University of Leicester Honours Distinguished Figures
total of 1,400 postgraduate students celebrated success at the University of
Leicester when they were awarded their degrees on Friday, January 24, 2003.
joined the growing number of University of Leicester graduates around the
world – the University has the UK’s largest number of taught postgraduate
On the same occasion the University of Leicester honoured four distinguished people at the Degree Congregation held at De Montfort Hall, Leicester.
SMART MOVE: University Registrar Keith Julian stepped into the role of photographer for this picture of University photographer Colin Brooks (left) with Honorary Graduate Andrew Constantine
The honorary graduates of the University of Leicester are:
Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
Andrew Constantine, Conductor and Director of Music of the Kaleidoscope
Chamber Orchestra and conductor of many well-known orchestras, for
example the London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Derek Thomas, Chairman of Governors of the British Institute in Florence and former British Ambassador to Italy.
the students gaining their postgraduate qualifications are some who will have
read for degrees by distance learning and will visit Leicester for the first
time with their families. The University
has more than 9,000 postgraduate students from over 100 countries of which
nearly 6,200 study by distance learning.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert Burgess, said: "I am delighted to
congratulate all our graduates on their splendid achievements. The University is
pleased to honour the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Margaret
Gelling, Andrew Constantine and Sir Derek
Thomas, all of whom have made such notable contributions in their respective
fields. They offer excellent role models for the University's students.”
SUCCESSFUL: University Chancellor Sir Michael Atiyah (right) shakes hands with former University Safety Officer John Hopkins on stage at De Montfort Hall, marking conferment of a postgraduate degree
Derek Thomas said: “I am greatly
honoured to be awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of
Leicester and I hope this will help to strengthen the links between the
University and the British Institute of Florence.”
Andrew Constantine said: “Leicester and the people of Leicester have always
been hugely supportive of my work and I’m delighted at the honour the
University of Leicester is bestowing upon me.”
DOUBLE CELEBRATION: The Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, recipient of an honorary degree, and his daughter Rachel, who graduated with an MSc in Social Research, pictured after the degree ceremony
Right Reverend Tim Stevens said: “It is a great honour to be awarded an
honorary DLitt from the University of Leicester. This University has a growing
international reputation in key fields of research and is a major participant in
the regeneration in the City of Leicester. As a representative of the Christian
communities here in the City, I am delighted to be more closely associated with
a university of which we are all very proud.”
Right Reverend Tim Stevens
Tim Stevens read Classics and English at Cambridge before working for the British Overseas Airways Corporation between 1968 and 1972. From 1972-3 he was Second Secretary in the South Asian Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He trained for ordination at Ripon Hall, Oxford and was ordained in 1976. He was subsequently Team Vicar of St Alban’s, Upton Park; Team Rector of the parish of Canvey Island; Archdeacon of West Ham and Bishop of Dunwich before becoming Bishop of Leicester in 1999. He is President of the Council of The Children’s Society, a Board member of the Leicester Shire Economic Partnership, and a Vice President of the Leicester Council of Faiths. He has an active interest in developing interfaith relations in Leicester.
Dr Margaret Gelling, OBE
Gelling read English at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She joined the English Place-Name Society as a research
assistant in 1946, which was her first and only full-time job, lasting until
1953. Since then, her research has been mostly freelance and has contributed
much to the understanding of how Anglo-Saxon names were invented by ordinary
people, rather than designated by figures in authority.
She also established the relationship between Anglo-Saxon names and the
landscape; for example the Anglo-Saxons had about 40 words that can describe
hills, but there are no synonyms. Despite
popular interest in the origins and meanings of place names, there are few
specialists working in Britain. Margaret
Gelling, President of the English Place-Name Society, is perhaps the best known
and she received an OBE in 1995 for her lifetime's work.
Sir Derek Thomas
Derek Thomas read modern languages at Cambridge before becoming an articled apprentice for Dolphin Industrial Developments in 1947. In 1953 he joined HM Foreign Service and in the same year became a Midshipman, and later Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. He has spent his life in public service, representing British interests in the United States and Canada, as well as across Europe. From 1984 to 1987 he was Deputy Under Secretary of State for Europe and Political Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was then made Ambassador to Italy from 1987 to 1989. He has been a Director of Rothschild Italia and other commercial businesses. He has recently completed his second term as Chairman of the British Institute of Florence.
Constantine studied at the Royal Northern College of Music (1980-82) the
University of Leicester (1983-86) and the Leningrad State Conservatory
(1991-92). He won the Donatella Flick
Conducting Competition in 1992, making his London debut with the London
Philharmonic Orchestra. He is considered
to be one of Britain’s most dynamic and versatile conductors, and has worked
with leading orchestras, artists and opera companies, including the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, Montserrat Caballe, and the English National Opera.
He was involved in the formation of Leicester’s renowned Bardi Symphony
Orchestra in 1986, and has recently founded the Malcolm Sargent International
Soloists’ Competition. He has also used
his career to support the work of a variety of charities including Save the
Children and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
The honorary graduates received their degrees at the following ceremonies:
(Faculty of the Social Sciences)
The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester (Doctor of Letters)
Dr Margaret Gelling, OBE (Doctor of Letters)
(Faculties of Arts, Education, Law, Medicine and Biological Sciences,
Andrew Constantine (Doctor of Music)
Sir Derek Thomas, KDMG, (CMG) (Doctor of Laws)
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.