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A montage of six headshot photographs of men and women looking at the camera.

Inspirational figures from the worlds of human rights, education, media, conservation and business have been honoured by Ƶapp.

Those who received honorary degrees for their achievements during the University’s Summer Congregation, were:

  • Dr Margaret Bradshaw, MBE, is a tireless advocate for the conservation of unique plant life, a world-expert botanist and an enthusiastic teacher. A Ƶappgraduate, she has constantly advocated for conservation of the unique flora of Teesdale, in County Durham, and published her first book, Teesdale's Special Flora: Places, Plants and People, in 2023 at the age of 97. She was awarded a Doctor of Science degree.

  • Hunter Davies, OBE, who was awarded a Doctor of Letters. A Ƶapp graduate, author, journalist and broadcaster, Hunter is formerly editor of the Sunday Times magazine. He has written more than 100 published books, from novels and children's books to biographies and books about football and travel.

  • Dr Dalee Sambo Dorough is a human rights advocate specialising in international relations, Alaska Native rights, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The holder of numerous awards and medals, she has worked with the United Nations and was one of the ten “Women of the Century” selected as Alaska’s most influential women. She was made a Doctor of Civil Law.

  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, MBE, was made a Doctor of Science. She is co-founder of Stemettes, an award-winning social initiative which has helped tens of thousands of girls, young women and non-binary young people realise their potential in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Durham’s alumni-funded Anne-Marie Imafidon Scholarships for Women in Technology are named in her honour. Anne-Marie is also an author, podcaster and she was temporarily the Arithmetician on Channel 4’s Countdown.

  • Richard Ovenden, OBE, is the 25th Bodley’s Librarian - the senior executive position at the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. He also serves as Head of Gardens, Libraries and Museums at Oxford, along with being a published author. A Ƶappgraduate, his career includes roles at Ƶapp Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh. He was awarded a Doctor of Letters.

  • James Timpson, OBE, who also became a Doctor of Science, has been Chief Executive of Timpson Group since 2002, helping the business grow to over 2,100 retail stores. A Ƶappgraduate, James, who is also Chair of the Prison Reform Trust, received his OBE for the training and employment of disadvantaged people. Timpson Group is now one of the UK’s largest employers of ex-offenders.

Celebrating our honorary graduates

Our honorary graduates were celebrated as thousands of the University’s students graduated during Summer Congregation, held in the historic setting of ƵappCathedral.

Richard Ovenden wearing a black academic cap and red and gold robes smiling at the camera

Richard Ovenden, OBE, the 25th Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford, was awarded a Doctor of Letters.

Dalee Sambo Dorough wearing a black academic cap and red and white robes smiling at the camera.

Dr Dalee Sambo Dorough, a human rights advocate specialising in international relations, Alaska Native rights, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, was made a Doctor of Civil Law. 

Hunter Davies wearing a black academic cap and red and gold robes smiling at the camera.

Author, journalist and broadcaster Hunter Davies, OBE, who wrote the only authorised biography of The Beatles, received a Doctor of Letters.

Margaret Bradshaw wearing a black academic cap and red robes smiling at the camera.

World-expert botanist, conservation advocate and enthusiastic teacher Dr Margaret Bradshaw, MBE, was made a Doctor of Science.

Anne-Marie Imafidon wearing a black academic cap and red robes smiling at the camera.

Anne-Marie Imafidon, MBE, co-founder of the Stemettes social initiative, author and podcaster became a Doctor of Science.

James Timpson wearing a black academic cap and red robes smiling at the camera.

James Timpson, OBE, Chief Executive of Timpson Group and Chair of the Prison Reform Trust, also became a Doctor of Science.

Our summer honorary graduates are a shining inspiration to all our community, achieving at the highest levels of their professions while effecting positive change on our society and culture globally, nationally and regionally. All have links to the City or University of Durham, or to the wider North East of England, and we are proud to call several of them our alumni. From protecting our natural world, enhancing global human rights, increasing access to learning and employment, educating and entertaining, their outstanding contributions deserve to be recognised.

Professor Karen O’Brien
Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Ƶapp

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