Pharoah (2016)

Ashley was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School, Bristol, and the University Of Sussex, where he was awarded a BA (Hons) in English. He studied postgraduate screenwriting at The National Film And Television School, where his graduation film Water's Edge was nominated for a BAFTA.

After cutting his teeth on Eastenders, Ashley created Where The Heart Is for ITV, a series than ran for over ten years. During this time he also created and wrote Paradise Heights, Down To Earth, Life Support, Bonekickers and Anchor Me.

Classic adaptations include Tom Brown's Schooldays (starring Stephen Fry and Alex Pettyfer), Under the Greenwood Tree (starring Keeley Hawes), and Moonfleet (starring Ray Winstone). Contemporary adaptations include Kate Atkinson's Case Histories starring Jason Isaacs. He is currently working on Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy for Sky.

Ashley co-created Life on Mars and its sequel, Ashes To Ashes, winning two International Emmys and a BAFTA. There was a series about misbehaving angels for ITV - Eternal Law - and the long-running saga of a family trying to make a go of it on a South African game farm, Wild At Heart.

Last year was spent writing and producing The Living And The Dead, set in rural Somerset in 1894, about a man of science who starts to see ghosts, starring Colin Morgan. 

In 2011 Ashley was made an Honorary Fellow of The National Film And Television School.

2015 Honorary Graduates

Iwan and Manuela Wirth

Iwan and Manuela Wirth are Presidents and co-Founders of Hauser & Wirth, a leading international gallery of contemporary art and modern masters. Now a global enterprise with galleries in Zurich, London, New York and Somerset, and a new gallery planned in downtown Los Angeles, Hauser & Wirth have built an unparalleled reputation for its dedication to artists, artist estates and for supporting the realisation of ambitious artistic projects. The Wirths are strongly committed to an extensive range of charities supporting the arts, the environment, community and education.

Sir Don McCullin, CBE, Hon FRPS

Renowned British photojournalist, Sir Don McCullin, CBE, FRPS, is recognised as one of history’s greatest war photographers. His first reportage on a youth gang in his childhood neighbourhood was published in The Observer in 1959. In 1961, he visited Berlin at the time of the construction by East Germany of the wall to separate it from the capitalist West. He produced his first war assignment for The Observer in 1964, covering the civil war in Cyprus and 1966 began an 18 year collaboration with The Sunday Times Magazine, witnessing numerous conflicts and battlefields in the Congo, Biafra (Nigeria), Israel, Vietnam, Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Lebanon, El Salvador, and Kurdistan. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his highly-acclaimed autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour.

Professor Xiao Xiao Cao (Sha)

Renowned Chinese violinist who made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 and has performed extensively in the USA, Asia and Europe. She has won top honours at the Chinese National Violin Competition and her string quartet won the Chinese National Quartet Competition and the Menuhin prize in the UK. She was also the featured soloist at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s 40th anniversary concert celebrating Gang and Zhanhou’s ‘Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto.

David Malouf

Internationally acclaimed Australian author of seven collections of poetry, four opera librettos, two plays, eleven works of fiction (including three collections of short stories), and a memoir, 12 Edmondstone Street. His work has been widely translated and has received several international awards. In 2000 he was the sixteenth Neustadt Laureat.

Juli Beattie

Juli Beattie is the Founder Director of The Art Room, a national arts and education charity established in 2002. The Art Room offers art as therapy to children and young people aged five through to 16 who are experiencing challenges and emotional difficulties in their lives. Through The Art Room students can raise their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence enabling them to engage with their learning and development. Juli has taught for over 35 years, working in mainstream and specialist schools, as well as hospitals, and in collaboration with Bath Spa she developed a Postgraduate Certificate in Art Room Practice.

2014 Honorary Graduates

Takeshi Yasuda

A Japanese potter, Mr Yasuda trained at the Daisei-Gama Pottery in Mashiko from 1963 to 1966 and established his first studio there. His early work consisted of ash-glazed stoneware, after which he explored Sancai and Creamware. Mr Yasuda settled in Britain in 1973 where he taught at various art schools and universities across the UK.

Sir Michael Craig-Martin CBE RA

Having studied in the United States, Michael returned to Britain in 1965 to take up a teaching post at Bath Academy of Art at Corsham Court where he was tutor to some notable alumni. He is now an Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and a trustee of the Tate Gallery; he was awarded a CBE in 2001, elected a Royal Academician in 2006, and knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2016.

Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis (1941-2021)

An American saxophonist, composer and arranger who was a member of James Brown’s band from 1965 to 1969. He was responsible for many of Brown’s most notable recordings including the iconic song Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud. He is widely acknowledged as one of the architects of funk music.

Deborah Meaden

A successful entrepreneur perhaps best known for her appearances on the BBC2 series ‘Dragons’ Den’, Deborah has invested in more than thirty businesses, ranging from market research to online antiques valuations and life-saving equipment for hospitals.

Stella Pirie OBE

Honorary Fellow

Stella served as Deputy Chair (1997-98) and Chair (1998-2013) of the Bath Spa University Board of Governors and guided it through turbulent and transformational times with skill and diplomacy. She has played an enormously influential part in the development of the University.

Mary Toman

Honorary Fellow

Mary has been an active and important member of the Board of Governors since her appointment in 1988, making her the longest-serving Governor in the history of Bath Spa University. Initially chosen by the Secretary of State for Education, Mary served on the original board to form a corporation for the institution.

2013 Honorary Graduates

Dame Hilary Mantel DBE FRSL

The Booker prize-winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Mantel is now working on the final book in her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell.

Peter Randall-Page RA

A UK artist who has exhibited work around the world. Randall-Page studied sculpture at Bath Academy of Art, which is now part of Bath Spa University, from 1973-1977.

Anne Bull OBE

Headteacher of Weston All Saints Church of England Primary School in the city of Bath for over 25 years. Bull’s link with Bath Spa University spans over 30 years, and she has fulfilled a number of roles at the university, including teacher tutor, and part-time lecturer in Creative, Arts and Dance.

Professor Sir Harrison Birtwistle

A composer whose music has been regularly commissioned and performed by major orchestras and opera houses worldwide. His works are currently being featured at the Salzburg Festival where his opera Gawain will receive a new production under Ingo Metzmacher.

2012 Honorary Graduates

Sir Howard Hodgkin CH CBE (1932 - 2017)

More on Sir Howard Hodgkin

One of Britain’s most influential and respected artists, Howard Hodgkin’s work has been shown in galleries around the world and in 1985 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and won the Turner Prize. In 1992 he was knighted for his services to the arts. Howard was first a pupil and then later a tutor at the Bath Academy of Art. While a pupil he was taught by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis who ran the Academy, as well as William Scott and Peter Lanyon. As a tutor he worked alongside fellow painters Michael Craig-Martin, Robyn Denny, John Ernest and Adrian Heath between 1950 and 1954. Howard passed away on Thursday, 9 March 2017 at the age of 84.

Mary Berry CBE

One of the UK's best-known and respected cookery writers and TV cook. At the age of 18 she trained at the Bath College of Home Economics, followed by a Paris Cordon Bleu course and she is a qualified teacher. She has written more than 70 cookery books since her first was published in 1970 and has sold more than five million. She has hosted several television series for the BBC, including judge on the BBC show "The Great British Bake Off".

Manolo Blahnik CBE

Manolo Blahnik's shoe designs have been worn by women all over the world for almost 40 years. Blahnik began his career in 1973 on the advice of a US Vogue Editor Diana Vreeland. The brand is known for elaborate and classic designs and prides itself on the highest level of quality and comfort. It is currently present in 23 countries world-wide. In 2007 he was awarded the CBE for services to the British fashion industry.

Professor Ian Hargreaves CBE

Professor Ian Hargreaves started his journalistic career on local newspapers in Yorkshire and spent 15 years on the Financial Times before becoming Deputy Editor in the early 1990s. He was Director of BBC News and Current Affairs in the late 1980s, Editor of the Independent in the mid-1990s and Editor of the New Statesman in the late 1990s, before taking up the position of Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University. In 2010 he took up a new chair in Digital Economy at Cardiff University.

Grenville Jones

A choir leader and musician who lives in Bath. His driving passion is to get people of all ages singing, to enable them to make friends, enjoy themselves and have fun through music. He has appeared on TV and radio across the world through his leadership of Bath Male Choir, the Golden-Oldies charity, which he founded in 2008, and his many other musical projects and concerts.

Professor Miller Puckette

The author of 'Max' and 'Pure Data', two seminal and widely-used software environments for live computer music. After studying mathematics at MIT and Harvard University and conducting research at IRCAM in Paris, he joined the music department at the University of California where he is now professor and chair of the department. He has also written extensively on techniques for analysing and synthesizing sound with a computer, and on real-time human/computer interactions in musical performance.

Ken Loach

Film director Ken Loach was honoured in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the film industry. Loach has won multiple awards for his work including the Palme D’Or in 2006 for his film ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’. He is also well-known for his films ‘Kes’ and ‘Looking for Eric’. His film ‘The Angels’ Share’, which won the Jury Prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, was screened at Bath Spa University to raise funds for Community Arts Therapies. Loach, who is Patron of the Community Arts Therapies, was in attendance and answered questions from the audience.

2009-2011 Honorary Graduates

Tony Dewberry (1950 - 2010) (2009)

Former deputy vice-chancellor at Bath Spa University, who was responsible for tailoring our historic campuses to the needs of a modern university.

He trained as an architect, then began his career at Gerald Shenstone and Partners in Bloomsbury in 1974, before moving to Wandsworth Borough Council in 1976. This was followed by a major switch of track when he joined what is now Bath Spa University (then Bath College of Higher Education) as corporation secretary and clerk to the board of governors in 1989. He was appointed assistant director in 1995 and deputy vice-chancellor in 2005.



Asha Sarabhai (2009)

Asha Sarabhai is highly respected a textile designer. Her passion for her finding contemporary and relevant ways to continue age old traditions of textile design and production led to unique, modern representations of Indian dress.

A collaboration with the celebrated Issey Miyake Design Studio in 1984 led to her designs coming to the attention of the fashion world and following the opening of a retail outlet in London in the 1990s, becoming more widely available to commercial markets.

Born in New Delhi in 1949, she travelled throughout her childhood and studied at the University of Cambridge. The impact of her work in textile design continues to inspire fashion today.

Dr Paul Phillips OBE (2009)

Paul Phillips is Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College situated in North Somerset.  This award winning College has developed from the small £9m College that Paul took over in 2001 to a £30m plus College with campuses across the region.  It regularly features at the top of the league tables for Further Education. 

Dr Phillips was formerly Vice Principal of the largest College in Wales.  His career has included work and consultations for the NHS, MOD and leisure industry.  In addition, he has published research papers related to the cost benefit analysis of education.  Despite running Weston College, Paul is very active in his local community as well as representing the Further Education sector regionally and nationally. 

His most recent involvements include Chair of South Ward Regeneration in Weston-super-Mare, Secretary of the Western Principals’ Group and regional representative of the Principals’ Professional Council.


Professor Brian L Gomes da Costa JP (2009)

Professor Brian L Gomes da Costa, JP was Director of Bath College of Higher Education (later Bath Spa University) from September 1985 until March 1997. On retiring from Bath College of Higher Education he increased his longstanding involvement in the magistracy, and began to engage with the NHS; he was appointed chairman of a Mental Health NHS Trust and of a standing committee of a local authority; he was a Member of the UK’s Asylum and Immigration Tribunal for almost a decade to 2008. He remains a presiding panellist on Fitness to Practise Panels at the GMC and also chairs NHS disciplinary appeal panels. Having a strong interest in “regulation”, he also currently serves on the Standards Committee of the Bar Standards Board.

Simon Relph CBE (1940 - 2016) (2010)

Simon Relph was a leading British film producer. After graduating from King’s College Cambridge, he became an Assistant Director until he was appointed Technical Administrator of the National Theatre. For four years he supervised the move from the Old Vic into the new National Theatre, ending his time there as Production Administrator.

He was Chairman of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts between 2000 and 2002, before becoming Chairman of the David Lean BAFTA Foundation. He served on the British Screen Advisory Council, the Executive Council of Pact, the Council of Royal College of Art, the boards of South West Screen and the Bristol Old Vic, and as a Governor of the British Film Institute.

He was the author of The Relph Report on low budget film production. Simon also held positions as non executive director of Arts Alliance Media, The Brixton Ritzy Cinema, and the Exeter Picturehouse. Simon sadly passed away in October 2016.

Professor David Timms (2010)

Professor Timms has a long association with Bath Spa University, having first trained here as a student teacher in the 1970s. After a distinguished academic career at the universities of of Leicester and Manchester (where he established himself as a notable literary critic, first of the works of Philip Larkin and then as a specialist in American literature).

Professor Timms rejoined the University in the early 1990s as a lecturer in the English Department and then took on a series of managerial positions which led to him becoming Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic). He is an acknowledged national expert on academic quality assurance, and continues to work for other universities and for the Quality Assurance Agency in that capacity.

Professor Sir Graeme Davies FRSNZ (2010)

Sir Graeme was Vice-Chancellor of the University of London until 2010. He was Principal of the University of Glasgow from 1995 to 2003. He was Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England from 1991 until 1995 having been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool from 1986 to 1991.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is now the Chair of the Higher Education Policy Institute.

Sir William Stubbs (2010)

He is an English educator who was Rector of the University of the Arts, London. Stubbs served for six years as Chief Executive of the Inner London Education Authority. Following that, he was Chief Executive of the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council. From 1992 to 1996 as chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council for England.

Tristram Shapeero (2010)

A British television director whose directing credits include television comedies Brass Eye, Smack the Pony, Green Wing, Absolutely Fabulous and the American series Community, Parks and Recreation, Happy Endings and Workaholics. He is also a Bathonian, something we are very proud of.

Tom McCaw LOV (2011)

Tom McCaw served as Land Steward for the Duchy of Cornwall from 1988 to 1998, with responsibility for the Duchy’s rural properties in the Bath area, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

Mr McCaw is a trustee of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and of Community First (Wiltshire’s Rural Development Council). Highlights of his career include the purchase of Highgrove House and its conversion into a home suitable for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and working closely with the University to promote and develop the Newton Park campus.

Joanna MacGregor OBE (2011)

Joanna MacGregor is regarded as one of the world’s most wide-ranging and innovative musicians, and was Artistic Director of the Bath International Music Festival from 2006 - 2012. As a pianist she had enjoyed performing at the MusicFest many times before playing music ranging from jazz and world to classical. 

Her programming reflects her interest in all genres of music, and often inspires brand new collaborations: bringing musicians together with contemporary art and multimedia, poetry, storytelling and film, and reaching out to as wide an audience as possible.

1986-2008 Honorary Awards

Recipients of honorary awards made prior to 2009
Title Forename Surname Honours Year Award
Mr Gavin Bryars   2008 HF
Mr Alan Carter   2007 HF
Mr Jonathan Dimbleby   2006 HF
Mr Jason Gardener   2006 HF
Mr John Conway   2001 HMA
Mr Leslie Southwell   2001 HF
Mr Roger Carus   2000 HF
Sir Donald Maitland GCMG, OBE  2000 HF
Sir James Dyson OM, CBE,
1999 HF
Professor  Fay  Weldon  CBE, FRSL  1999  HF
Mr  James  Arnold-Baker    1998  HF
Mr  Lynn  Chadwick CBE, RA  1998 HF
Professor  Michael Pye   1997 HF
Ms Louise O'Connor   1996 HMA
Professor Anne P. Stennett   1995 HF 
The Rt Hon. Don Foster PC  1994 HF
Mr  Arnold Goldman   1994 HF
Dame Anita Roddick DBE  1994 HF
Ms Jean Rossiter   1994 HF
Sir  Toby Weaver   1994 HF
Professor Tyrell Burgess   1993 HF
Dr John V. Delany   1993 HF
Sir Karl Popper CH, FBA, FRS  1993 HF
Professor Peter Scott   1993 HF
Mr John Chambers   1992 HF
Sir Michael Tippett OM, CH, CBE  1992 HF
Mr Bill Martin Alderman 1988 HF
Mrs Nancy Riddick   1988 HF
Mr Raymond Rosewarn   1988 HF
Mr John Rudderham   1988 HF
Professor Tom Keightley Ewer   1987 HF
Mr Roy Hiscocks Alderman 1987 MoE
Mr Norman Payne   1986 HF


  • HF = Honorary Fellow
  • HMA = Honorary Master of Arts
  • MoE = Master of Education (Honoris Causa)

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