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Honorary degrees awarded at Canterbury Cathedral

Sir Mervyn KingGovernor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King, pioneer of dance education Veronica Lewis and distinguished journalist Peter Williams received honorary degrees from the University on 23 November at ceremonies at Canterbury Cathedral.

Sir Mervyn King FBA joined the Bank of England as a non-executive director in 1990, becoming Chief Economist and Executive Director in 1991 and Deputy Governor in 1998. He was appointed Governor of the Bank in 2003, and is Chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee and Financial Policy Committee.

The son of a railway clerk from Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire, Sir Mervyn was identified as exceptionally bright from an early age. When he left King's College Cambridge in 1969, he was one of just 12 out of 200 economics students to be awarded a First.

Following study at Harvard (as a Kennedy Scholar), he taught at Cambridge and Birmingham Universities before spells as Visiting Professor at both Harvard University and MIT. From 1984, Sir Mervyn was Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics where he founded the Financial Markets Group.

Sir Mervyn King received his honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in recognition of his contribution to economics and public life.

Veronica Lewis MBEVeronica Lewis MBE has been a pioneer of dance and dance education all her life. After training as a choreologist, she was appointed Gulbenkian Dance Fellow in Cheshire. She was one of the first Arts Council-funded Dance Animateurs and founded Cheshire Dance Workshop. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s she was a pioneer in the development of education and outreach work in both dance companies and orchestras. In recognition of her services to dance, she was awarded the MBE in 1995.

In 1998, Veronica Lewis became Director of the London Contemporary Dance School and her energies were transferred to higher education and advanced training in dance. In 2001, she helped to establish the world-leading Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. This affiliation of eight schools, each outstanding and famous in its own right, secured the place of conservatoire-level training in dance, drama and circus arts firmly within the higher education system. She has been one of the Joint Principals of this unique collaborative structure since its inception.

She has held many public positions in the wider dance world. She was a founding Director of the National Dance Agency for the North West and a founding member of North West Arts Board. She served as Chair of the Royal Ballet’s education committee, Vice Chair of the Arts Council's Dance Panel, a member of the Board of Rambert Dance Company and Vice Chair of English National Ballet. She played a key role in developing the Government's Centres for Advanced Training, which enable young people to benefit from intensive pre-vocational dance training whilst remaining within secondary education.

During 2012 Veronica Lewis was made an Honorary Professor of the University of Kent. This year the London Contemporary Dance School also celebrates the 30th year of its collaboration with Kent, which was the first university to award dance degrees in the UK.

Veronica Lewis received her honorary Doctor of the University degree in recognition of her contribution to dance and higher education.

Peter Williams MBEPeter Williams MBE has enjoyed a long and successful a career in journalism. He was educated at King Edward Grammar School in Totnes and Cotham Grammar School in Bristol. He left school at 15 and became an office boy at the Bristol Evening Post. It was the start of a career in newspaper journalism, in the West Country and in Fleet Street, emulating his father and his uncle.

His television career began as a reporter and newsreader at Southern Television in Dover, progressing to work for Thames Television's This Week and the BBC's Panorama programmes. In a documentary career spanning 30 years, he has recorded a number of world scoops, including the birth of the first 'test tube' baby and the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic.

Peter Williams has lived in Kent for more than 40 years. He was chair and founder-member of the Canterbury Conservation Advisory Committee, Chairman of the Oaten Hill Society, President of the Optimists Cancer Care Club, and is a life member of Kent County Cricket Club. He recently chaired the Marlowe Theatre Development Trust, part of the public-private partnership that helped build Canterbury's new Marlowe Theatre. He was Chairman (now President) of the Canterbury Festival for 21 years and he is a Freeman of the City of Canterbury.

Peter Williams received his honorary Doctor of Letters degree in recognition of his contribution to the City of Canterbury.


Story published at 11:10am 27 November 2012

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