University confers honorary degrees on five inspirational people

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.

Honorary graduates of the winter degrees ceremonies 2011
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 received them.

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 Europe.

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 followed.

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 separate occasions.

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.”

Page last updated by Stacey Knaggs on 10/1/2014

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