Entertainment, business, fashion and sport stars to receive honorary Sunderland University awards

Faces from the worlds of entertainment, sport, business and high fashion will be among those receiving honorary awards from the University of Sunderland this year.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 11:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 11:16 am
Ali Dixon

The university will give awards to eight distinguished figures at its annual Graduation Ceremonies from July 4 to 10 .

They are:

Dr Chris Steele MBE

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*Journalist and political pundit Kevin Maguire;

*This Morning's resident medic Dr Chris Steele MBE;

*Fashion designer Gareth Pugh;

*Olympic athlete Alyson Dixon;

Gareth Pugh

*England footballer Jill Scott;

*Businesswoman Lorna Moran OBE;

*Reproductive medicine expert Prof Ian Fraser;

*Businesswoman Karen Walker;

Kevin Maguire

*And entrepreneur Alice Hall.

The honoraries will be joined by almost 3,000 graduates receiving awards from University Chancellor Steve Cram CBE, and this summer the University will also name its Alumni Achiever of the Year – recognising the outstanding achievements of a Sunderland graduate.

Close to 12,000 people are expected to attend the Academic Awards at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which are estimated to bring £1million annually to the region.

Sporting endeavour will be recognised with two of Sunderland’s greatest home-grown talents.

Jill Scott

Sunderland-born Olympian Aly Dixon graduated with a degree in Sports and Exercise Development from the University in 2000, and in the intervening 18 years has carved a name for herself on the UK, European and international athletics circuit.

Aly will receive an Honorary Fellowship alongside England Lioness Jill Scott. Jill also graduated in Sports and Exercise Development in 2005 and is now one of England’s leading women footballers. Jill will receive her award in recognition of her outstanding record as both a national and international footballer.

As well as women in sport, female business leaders are well-represented this summer with Lorna Moran OBE, Chair of NRG, whose award of Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration recognises her outstanding contribution to the North East business community, and her personal commitment to charitable causes, while Karen Walker,Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of Cisco, will accept an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration, both in recognition of her international profile in technology and marketing, and as a role model encouraging women into leadership.

Another successful businesswoman will this year be announced as the Alumni Achiever of the Year. Alice Hall, a Sunderland graduate, founded online retailer Pink Boutique in 2012. It is now one of the UK’s fastest-growing private fashion firms.

Fashion on the international stage will be represented by designer Gareth Pugh who will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Arts. Sunderland-born Gareth is recognised as one of the great contemporary fashion designers, with acclaimed shows in London, and celebrity fans including Kylie Minogue, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

South Shields-born journalist and broadcaster Kevin Maguire is a visiting lecturer at the University, and associate editor of the Daily Mirror, Kevin, a passionate advocate for the North East and for young people, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Arts, in recognition his outstanding contribution to political journalism.

Thursday, July 5, marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS, and the University will celebrate with doctor, campaigner and This Morning broadcaster Dr Chris Steele MBE.

Sunderland-born Chris will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science, in recognition of his contribution to the medical profession and for his public health broadcasting role.

Prof Ian Fraser will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the disciplines of obstetrics and gynaecology. A leading authority in reproductive medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, Professor Fraser’s parents, Dr Ellis and Dr Stewart Fraser, were both GPs in Sunderland, and the REACH Ellis Fraser Suite in the Children’s Centre in Durham Road, Sunderland still bears her name.

University Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson commented: "We are proud to pay tribute to our honoraries at this year’s Graduation Ceremonies. They have all made a significant impact in their chosen careers and will be a tremendous inspiration to our graduates who are celebrating their academic success before beginning or continuing their own career.

"We are very proud to continue our life-changing work with the class of 2018, who, alongside all of our graduates, make a huge difference to our region and to wider society, both nationally and internationally. They are our tomorrow makers."