Abdul Bhanji (Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees), alumni Robert Michael Gilbert (non-executive board member of the government’s Intellectual Property Office) and Professor A. C. Grayling (founder and Master of the New College of the Humanities), Paul Bennett and James Fox (both former University of London Boat Club rowers and Rio 2016 Olympiads) have been recognised in the 2017 New Year’s Honours.
Abdul Bhanji, honoured for his services to Education and Young People, is a longstanding and highly valued member of a number of committees of the University. For the past 8 years has made invaluable contributions and has given wise council in his capacity as Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees. His educational involvements also include being a member of the Development Board of SOAS, former Chairman of the Aga Khan Foundation (UK) National Committee, a former Trustee of the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts and a past member of the former Further Education Funding Council for Greater London. Abdul is a leading member of the UK business community and contributes regularly to debates, discussions and issues that affect UK businesses.
Prof A. C. Grayling, honoured for his services to Philosophy, is a British philosopher and founder and Master of the New College of the Humanities. He completed his BA in Philosophy from the University of London External Programmes in 1975. Previous roles include Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, where he taught from 1991. Prof Grayling is a Trustee of the London Library, Fellow of the World Economic Forum, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Robert Michael Gilbert, honoured for his services to the Legal Profession and the Economy, completed his LLB in 1969 with the University of London External Programmes. He is a corporate lawyer who, for 30 years until his retirement from private practice, was a partner and latterly Deputy Senior Partner of Wragge & Co, now Wragge Lawrence Graham, the International Law Firm. He has held many non-executive appointments as chairman of both privately and publicly quoted companies as well as chairing bodies in the public sector.
Paul Bennett, honoured for services to rowing, is a former University of London Boat Club (ULBC) rower. Paul enjoyed a memorable Olympic debut as he added Rio 2016 gold to the back-to-back World Championship titles he had won with the men’s eight. He is an Oxford Blue and is in his fourth season with the senior squad, having made his GB Rowing Team debut in the first international race of the Rio Olympiad.
James Fox, honoured for services to rowing, is a former University of London Boat Club (ULBC) rower. James completed a golden Paralympiad with the GB Rowing Team LTA mixed coxed four at Rio 2016 after following up three successive World Championship titles with gold on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. He is a keen sportsman, who represented GB as a junior in the Coupe de la Jeunesse, is currently unbeaten during an outstanding senior para-rowing career.
A total 1,197 people received an award this year. The Honours list is put together by nine independent committees set up by the Cabinet Office.