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Skyfall screenwriters among those to receive honorary degrees

Acclaimed screenwriters, Neal Purvis and Robert WadeThe screenwriters of the BAFTA-winning James Bond movie, Skyfall, are among those to receive honorary degrees from the University of Kent.

Kent alumni Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will receive their awards at ceremonies being held in July, along with BBC Radio Four presenter Carolyn Quinn and writer Maureen Duffy. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to Judge George Arestis, Sir Michael Bett, Jonathan Cooper, Professor Bleddyn Davies, Professor Dame Ann Dowling, Freddy Kempf, Sir Peter Ricketts, Professor Richard Rosen and Dr Elizabeth Vallance. The ceremonies take place at Rochester Cathedral on 9 July 2013, and at Canterbury Cathedral 15-19 July 2013.

Acclaimed screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have written five James Bond films, including Skyfall, the UK’s highest grossing movie. Neal Purvis studied Film and Photographic Arts, while Robert Wade studied Film Theory and English at the University. Since then, they have forged a successful career writing screenplays together. They have worked in a variety of genres with screenplays such as the spy comedy Johnny English, and The Italian Job remake.

Kent graduate Carolyn Quinn is best known for her work on BBC Radio Four as a political correspondent and a presenter on the Today Programme and PM. She also presents the Sunday night political programme The Westminster Hour. She reports regularly from Parliament and in 2011-2012 she was elected Chairman of the Press Gallery, representing the 300 journalists who work out of the Houses of Parliament. She became the first female holder of the role since it was formed in 1803.

Maureen Duffy is a contemporary British poet, playwright and novelist. Originally a teacher, she turned to writing full-time as a poet and playwright after being commissioned to produce television screenplay by Granada Television. She is the author of 16 plays for the stage, television and radio and has published 32 books, including seven volumes of poetry. She is currently the President of the Authors Licensing and Copyright Society, and a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature.

George Arestis is a Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union and a University of Kent politics postgraduate. He studied law at the Law School of Athens University, before studying for a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics and Government at Kent in 1970. After practicing as a lawyer for 10 years, he was appointed as a District Court Judge before becoming Administrative President of the District Court of Nicosia and subsequently a Judge at the Supreme Court of Cyprus. Since 2004, he has been a Judge at the EU's Court of Justice.

Sir Michael Bett’s career spans five decades with senior roles across most facets of society from government and industry to the arts. As well as working with companies such as GEC, BBC and BT, he was the first Civil Service Commissioner and has chaired a number of national enquiries. He has had a number of charitable roles with, for example, the Save the Children Fund and the English Shakespeare Company. Sir Michael actively supported the development of Canterbury’s new Marlowe Theatre. He was knighted in 1995.

Human rights lawyer and Kent graduate Jonathan Cooper has worked on many of the most important human rights cases of the last two decades both at the European Court of Human Rights and in the UK. He has run training sessions for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence, as well as for countries in Central Asia and West Africa among others. He is the editor of the European Human Rights Law Review and is Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust. In 2007, he was awarded an OBE.

Professor Bleddyn Davies established the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at Kent in 1974. He is an Emeritus Professor both at Kent and the LSE, and also Professorial Fellow at the Oxford University Institute of Ageing. His work has focused on primarily on equity, efficiency and the reform of community care and PSSRU continues to be the main source of analysis behind public policy in the area. He was awarded an OBE in 2001 and is an Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling is a mechanical engineer who specialises in combustion, acoustics and vibration. She is Head of the Department of Engineering at Cambridge and one of four main panel chairs for the government’s Research Excellence Framework. She is a non-executive director at BP and technical consultant to Rolls Royce. She was included in BBC Radio 4’s list of the UK’s 100 most powerful women in 2013. A Fellow of the Royal Society, among others, she received the CBE in 2002 and was appointed DBE in 2007 for services to science.

Freddy Kempf is one of today’s most successful pianists, performing to sell-out audiences all over the world. He was educated at St Edmund’s School, Canterbury and the Royal Academy of Music. He took up the piano at the age of 4, made his concerto debut aged 8 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1992 he was named BBC Young Musician of the Year and was voted Best Young British Classical Performer in the Classical BRIT Awards in 2001. He continues to record recitals of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and Schumann.

Sir Peter Ricketts is currently British Ambassador to France, having originally joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1974. After postings to Singapore and NATO Brussels, he worked as Assistant Private Secretary to Sir Geoffrey Howe, before serving in Washington and Hong Kong. More recently, he was UK Permanent Representative to NATO in Brussels and was appointed Permanent Under Secretary at the FCO and Head of HM Diplomatic Service. In 2010, the Prime Minister asked him to become the British Government’s first National Security Adviser. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in 2011.

Professor Richard Rosen is a vitreoretinal specialist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Professor of Ophthalmology at the New York Medical College and Visiting Professor in Applied Optics at the University of Kent. He initially studied psychology, anthropology and fine arts photography, before going on to gain his medical degree. His first residency was in Ophthalmology at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary where he now serves as Vice Chairman and Director of Ophthalmic Research for the Department of Ophthalmology as well as Surgeon Director and Chief of the Retina Service.

Dr Elizabeth Vallance is a leading political theorist who began her professional career teaching government and politics at the University of London. She was Head of the Department of Politics at Queen Mary where she is now an Honorary Fellow. As well as undertaking a number of charitable roles, she is a Sloan Fellow of the London Business School and is currently a non-executive director of Charter European Trust and the Medical Protection Society. She was a presiding magistrate on the Inner London Bench and was appointed as a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. In 2008-9, she was High Sheriff of Greater London.


Story published at 3:53pm 19 July 2013

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Last Updated: 23/05/2013