Bournemouth University’s Graduation Ceremonies take place from Monday 4 November – Friday 8 November 2019.
This year, a total of nine ceremonies will take place across five days at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC).
4,146 students will cross the stage to shake hands with Bournemouth University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Vinney in front of almost 14,000 of their family and friends to celebrate their achievements at BU. The ceremonies will also be streamed online for family around the world to watch.
Students will graduate alongside eight honorary doctorate recipients, including award-winning radio producer Dirk Maggs, composer Dr Shirley J. Thompson, and mental health advocate Sophie Cook.
Speaking about this year’s honorary graduates, Professor John Vinney said, “I am always delighted to welcome our Honorary Graduates to our BU community. It is great that we can take time each year to recognise people who have excelled in their chosen field and who have worked closely with us already.
“They will act as inspirational role models, both for our graduates and their families at the awards ceremonies, and they will continue to enrich our community as they partner with BU in the future too.”
Radio producer and writer Dirk Maggs has visited Bournemouth University on a number of occasions, acting as a mentor and tutor to students looking to follow in his footsteps and forge a career in spoken word radio. Ahead of the graduation ceremonies, he said, "I am thrilled to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bournemouth University as I continue a career in audio drama and sound production which began four decades ago in BBC Radio and now is streamed across the planet thanks to the internet.
“Over those decades BU has mentored and educated students who have gone on to excel in the world of creative electronic media. I have been proud to contribute to their awareness of the hidden - visual - power of audio storytelling, and hope that this award will encourage a new generation to explore its potential.”
Sophie Cook is well known for her mental health advocacy, and is now a published author, with a book chronicling her experiences. She hit national headlines for her role as a photographer at AFC Bournemouth, where she became the first transgender employee of a Premier League football team, much to the support of the club.
She said, “For someone that has experienced difficulties with their mental health throughout my life, including depression, self-harm and suicide, this award is evidence that there is a way back from the brink. Very few people have the opportunity to change the world with a single act but we can all make a difference, one day at a time, one positive act at a time, incrementally working to create the world that we want to leave to our children.
“The motto of Bournemouth University is “Discere Mutari Est” meaning “To Learn is to Change”, I agree but I would add that “To change is to learn”. Embrace change and together we can all make the world a better place.”
Bournemouth University Honorary Doctorate Recipients 2019 are as follows:
Monday 4th November, 2019
Alan James, Doctor of Education - Alan James has helped thousands of students to make the most of their university experience as General Manager of SUBU – BU’s Students’ Union – for the past 25 years. Over this time, he has become known for his empowering approach to leadership, as well as his ability to co-ordinate the energies and interests of the union’s staff and full-time elected officers.
Tuesday 5th November, 2019
Larry Hollingworth, CBE, Doctor of Education - Larry Hollingworth has made an outstanding contribution to the field of emergency relief. As Head of Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, his leadership has provided help to countless men, women and children displaced from their homes due to war and natural disaster. Today Larry draws on his experiences to educate others, as Director of Humanitarian Programs at the Center for International Humanitarian Co-operation at Fordham University in New York. He has also provided valuable advice and support to BU’s own Disaster Management Centre.
Wednesday 6th November, 2019
Dirk Maggs, Doctor of Arts - Dirk Maggs is an award-winning writer and director who has transformed the radio drama tradition to create iconic audio entertainment. From his roots in BBC radio comedy, Dirk became a pioneer of the ‘audio movie’ genre. In the early nineties, he forged a partnership between the BBC and DC Comics, which brought classic American popular culture to the British airwaves. Later, he was approached by the author Douglas Adams to produce and direct adaptations of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ novels, bringing them back to their Radio 4 home. Today, Dirk has also become known for his award-winning collaborations with the author Neil Gaiman.
The Rt Hon the Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, PC, Doctor of Laws - Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers has led a distinguished legal career which has included serving as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and President of the UK Supreme Court. As a High Court Judge, Nicholas Phillips presided over cases reported extensively by the media, including the Maxwell pension funds prosecutions and the public inquiry into BSE. Alongside his legal career, Nicholas has been a strong supporter of education – serving as Chair of Governors at Bryanston School and more recently as BU’s Chancellor.
Thursday 7th November, 2019
Canon Dr Bill Merrington, Doctor of Education - Bill Merrington has served as an Anglican priest for more than 35 years, during which time he has written extensively on issues relating to bereavement, loss and pastoral care, and has supported countless families affected by grief. In 2007, Bill developed a multi-faith chaplaincy for students and staff at Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth. Having moved on from the role in 2018, he is fondly remembered for his wisdom, care and guidance.
Valerie Pitt-Rivers, CVO, DL, Doctor of Education - Valerie Pitt-Rivers has made an outstanding contribution to Dorset’s charitable and public sectors. Having supported the leadership of the county’s health service in a voluntary capacity over two decades, in 2006 she became the first female Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset. Her work was recognised when she was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, for her personal services to The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. For the past five years Valerie has served as a BU Pro-Chancellor, acting as a powerful advocate for the university’s work in the region.
Friday 8th November, 2019
Dr Shirley J. Thompson, OBE, Doctor of Music - Shirley J. Thompson is an award-winning composer and artistic director, who is consistently cited as one of Britain’s foremost classical music composers, as well as one of the country’s most influential people of colour. In 2004, she became the first woman in Europe for more than 40 years to compose and conduct a symphony, which was commissioned to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Her visionary concept, entitled ‘A London Story – a symphonic history of London from 1066 to the present day’, provided the musical framework for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
Sophie Cook, Doctor of Letters - Sophie Cook is an RAF veteran, writer, speaker and broadcaster who became the first transgender woman to work in football’s Premier League as club photographer for AFC Bournemouth. Today she draws on her experiences to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion and to campaign for improved mental health care. Sophie delivers keynote speeches and workshops for schools, universities and major corporations, and has launched the Sophie Cook Foundation to expand the educational focus of her work. Her autobiography, entitled ‘Not Today: How I Chose Life’ has become a self-help book for people struggling with their mental health and identity.
The dates and times of each graduation ceremony can be found below:
Monday 4 November, 2.30pm – Faculty of Management
Tuesday 5 November, 10am and 2.30pm – Faculty of Management
Wednesday 6 November, 10am and 2.30pm – Faculty of Media and Communication
Thursday 7 November, 10am and 2.30pm – Faculty of Science and Technology
Friday 8 November, 10am and 2.30pm – Faculty of Health and Social Sciences