Some of the UK’s most well known faces – and voices – will be honoured by Sunderland University this summer, alongside distinguished figures on the regional, national and international stage.
The university of Sunderland will give honorary awards to eight distinguished figures from July 10 to 14 at their annual Graduation Ceremonies.
They will be joined by almost 3,000 graduates receiving awards from University Chancellor Steve Cram CBE, ITV Evening News presenter Alastair Stewart, and Chairman of the Leighton Group Paul Callaghan CBE.
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.
The acting world will be well represented at the awards with Vera star (and adopted North Easterner) Brenda Blethyn.
Joining her is perhaps one of the most well-known voices in the nation, Felicity Finch, who was born in Eaglescliffe and has played Ruth Archer on the popular BBC Radio 4 show for 30 years.
The region’s business, public services and charity champions are also fielding a strong team at the home of Sunderland football club.
Paul Callaghan, chairman of the Leighton Group, will receive an honorary award, alongside Ken Bremner, CEO of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust; Heidi Mottram, CEO of Northumbrian Water, and Lesley Spuhler, Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation of Light.
Gary Fildes, director of the Kielder Observatory, will also be recognised for his contribution to the region and to science, a subject also well represented by Dr Andrew Singleton.
Dr Singleton, who graduated from the University of Sunderland in 1995, is Chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics in the National Institute of Ageing, USA.
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.
“This year is a very special one for Sunderland, as it marks the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the University of Sunderland in 1992, following on from 100 years of successful delivery of higher education in the city.
“We are very proud to continue our life-changing work with the class of 2017, 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.”
A full list of all honoraries and their awards follows below:
University of Sunderland Honorary Awards 2017
Brenda Blethyn OBE – Friday, 14 July
BAFTA winning, Oscar-nominated actress, known for Secrets & Lies, Atonement, Little Voice and North East-based drama, Vera.
Honorary Doctorate of Arts, in recognition of her outstanding acting career in film, television and the theatre.
Ken Bremner – Tuesday, 11 July
CEO, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
Honorary Fellowship, in recognition of over 35 years of service to the NHS in the North East.
Paul Callaghan CBE, DL, FRSA – Friday, 14 July
Chairman, The Leighton Group.
Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration, in recognition of his longstanding association with the University, his commitment to Sunderland and its culture, and to the global IT business community.
Gary Fildes – Thursday, 13 July
Director, Kielder Observatory
Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contribution to making astronomy and space science accessible to a wider audience.
Felicity Finch – Monday, 10 July
Actress, best known for playing Ruth Archer in Radio 4’s The Archers.
Honorary Doctorate of Arts, in recognition of her outstanding career as an actor, radio presenter and reporter.
Heidi Mottram OBE – Wednesday, 12 July
CEO, Northumbrian Water Group
Honorary Doctorate of Science in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the business community in the North East, and supporting diversity within the field of engineering and environmental sustainability.
Dr Andrew Singleton – Tuesday, 11 July
Chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics in the National Institute of Aging, USA.
Honorary Doctorate of Science, in recognition of his pioneering work in the understanding of neurological health disorders.
Lesley Spuhler OBE – Friday, 14 July
Chief Executive Officer, Foundation of Light
Honorary Fellowship, in recognition of her outstanding support for North East charities, in particular the Foundation of Light.