Edge Hill University will award honorary degrees to ten esteemed figures including actor David Morrissey, Baroness Cathy Ashton, and classical pianist Paul Lewis at its 2016 summer graduation ceremony.
Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.
Vice-Chancellor Dr John Cater said: “Edge Hill University is proud to honour these individuals who have made significant contributions across different fields of accomplishment. We are delighted to recognise David Morrissey who is undoubtedly one of the finest actors of his generation, Former First Vice President of the EU Commission Baroness Cathy Ashton, classical music doyens Paul Lewis and John Rigby, Colin Parry OBE and Wendy Parry OBE who established the Foundation for Peace charity, reputable crime and policing historian Professor Clive Emsley, Vice President of the International Crime Court His Excellency Judge Cuno Tarfusser, and former Pro Vice-Chancellors Rhiannon Evans MBE and Mark Flinn. I very much look forward to next month’s ceremonies and encourage our graduating students, with their lives and careers ahead of them, to follow the lead of our honorary degree recipients by thinking creatively and critically to challenge the status quo.”
Honorary doctorates will be conferred on the following individuals during Edge Hill University’s graduation ceremonies at the Ormskirk campus between Monday 18th and Friday 22nd July, 2016:
BAFTA nominated actor David Morrissey has achieved excellence in the world of film, television and the performing arts. Acknowledged by peers and institutions as one of the finest actors of his generation, his contribution to UK drama, television and film has been exceptional over several decades with performances in ‘Being Human’; ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’; ‘The Deal’; ‘and most recently as The Governor in ‘The Walking Dead’.
David’s continued commitment to his North West roots is evident in his consistent support of Liverpool’s film culture, and his close creative relationship to both the Everyman Theatre where he most recently performed as Macbeth in 2010, and the Unity Theatre of which he is a board member. His passion for nurturing local talent has seen David become a vocal and public commentator on the prospect that working-class talent is being priced out of acting, calling on the creative industries to do more to end their “economic exclusion” and exploitation via a culture of internships
Baroness Cathy Ashton
The Right Honourable Baroness Ashton of Upholland is a British Labour politician who served as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission in the Barroso Commission from 2009 to 2014.
Her political career began in 1999 when she was created a Life Peer as Baroness Ashton of Upholland, of St Albans, by Tony Blair’s Labour Government. She became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills in 2001 and subsequently in the Ministry of Justice in 2004. Ashton became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in June 2007.
She was instrumental in steering the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon through the UK Parliament’s second chamber that saw more checks and balances introduced to the EU system, with stronger powers for the European Parliament and a new role for national parliaments. In 2008, Baroness Ashton was appointed as the British European Commissioner and became the Commissioner for Trade in the European Commission.
In December 2009, she became the inaugural High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy that was created by the Treaty of Lisbon. As High Representative, Baroness Ashton served as the EU’s foreign policy chief, winning praise for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations, in particular for her role in bringing Serbia and Kosovo to an agreement in April 2013 that normalised their ties, and in the P5+1 talks with Iran which led to the November 2013 Geneva interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
Classical pianist Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. His recent cycles of core piano works by Beethoven and Schubert have received unanimous critical and public acclaim worldwide, and consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire.
His numerous awards have included the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, two Edison awards, three Gramophone awards, the Diapason D’or de l’Annee, the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and the South Bank Show Classical Music award. In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Southampton. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Paul’s recital career has seen him perform at venues such as London’s Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Sydney Opera House.
The son of a Liverpool docks worker and a local council officer, Lewis has not forgotten his roots, regularly performing in the North West. In recent years he has been outspoken about reforms to education and library closures in the area. He studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel. Along with his wife, the Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is Artistic Director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK. In October 2015, he was appointed joint Artistic Director of the Leeds International Piano Competition.
His Excellency Judge Cuno Tarfusser
Judge Cuno Tarfusser was appointed to the International Criminal Court in March 2009 Court. As presiding judge of the Pre Trial Chamber II, Tarfusser has overseen high-profile charges including the case against LRA leaders Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti and Okot Odhiambo.
Since September 2015, Tarfusser has been serving as presiding judge in the case of Ahmad al-Faqi, the first individual to face charges of the war crime of damaging mankind’s cultural heritage for attacking historical and religious sites in the Malian city of Timbuktu.
Judge Tarfusser has contributed significantly to Edge Hill University’s Department of Law and Criminology, collaborating on research projects, and delivering key notes speeches as international conferences held by the University.
Colin Parry OBE and Wendy Parry OBE
On 20 March 1993, Colin and Wendy Parry’s 12 year old son, Tim, was killed by an IRA bombing that took place in Warrington. Keen to ensure that their son did not die in vain, Colin and Wendy established the Foundation for Peace charity in 1995.
The Foundation for Peace works with people from all backgrounds to prevent conflict by helping them to develop the skills and understanding to be able to resolve conflict through non-violent means. The Foundation also provides training and guidance to leaders and mangers, including those at government level, on how to deal with past, present and future conflicts.
In March 2000 Colin and Wendy opened the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Centre in Warrington; a safe place where people can learn about non-violent resolution of conflict. Colin and Wendy are passionate about encouraging those involved in or affected by conflict to build meaningful friendships and find the means of working together to eliminate the prejudice and distrust.
Professor Clive Emsley
Emeritus Professor Clive Emsley has supported and indeed been instrumental in the emergence of the history of crime and policing as a significant field of academic study since the 1970s. He was a co-founder and co-director of the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research at the Open University from 2003 until 2009. Professor Emsley was also President of the International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice for twelve years. Although based at the Open University since the 1970s, Professor Emsley has also held visiting posts in universities in Australia, Canada, France and New Zealand.
Professor Emsley’s continued support of Edge Hill has seen him lecture at the University in 2010. As a recognised authority on the subject of crime and policing, Professor Emsley’s publications have been on History reading lists at the University for several decades.
Born in St Helens, acclaimed conductor John Rigby began his career in musical theatre and has been musical director for a long list of prestigious productions. He is Musical Supervisor for The Phantom of the Opera US tour and for Les Misérables in Korea and London, and current conducting projects include Die Fledermaus for Opera Holland Park, Viennese Whirl with the Orchestra of Opera North, Bond & Beyond, Classical Spectacular, Jingle Bell Christmas, the 2017 Johann Strauss Tour, Movie Classics and White Christmas for Raymond Gubbay Ltd, the 2016 Leeds Castle Classical Open Air Concert, Last Night of the Autumn Proms and Summer Classics with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and A Very Merry Mooney Tunes with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
When asked about his personal contribution as a conductor to classical anthems, he said “to try and demystify them in some way and present them in a way that is accessible for people to appreciate, and realise that classical music needn’t be elitist, nor does it need to be dumbed down
Mark Flinn served as an Edge Hill University Pro Vice-Chancellor for 17 years, retiring in July 2009. He first joined Edge Hill in 1992, and was instrumental in the transformation of Edge Hill from a higher education college to the successful University it is today, playing a key role in historic milestones such as gaining taught degree powers, research degree powers and the university title.
Mark co-authored a book about the history of Edge Hill University published in 2010, titled A Vision of Learning. As a result of his lifelong fascination and connection with history, Mark founded the Mark Flinn Scholarship to recognise students who are keen to develop their skills by undertaking a research project which makes extensive use of historical evidence.
Professor Rhiannon Evans
Rhiannon Evans was a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University from 1994 to 2008. Moving to the North West from Brighton in 1979, Professor Evans was a senior lecturer at Wirral Metropolitan College, becoming a Head of Faculty. She set up the first Access to University and Women Returner courses in the area and significantly developed the college’s higher education provision. As a result she has served on numerous national and regional committees.
The work Professor Evans has carried out during her 40-year-long career has helped open up routes for people from non-traditional backgrounds to move into further and higher education. In the 2009 New Year’s Honour List, Professor Evans was awarded an MBE for services to higher education and widening participation.
With a lifelong interest in poetry, she founded the Rhiannon Evans Poetry Scholarship on her retirement to reward and celebrate students who display promise as creative writers.