University confers honorary degrees on five inspirational
31 January 2011
Five notable individuals were conferred with honorary degrees
last week alongside hundreds of students who had completed their
studies at the University of Hull.
L-R: Helen Bamber OBE; Mrs Justice Eleanor King DBE; Richard
Hart; Jean Hartley; Chris Mullin.
The graduation ceremonies were held on 27 and 28 January at the
Middleton Hall, on the University’s Hull Campus with the honorary
degrees recognising the individual achievements of those who
Mrs Justice Eleanor King DBE will receive a
Doctor of Laws. Born in 1957 in New Orleans she moved to Yorkshire
as a child and was educated at Escrick Park near York before coming
to the University of Hull to read Law in 1975.
Specialising in children’s work and family law, she has
practised from chambers in Leeds, Manchester and London. Mrs
Justice King has also appeared in high profile divorce cases which
have frequently been worth more than £30 million. In 2008 she was
appointed a High Court judge and was also made a Dame Commander of
the British Empire.
Human rights campaigner Helen Bamber OBE was
recognised for her work spanning over 60 years when she receives a
Doctor of the University. She started working with the survivors of
the Bergen-Belson concentration camp after the Second World War
before joining Amnesty International in 1961 where she pioneered
the Amnesty UK Medical Group.
In 2005, she founded the Helen Bamber Foundation which provides
support to over 2700 people today. She was named the European Woman
of Achievement in 1993, awarded an OBE in 1997 and is also the
recipient of a lifetime Human Rights Achievement award.
Dr Richard Hart was made a Doctor of Laws. Born
in 1917, he was educated at schools in the Caribbean and in England
before becoming a foundation member of the Peoples National Party
in Jamaica in 1938. He was also heavily involved in trade unions
becoming Secretary of the Caribbean Labour Congress and also
Officer of the Trade Union Congress.
Dr Hart is also a qualified solicitor and also edited ‘The
Mirror’ Newspaper in Guyana in 1953. He is the author of several
books about Caribbean History and has lectured on the subject at
Universities in the West Indies, England, the USA, Canada and
The founder of the Marvel Press and Philip Larkin expert
Jean Hartley received a Doctor of Letters. Born in
Hull in 1933 she worked as a shorthand typist before founding the
poetry magazine Listen, The Marvel press and Listen Records
alongside her then husband George. Their first book publication was
Philip Larkin’s The Less Deceived and other collections
In 1968 she studied in the English Department at the University
of Hull before going on to work as a teacher. She has written
several books about the poet Larkin and more recently worked for
the Philip Larkin Society helping with various celebrations to mark
the 25th anniversary of his death.
Former University of Hull Graduate, politician, author and
journalist Christopher Mullin was awarded a Doctor
of Laws. Mr Mullin was first elected to Parliament in 1987 and
served as the MP for Sunderland South until 2010. During his time
in office he held ministerial posts in the departments of the
Environment, International Development and the Foreign Office. He
was also the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee on two
Mr Mullin played a key role in the successful campaign to free
the innocent people convicted of the Guildford, Woolwich and
Birmingham pub bombings which resulted in a judicial inquiry and a
royal commission. Away from politics he is the author of several
books including ‘A Very British Coup’ which was made into a
successful television series.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Calie Pistorius said: “We
were delighted to award these honorary degrees to such a diverse
range of people, continuing a long tradition at the University.
Their achievements will undoubtedly be a great source of
inspiration to our graduates, to whom I’d like to offer my sincere
congratulations and every success for the future.”
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