University of York honours community heroes

The Tour de France, Grand Depart. Pictured from Crabtree & Evelyn, the riders pass through St Helen’s Square

Hugh Masekela

Liz Wilson

First published in News
Last updated

Tour de France bid mastermind Gary Verity is among the guiding lights of the York community to be awarded honorary degrees next week.

University of York is handing out the honours to Nobel Laureates, authors, scientists, humanitarians, a musician and champions of local good causes.

Academics draw up a list every year of people - many with ties to the university - who have been nominated by members for making a difference in society.

Sixteen will be getting honorary doctorates at the University’s graduation ceremonies on July 16, 17 and 18.

Mr Verity has been Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire since 2008 and chairs the Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and Humber Committee.

He has raised the profile of Yorkshire on a national and international level, playing the lead role in bringing the Tour de France.

Liz Wilson is Chief Executive of York Theatre Royal, which is undergoing a £4 million refurbishment and has one of the country's busiest Education and Community departments.

Another Yorkshire success story is Peter Murray who built up the Yorkshire Sculpture Park into one of the world’s leading centres for sculpture, featuring works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and other greats.

Also from the arts, comes former BBC boss Roland Keating, now Chief Executive of the British Library, and South African musician Hugh Masekela - given a trumpet at 14 by Louis Armstrong and still playing 40 albums later at 75.

Yorkshire-educated Mairi MacInnes, author of seven books of poetry, two novels, and a memoir, is sharing the literary limelight with Medieval English Prof Derek Pearsall, writer of 15 landmark books on Chaucer.

There is a long list of international academics and scientists. Prof Mike Kelly graduated York in 1974, is now an international figure in public health.

Prof Ahmed Zewail is a Nobel Laureate and top physics scientist. Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi-American humanitarian, who champions aid for women in war zones.

Prof Padmanabhan Balaram heads the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Hong Kong based Prof Sir James Mirrlees is a former Nobel Prize winner. Prof Bertrand Meyer, an award-winning software designer.

Prof Paulo Gadelha, is a leading light of international public health based in Brazil. Wakefield-born Prof Anne Treisman has won international acclaim for ground-breaking research into psychology.

Dr Susanna Moorehead has spent much of her career helping victims of Third World famine.

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