Inspiring Honorary Graduates announced

Friday, 14 June 2019

Honorary Graduates to join Oxford Brookes' Graduation Ceremonies in June 2019

Six inspirational honorary graduates will join Oxford Brookes students in receiving degrees at graduation ceremonies next week (17-22 June 2019).

Recipients of these special accolades are drawn from a wide range of fields, including business, health, fair trade and poetry.

Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University Professor Alistair Fitt said: “It is a tremendous honour to announce our inspiring honorary graduates for this month’s graduation ceremonies. We choose our Honorary Graduates very carefully and ensure their values and work aligns closely with the University. The conferment of the degree allows Oxford Brookes to acknowledge those we admire and respect and we look forward to celebrating this at events which are a real highlight of the academic year.”

The six honorary graduates for the June ceremonies will be:

Inga Warren (3pm ceremony, Tuesday 18 June):

Inga Warren is an occupational therapist who received her education and training in Oxford. She has made an outstanding contribution to transforming the care of premature babies in the UK and around the world.  She has been a pioneer in neonatal care and in 2004 she became the first Consultant Occupational Therapist in Neonatology and Early Intervention in the NHS.

Inga’s mission in improving the lives of premature babies and their families has involved intense collaborative research, education and training. She has been a big part of setting standards for training hundreds of therapists, nurses, and doctors throughout the world and thus ensuring humane, family-focused care in neonatal units.  

Erinch Sahan (10am, Thursday 20 June):

Erinch Sahan is Chief Executive of the World Fair Trade Organization (WTFO). Previous to this, he was the founder and head of the Future Business Initiative at Oxfam. In this role, he led Oxfam's work on promoting fairer models of business and a range of campaigning and advocacy teams. 

Prior to his work with Oxfam, he was employed by the Australian Agency for International Development. In his latest role at the WFTO, he leads a global community of social enterprises that practice Fair Trade across 76 countries.

Simon Biltcliffe (12pm, Thursday 20 June):

Simon Biltcliffe is an award winning CEO, international public speaker and business expert.  He is the founder and CEO of national print services agency Webmart and the world’s first digitally driven print platform, Printelligence.

Simon implements capitalist principles in his business to generate the wealth of the organisation, and Marxist principles to redistribute that wealth back to the company and the wider community. Webmart has three UK offices based in Yorkshire, Scotland and a headquarters in Oxfordshire and Simon has a long-standing relationship with Oxford Brookes.

Hussain Manawer (5pm, Friday 21 June):

Hussain Manawer is an internationally recognised poet. He travels the world to deliver performances which pack an emotional and inspiring punch. Through his work, Hussain’s underlying ambition has been to destigmatise mental health challenges. 

He launched the UK's largest mental health festival in partnership with Twitter UK at the Hackney Empire and has been highly commended for his work in mental health and public sciences. As well as setting a Guinness World Record for the “World's Largest Mental Health Lesson”, he appeared at Global Citizen Live alongside the late Kofi Annan, Emelie Sande and Professor Green. 

Sara Ryan (10am, Friday 21 June):

The conferment of the degree allows Oxford Brookes to acknowledge those we admire and respect and we look forward to celebrating this at events which are a real highlight of the academic year.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor

Sara Ryan, who gained at degree from Oxford Brookes’ Department of Social Sciences as a mature student, heads a clinical research team at the University of Oxford. Her academic work has become fused with activism since the preventable death of her son Connor Sparrowhawk in 2013. She has sought to gain accountability for Connor's death and raise awareness of the poor treatment of learning disabled people in the UK. 

Sara’s award-winning campaign has led to the identification of systematic failings in investigating the unexpected deaths of learning disabled people and people with mental ill health. This has led to changes in the management of mental health at provincial, regional, and national levels.

Baroness Sheila Hollins (10am, Saturday 22 June):

Baroness Hollins is an independent life peer in the House of Lords, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry of Disability at St George’s, University of London, and Honorary Professor of Spirituality and Health at the University of Durham. She began her medical career as a GP before training in child psychiatry, psychotherapy and then devoting herself to working with children and adults with learning disabilities and autism. 

She has been a consultant psychiatrist, teacher, researcher and policy maker in learning disability and mental health, and has published over 200 scientific papers, books and accessible patient materials.  She is the founder and chair of Beyond Words, a not for profit company, formed to disseminate research and best practice in story form to people with intellectual disabilities, their carers and health and social care practitioners.