Local figures to be honoured by Oxford Brookes

Thursday, 04 September 2008

Oxfordshire businessman, Aziz-Ur Rahman, among local figures to receive Honorary degrees.

High profile individuals in the Oxfordshire community are to be honoured by Oxford Brookes during the University’s annual graduation week (5 – 12 September).

Honorary degrees will be awarded to Aziz-Ur Rahman, the entrepreneur and businessman who owns a successful chain of restaurants in the county; David Fickling, the Oxford-based children’s publisher of books including Philip Pullman’s novels; and Tish Francis, the Emeritus Director of the Oxford Playhouse.

Aziz-ur Rahman said: “A few years ago I watched my daughter receive her law degree at Brookes. Little did I imagine that a few years later I would be honoured on the same stage, by an institution with a strong reputation for Hospitality and Tourism Management education that is known not only nationally, but internationally too.”

David Fickling said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this honour, particularly as it’s from Brookes, who have been so helpful to us, and it’s in Oxford, a city I love.  I am accepting it on behalf of all our authors and illustrators, and children reading everywhere.”

Tish Francis said: “As I step down from the Playhouse I am thrilled to receive this honour, taking it also as a tribute to the theatre and the part it has played and continues to play, along with Brookes and others, in the county and city's cultural renaissance . I couldn't attend my graduation 30 odd years ago, now I get to do so in rather grander circumstances!"

Honorary degrees are awarded in recognition of an individual’s outstanding contribution to their field, and in appreciation of the inspiration they give to Brookes’ students.  Among this year’s honorary graduates is Nobel prize-winner Sir Paul Nurse  who won in 2001 for work on cell divisions which opened up new possibilities for cancer treatment.

The honorary graduates will all give speeches at ceremonies to be held at Brookes from 5 – 12 September, and will formally receive their degrees alongside Oxford Brookes’ graduates.

The following will also be receiving honorary doctorates:

  • Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Clive Stafford Smith, Human rights lawyer and campaigner against the death penalty
  • Sir David King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
  • Sir Iain Chalmers, Medical researcher and campaigner on healthcare issues
  • Zuzanna Kalisiak, Co-founder and Pro-Rector of the Polish Open University
  • Neil Bartlett, Director, author and performer
  • Teresa Hayter, Scholar, author, and campaigner on migration and asylum rights