Two people who, in very different ways, have made an invaluable contribution to education are to be honoured by the University of Leicester.
The University will award the honorary degree of Master of Arts to Mrs Rachel Sullivan and the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters to Professor Barry Supple at the Postgraduate Degree Congregation to be held on February 8.
Mrs Rachel Sullivan began her work with the University's Adult Education Department in 1982 when she was appointed as a part-time tutor to develop a sculpture course for the blind and visually impaired. During the years that have followed, the course has developed into an energetic programme of art for people with other disabilities.
She has been involved in several Touch and See and Finding Form exhibitions, which have travelled to many museums, galleries and libraries in Britain, for which she has provided the educational dimensions for the touch workshops which are held in conjunction with the exhibitions. She has been involved in fund raising for the Richard Attenborough Centre since the early 1990s and contributed greatly towards the development of the architectural brief for the new building.
Mrs Sullivan said: "In receiving an Honorary Degree from Leicester University, I am aware not only of my personal pleasure and pride, but of the enormous debt I owe to everyone who has worked to bring the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts to fruition. Not least in this endeavour were the disabled students."
Professor Barry Supple, FBA has been Director of the Leverhulme Trust since 1993. After holding academic positions at the University of Sussex and University of Oxford (Reader in Recent Social and Economic History), he became Professor of Economic History at Cambridge in 1981, a post he held until 1993. He was Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge from 1984 to 1993. He has been a member of the Social Sciences Fellowship Committee of the Nuffield Foundation since 1974 and is President of the Economic History Society. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1987.
He said: "Recognition by a great University and by fellow academics is a gratifying and humbling honour. However transitory the emotion, it persuades the recipient that he or she may - just - deserve it! But it is, in any case, a wonderful thing."
The honorary degrees will be presented by the University's Chancellor Sir Michael Atiyah at the De Montfort Hall in front of graduands and their families from around the world.
A spokesperson for the University said: "Honouring individuals who have achieved distinction in their careers and given great service to the community is an integral part of our degree ceremonies and adds lustre to what is a very happy occasion for all those graduating.
"Degree ceremonies are very important events in our calendar. They provide an opportunity for the University as a whole both to demonstrate something of its achievement in producing its graduates and also to state its values."
Honorary degrees were first awarded by Leicester University in 1958 and, since then, more than 300 distinguished persons have been recipients of the degrees.
NOTE TO NEWS AND PIX DESKS: The Honorary Degrees will be awarded on February 8 at the Postgraduate Degree Congregation starting at 2.30pm. It will take place at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Photographers are welcome but please note that time does not allow for interviews on the day.
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