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Leeds Beckett 2018 Honorary Graduates unveiled

More than 5,500 students will graduate from Leeds Beckett University next week, joined by five inspirational figures who will receive honorary degrees.

Chris Watson

The university’s graduations will take place at Leeds Town Hall 16-20 July, with honorary awards set to be presented to the following outstanding individuals:

Chris Watson (pictured above), a sound engineer and recordist; Frances Crook, a campaigner for penal reform; the Rt Hon Lady Black of Derwent, who was only the second female judge in the Supreme Court; Arthur France, the founder of the Leeds West Indian Carnival; and former Paralympic athlete Victoria Aggar.

Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor, said: “We are celebrating the graduation of 5,500 students from more than 100 countries. We wish them all every success as they leave us to take up roles in business, finance, law, clinical and health sciences, social work, computing, journalism, education, sport and leisure, tourism and hospitality, creative and performing arts, architecture and design, the built environment, politics and entertainment. 

“Our honorary graduates are leaders in their fields and an inspiration to our graduating students. Their work has had a positive impact on the lives of others and it is an honour to acknowledge their contributions through these awards.”


Arthur France

Arthur founded the Leeds West Indian Carnival and is still chair of the organising committee.

Arthur came to the UK in 1957 from Nevis in the Caribbean.  As well as leaving his family and home behind, Arthur also left behind the Caribbean culture - the music, the food, and the art, which gave him the idea of setting up the carnival. After setting up the West Indian Carnival in Leeds, his expertise was then called on to help to establish the famous Notting Hill Carnival.

He will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts on 16 July for his significant contribution to the city of Leeds.


Victoria Aggar

Previously named one of the Top 20 Most Influential Women in British Sport’, Victoria Aggar is a former Paralympic athlete who won 100m Gold in athletics before turning her attention to rowing. She enjoyed an impressive six-year stint in the British Rowing Team, culminating in two world championship titles and a Paralympic Bronze medal.

Victoria is an alumna of our Carnegie School of Sport – she graduated with BA (Hons) Physical Education in 2001.

She originally started her sporting career as a national league netball player before pursuing ambitions in athletics at the Wheelchair and Amputee World Games in 2005, where she took home her first Gold medal.

Victoria will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Sport Science on 17 July for her significant contribution to sport.


Rt Hon Lady Black of Derwent

Last October, Lady Black become only the second-ever female judge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom: the pinnacle of a stellar legal career spanning more than 40 years. She became a QC in 1994, and was appointed to the High Court in 1999, assigned to the Family Division. She also became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Appointed a Lady Justice of Appeal in 2010, she was the Head of International Family Justice from 2013 until 2017.

Lady Black is receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Laws on 18 July for her significant contribution to public life.


Chris Watson

Chris, from Sheffield, is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and sound phenomena in the natural world and a musician and composer. Chris was the sound recordist for Frozen Planet with David Attenborough, which won the BAFTA for best factual sound in 2012. He was also a founding member of the electronic music group ‘Cabaret Voltaire’, who formed in 1972, and went on to become one of the most innovative and influential groups of their era.

Alongside all of this, Chris finds the time to work with two Schools here at Leeds Beckett University – the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts and the School of Art, Architecture and Design – helping to inspire the sound designers of the future.

He is receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Arts on 19 July for his significant contribution to the arts.


Frances Crook

Frances is Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform and has been instrumental in raising public awareness about penal system reform. She began her campaigning career at Amnesty International before moving on to lead the Howard League for Penal Reform in 1986. The charity provides legal advice to children and young adults in custody and has taken a number of successful judicial reviews that have improved the treatment of young people in custody and on release.

She is being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws on 20 July for her significant contribution to public life.


Find out more about Graduation 2018 at http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/graduation/

Get involved using the Hashtag #LeedsBeckettGrads

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