Congratulations to all students who are graduating at the University of Hull

Thousands of students from the University of Hull will graduate this month at the Bonus Arena, bringing more than 24,000 guests to the city as they celebrate all their achievements and hard work over the past few years.

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University’s staff and students, and indeed the wider community, has been challenging but the entire University community has demonstrated remarkable determination and resilience. There is much excitement on campus as staff and students look forward to celebrating all of our graduates from 2021 and 2022.

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “We are all so looking forward to graduation this year; seeing our students cross that stage and be conferred their degree is a highlight in the University calendar.

“This year is all the more special as we recognise both students’ academic success and tremendous personal resilience through the pandemic.  We are delighted to be awarding an honorary degree to Dame Sarah Gilbert who played a pivotal role in the development of the Covid vaccine.”

Alongside nearly 5,000 graduands are 12 honorary graduands attending across the 21 ceremonies, which commenced on Thursday 14 July and take place over two weeks. Dame Sarah Gilbert and Brian May, CBE, PhD, FRAS are amongst the 12 esteemed and highly-acclaimed honorary graduates, including four University of Hull alumni.

Dr Brian May CBE, founding member of Queen, guitarist, renowned songwriter, skilled producer and beloved performer graduates at the first ceremony on Thursday by video link. As well as being an incredibly successful and award-winning musician, Brian is a Doctor of Astrophysics after resuming his studies and achieving his PhD from Imperial College, London in 2007.

Brian was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the Music Industry’ and for his charity work. He was presented with Doctor of Science, honoris causa at the graduation ceremony on Thursday 14 July at 10.30am.

Professor Brad Gibson, Head of the University’s Department of Physics & Mathematics and Director of the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to honour such a famed and accomplished musician and passionate astrophysicist. Dr Brian May’s commitment to astrophysics throughout his successful career in Queen is certainly something to be admired and, indeed, recognised.”

Dame Sarah Gilbert DBE is a Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, University of Hull graduate, and co-developer of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, will be presented with Doctor of Science, honoris causa at the ceremony on Thursday 21 July at 4.30pm.

Professor Gilbert joined the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University in 1994 and became part of the Jenner Institute (within NDM) when it was founded in 2005. Her chief research interest is the development of viral vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses.

She leads the Jenner Institute programme in influenza vaccine development and now also works on vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including Nipah virus, MERS, Lassa virus and CCHF virus. Professor Gilbert’s work includes a focus on the rapid transfer of vaccines into GMP manufacturing and first in human trials. Professor Gilbert is currently the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This vaccine, tested by the University of Oxford in clinical trials of over 23,000 people in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, is now in use in many countries around the world in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Gilbert graduated from the University of Hull in 1986 after researching genetics and biochemistry and achieving a PhD.

Professor Paul Hagan, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull, said: “I am thrilled we are able to honour Professor Sarah Gilbert for her tremendous achievement and enormous contribution to our society. We are extremely proud that she is a University of Hull graduate and we are pleased to be able to recognise Professor Gilbert’s outstanding work in developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Other honorary graduates include: Mr Juergen Maier CBE, former Chief Executive of Siemens UK; Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, a medical doctor who served as Minister of Health in Angola; Professor Surya P Subedi, QC, OBE, international jurist and professor of International Law at the University of Leeds; Michael Jibson, an actor, writer, director and voiceover artist; John G Bernasconi, University Director of Fine Art; Mrs Jane Thornton, award-winning actress; Professor Andrew Beavis, Consultant Medical Physicist within the NHS and Head of the Radiation Physics Department in the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust; Charlie Spencer OBE, founder and Executive Chairman of the Hull-based engineering company Spencer Group; Stuart Cosgrove, professional journalist and broadcaster and former executive at Channel 4; and John Curtin, Executive Director of Operations for the Environment Agency (EA).

The University of Hull graduation ceremonies will also see more than 1,800 nurses, and other allied health students such as midwives, operating department practitioners*, physician associates and paramedics are graduating. More than 130 Hull York Medical School graduates (MB BS Medicine) will also be graduating in York on Wednesday 20 July.

Congratulations to all those who will be graduating this month.

* Operating department practitioners provide care before, during and after surgery.