Students set to graduate alongside General Sir Richard Dannatt and other top honoraries in Chelmsford

Published: 12 October 2010 at 11:28

Lee Evans, John Spence, The Right Reverend John Gladwin and others step up for honorary awards.

Over 1000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from Essex are preparing to don ceremonial graduation gowns in order to participate in the various ceremonies to mark the completion of their degrees.  The graduation ceremonies will be staged at the Corporate Pavilion at Anglia Ruskin University’s Rivermead campus, Chelmsford on 24, 25 and 26 November.

The students will be representing the Ashcroft International Business School, the Faculty of Science and Technology, the Faculty of Health and Social Care and the Faculty of Education.

Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Thorne said:

"These highly-motivated, hard-working graduates will be looking to start or accelerate their careers in an economy which is now, more than ever, looking at top academic qualifications as one of the most important precursors to employment. We wish them every success in their chosen careers and hope they will be inspired by the stories of our distinguished honorary graduates to achieve great things in life."

Ten honorary awards will be presented during the faculty-themed ceremonies to various individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievements. 

The much-loved comedian Lee Evans, who lives in Essex, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts award from the Ashcroft International Business School for his outstanding talents as a musician, writer and character actor. He is a top name in arts and entertainment; and someone whose career has become a highly successful business. Despite his achievements in comedy, he refuses to be typecast and has taken incredible risks to create his own extended persona, risking his reputation in such high profile moves. Moving from the club circuit onto the Comedy Store, Lee has broadened his experience with work around the Festivals including Edinburgh and Montreal.  During the Lee Evans – Big – UK Tour 2008, Lee performed in front of over 500,000 people on 59 arena dates.

He has also made a number of film appearances, most notably in Funny Bones, MouseHunt, There’s Something About Mary, The Fifth Element, The Ladies Man, The Martins and Freeze Frame.  He also has his own production company called Little Mo Films Ltd which is a tribute to his daughter Mollie. Lee Evans most recently appeared as Malcolm Taylor, a Welsh scientist, employed by UNIT in a Doctor Who 2009 Easter Special entitled Planet of the Dead.

General Sir Richard Dannatt will receive an Honorary Doctor of Technology award from the Faculty of Science and Technology for his extreme professionalism and for his outstanding dedication to the British Army. He has just stepped down from his role as Head of the British Army where he more than made his mark as Chief of the General Staff during his leadership period from 2006-2009 by being ‘the soldier’s soldier’. During this time, he campaigned for a better deal for troops arguing for better equipment and higher pay.

He was made a CBE in 1996, awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in 1999, was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2005, and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 2009. In his latest post, he has become the 159th Constable of the Tower of London.

The Faculty of Health and Social Care will make a number of awards during graduations. Stephen Welfare will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science award for his work in reshaping the infrastructure which provides the NHS workforce in the region. As Director of Workforce with NHS East of England, Stephen drives the policies that support the delivery of high quality healthcare.   Barbara Stuttle CBE is the Director of Quality & Nursing for South West Essex Primary Care Trust and has a nursing background spanning over 38 years working mainly in the Community and Primary Care Services.  She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Health Sciences award for her leadership skills within the health sector.

Two healthcare professionals are in line for awards.  Ruth May is a charismatic leader within the healthcare sector, her latest appointment has seen her take up

the post of Chief Nursing Officer for the NHS East of England.  She leads on the contribution of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals and is in line for an Honorary Doctor of Science Award. Dame Karlene Davis DBE who served as General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) from January 1997 following her appointment as Deputy General Secretary in 1994. She has led the RCM through a time of transformation and advancement, both for the College and for the Midwifery Profession until she retired in 2008.  Dame Karlene is highly respected throughout the NHS and is this country’s first black woman trade union leader. It was in 2001 that Dame Karlene was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to the National Health Service and Midwifery.  She is honoured for her lifelong devotion to improving the status of midwives in Britain and advancing the British midwifery service.  She will be made an Honorary Doctor of Health Sciences.

The Faculty of Education is honouring three leading lights in the community with Honorary Doctors of Education.  John Spence OBE is Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, a church commissioner, lay Canon and a champion for the disabled.  His career in business banking with Lloyds TSB spanned over 30 years.  John has been Deputy Chairman of Business in the Community since 2000. In addition to being a Church Commissioner, he is Finance Chair at Chelmsford Cathedral and a trustee of St Paul's Cathedral Foundation. Registered blind in 1991, John chairs Blind in Business and Vitalise. He is President of Enable and of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.  He also chairs Harlow Renaissance Limited. In 1999, he was awarded the MBE for services to the community, and in 2006 the OBE for services to charity. He is honoured for his ongoing services to business, the church and the community.

The Right Reverend John Gladwin, who retired from his role as the ninth Bishop of Chelmsford after six years in the diocese, is set to receive an Honorary Doctor of Theology.

As Bishop of Chelmsford he set himself the task of modernising the church’s outlook and people’s perception of it. His success at creating friendships and empowering people to bring both the Christian and faith communities closer together has been well reported. During his time with the Anglican church, he has established close links with Christian Aid, whose Board he chaired for 11 years, and been a leading advocate of social responsibility and justice.  He is honoured for his ongoing work to improve the lives of others.

And finally, Honorary Doctors of Education will be awarded to two individuals who have made significant contributions to education both in the UK and worldwide.  David Crowe, who is Headteacher of Boswells School in Chelmsford, is being honoured for his work at the secondary school for 400 pupils which has grown into a self-governing Foundation School now featuring many new high technology departments and facilities, and has its own Specialist Performing Arts School and Sixth Form College. The school serves the Springfield area of Chelmsford. There is a high staying on rate into the Sixth Form known as The Boswells College. Increasing numbers of Year 13 students are gaining places on degree courses at universities and other Institutes of Higher Education. Within Essex, David plays a leading role among headteachers having been a Council and Executive member, the Treasurer and, most recently, Chair of the Association of Secondary Headteachers in Essex.  He has also been appointed as a Local Leader of Education by the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services. His is honoured for his dedication to Boswells School and for his services to education.

Mary James is an inspirational leader in Early Childhood Development (ECD), from KwaZulu Natal South Africa. She is the Director of the Little Elephant Training Centre for Early Education (LETCEE), a non-governmental organisation established in the early 1990s. 

Mary, an English, Zulu and Afrikaans speaker, leads a team which comprises of members of these linguistic and cultural groups. The work which Mary is currently leading and directing at the centre has evolved and expanded over the years.  In 1991, before the end of apartheid, Mary opened the first multi-racial pre-primary school in the area, to offer playful learning experiences to young children before entering formal education.  In 1993, Mary addressed this need by starting a training programme in Early Childhood Development (ECD).  Six students enrolled then but now 500 students go through the system each year.

After the introduction of this training it became evident that the vast majority of children in rural communities still had no opportunities for ECD provision. Mary was part of a group, which initiated the family facilitators’ programme, offering family-based learning to young children.

Today there are 40 family facilitators who serve 10 families each, in three community programmes.  The ECD training and the family based learning programme is now well established, and it is estimated to touch the lives of approximately 15 000 children and 2000 adults annually. She is honoured for her outstanding education and leadership skills, and for reaching out to the tribal communities of KwaZulu Natal.

This year students and honoraries receiving degrees will be welcomed by newly commissioned ceremonial music to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Anglia Ruskin University, celebrated during 2008.  The vibrant piece, written by Edward Gregson, one of Britain’s most respected composers is entitled Ceremonial for Brass Quintet.