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University awards honorary degrees to Orlando Bloom and David Suchet

David Suchet and Orlando Bloom: Actors Orlando Bloom and David Suchet will be among those receiving honorary degrees from the University of Kent in July.

In ceremonies taking place at Canterbury Cathedral between 13 and 15 July, the University will also be awarding honorary degrees to eight other distinguished figures. These include constitutional expert Professor Vernon Bogdanor; telecommunications entrepreneur Charles Wigoder; poet and critic Molly Mahood; Professor Robert Freedman, a leading researcher in the field of biological sciences; Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford; leading philosopher Professor Colin McGinn; Professor Ruth Farwell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Buckinghamshire New University; and Professor John Harris, Director of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester.

Orlando Bloom first caught the attention of audiences and film-makers alike as elf-prince Legolas in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, going on to star as blacksmith Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy of films. He subsequently established himself as a lead in Hollywood films, including Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy, Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Born and raised in Canterbury, he has been a member of the National Youth Theatre in London, earning a scholarship to train with the British American Drama Academy, and is a former student of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He made his professional stage debut in a revival of David Storey’s drama, In Celebration, at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London's West End. In 2009 he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. His additional credits include Blackhawk Down, Ned Kelly, Haven, New York, I Love You, Main Street and Sympathy for Delicious. He also produced and stars in the upcoming black comedy The Good Doctor.

David Suchet OBE is one of the country’s best known actors, with a lengthy career spanning stage, screen and television. He has become best known to the public for his range of characterisations in several television series, most notably in the title role in Agatha Christie’s Poirot. He has also appeared in many West End productions, most recently as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus, which was nominated for an Olivier award. His film credits include the independent film Sunday, which won best film award at the Sundance Film Festival. He has won, or been nominated for, numerous national and international acting awards, and is appearing in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre, London, between May and September.

Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Professor of Government at Oxford University, and a Visiting Professor of Constitutional History at King’s College, London. One of Britain’s foremost constitutional experts, he has written extensively on political and constitutional issues, and has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. In 2008, he was awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin Award by the Political Studies Association for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies.

The Hon Charles Wigoder is a telecommunications entrepreneur and philanthropist, and a University of Kent graduate in Accountancy and Law. In 1988, he founded the Peoples Phone Company, which became the UK’s first virtual mobile network with more than 180 showrooms opened in just 12 months, before it was acquired by Vodafone in 1996. He subsequently created Telecom Plus PLC as a fully integrated multi-utility supplier, trading under the ‘Utility Warehouse’ brand. In 2006, Telecom Plus PLC was ranked as the fastest growing business in Europe by European Business Magazine.

Molly Mahood is a writer and literary critic, whose best-known titles include Poetry and Humanism (1950), Shakespeare’s Wordplay (1957), Bit Parts in Shakespeare’s Plays (1992) and The Poet as Botanist (2008). The latter was awarded the Rose Mary Crayshaw Prize of the British Academy. In addition, she has published numerous articles on poets including Shakespeare, Keats, Kipling and John Clare in various national and international titles. She was Professor of English Literature at the University of Kent between 1967 and 1979 and remains Professor Emeritus at the University.

Robert Freedman, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Warwick, is a foremost researcher in biological sciences, with a particular focus on protein folding in the cell and on folding catalysts. His academic posts have included Head of the Department of Biosciences and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kent, and Head of Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick. He is currently working on joint research projects with colleagues at Warwick, not only in biological science but also in the fields of chemistry, physics and medicine.

Sir Barry Cunliffe CBE is Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford, where he taught from 1972 until his retirement in 2007. He has excavated widely in Britain, France and Spain, and has published a number of books on the prehistory and early history of Europe, most recently Facing the Ocean, Europe Between the Oceans and The Druids. He is a Commissioner for English Heritage and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Colin McGinn has lectured in philosophy for 35 years, in both the UK and the USA, at University College London, the University of Oxford, Rutgers University and the University of Miami, where he is currently Professor of Philosophy. He has written 20 books, tackling subjects as diverse as mind and brain, film, Shakespeare and sport, including an autobiography. His latest book, Disgust and Death: A Philosophical Study, integrates philosophy, psychology, biology and cultural studies.

Professor Ruth Farwell is Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Buckinghamshire New University. Since joining the University (then Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College) in 2006, she has led the institution through a successful application for university title, a major campus consolidation and redevelopment programme, and a period of significant growth in applications. Her various posts include the chair of higher education representative body GuildHE.

Professor John Harris, one of the leading bioethicists in the United Kingdom, is Director of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester. He was elected a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001, the first philosopher to have been elected to Fellowship of this new national academy, and was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts in 2006. He is also the joint Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Medical Ethics, and is the author or editor of nineteen books and more than two hundred and fifty papers.

The University will award an honorary degree to Matin Sheriff during its degree ceremonies to be held at Rochester Cathedral on 16 July. Mr Sheriff was appointed consultant urological surgeon at the Medway Maritime Hospital in 2000, and was until recently the lead urological clinician. He is the lead cancer surgeon and clinical lead for the West Kent Urology Cancer Centre, and is both the founder and director of minimally invasive surgical teaching in Kent.


Story published at 11:02am 16 July 2010

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