London, 23 November 2016 – The University of London last evening awarded honorary degrees to Baroness Tessa Blackstone of Stoke Newington, Michael Hayman MBE, Professor Peter Kopelman and The Rt Hon the Baroness Usha Prashar of Runnymede CBE, PC in recognition of achievements in their respective fields. Charles Perrin CBE Hon FRCP is the first individual to be admitted to the Fellowship of the University of London in its 180 year history.
The honorary degrees were presented by the University’s Chancellor, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, at the University of London’s Foundation Day. This year’s evening ceremony, which took place in Bloomsbury’s Senate House, marks the 180th anniversary of the creation of the University of London by Royal Charter on 28 November 1836. The festivities also marked the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Senate House. King George V laid the foundation stone on 26 June 1933. The building at the heart of the global city of London welcomed its first occupants in 1936 and was home to the Ministry of Information during the Second World War. From day one Senate House has been a centre for knowledge, ideas, and intellectual debate and continues to be today.
The five remarkable individuals have all made huge contributions to public life and the University in very different ways;
Baroness Tessa Blackstone is a Labour Peer and was a Minister of State in Education from 1997–2001 and in Culture from 2001–2003. Her academic career in the social sciences began at LSE and continued at the Institute of Education. Baroness Blackstone held posts as Master of Birkbeck College and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich and currently chairs the boards of Great Ormond Street Hospital and The British Library. Baroness Blackstone was awarded a Doctor of Science (Social Sciences) honoris causa.
Michael Hayman MBE is an entrepreneur, author and campaigner for business. He helped to develop the entrepreneur programme Pitch@Palace founded by HRH The Duke of York and co-founded StartUp Britain, the national initiative for early-stage enterprises. Hayman was awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship in 2014. Michael Hayman MBE was awarded a Doctor of Science (Economics) honoris causa.
Professor Peter Kopelman was Principal of St George’s, University of London (2008–2015). He continues to play a prominent role in NHS and higher education health policy and training, chairing national committees and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty Board. He has a longstanding clinical and research interest in diabetes and obesity. Professor Kopelman has provided strong support for the University of London as member and chair of numerous committees and reviews including higher degrees, and Trustee of its Board (2011–2013). Professor Kopelman was awarded a Doctor of Science (Medicine) honoris causa.
Baroness Usha Prashar of Runnymede CBE, PC is an independent member of the House of Lords and chairs the House of Lords European Union subcommittee on Home Affairs. In 2012 she was appointed Deputy Chairman of the British Council. From 2009–2016 she was the member of the Iraq Inquiry. Her significant previous roles include: Chairman, the Judicial Appointments Commission; First Civil Service Commissioner; Chief Executive, National Council for Voluntary Organisations; Chief Executive, Runnymede Trust. She has chaired a number of voluntary organisations, including the Royal Commonwealth Society. Baroness Prashar was awarded a Doctor of Laws honoris causa.
Charles Perrin CBE Hon. FRCP worked in the City until retiring as Chief Executive of a major Merchant Bank in 1998. During the past 25 years he was successively a Council member and Trustee of the University of London, and Honorary Treasurer of three of its independent member institutions. He has also served as Chairman, Governor or Trustee of a number of medical and other educational institutions, charities and pension funds. Charles Perrin has been admitted to the Fellowship of the University of London as an individual who truly fulfils the criteria for selection: “a person of significant achievement and distinction, who has made an outstanding contribution to the University’s reputation, mission or objects over a period of time”.
Baroness Blackstone, Michael Hayman, Professor Kopelman, Baroness Prashar and Charles Perrin join a growing list of over 550 individuals who have been honoured by the University of London. Over 400 guests attended this year’s ceremony, including staff and students from the 18 independent member institutions of the University.