Edge Hill University awarded Honorary Doctorates to ten esteemed figures including actor David Morrissey, peace campaigners Colin and Wendy Parry, and classical pianist Paul Lewis at its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies.

Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – were recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.

The collection of videos included here contain both interviews conducted after the ceremony, and the complete acceptance speeches captured during the ceremonies themselves.

Further videos will be uploaded as soon as they’re available.

David Morrissey

BAFTA nominated actor David Morrissey was recognised for his ongoing contribution to UK drama, television and film by being awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University.

Acknowledged by peers and institutions as one of the finest actors of his generation, David has achieved excellence in the world of film, television and the performing arts. His standout performances include Being Human, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Deal, and most recently in his iconic role 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 talent has also 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

David’s acting career started at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised. He made his debut in the 1983 series One Summer about two Liverpool runaways. Following a degree at RADA, he worked with the theatre company Cheek By Jowl.

As prolific and versatile as ever, in the past year David has performed in the film, The Ones Below, in the television series The Missing and wowed audiences on the London stage as Harry in dramatist Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen.

Classical pianist Paul Lewis CBE

Internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation, classical pianist Paul Lewis received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Edge Hill University at a ceremony held on the campus.

Recently appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Paul has consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire.

The son of a Liverpool docks worker and a local council officer, Paul has not forgotten his roots, regularly performing in the North West. It was here as a young man, Paul supplemented his self-taught hours at the keyboard by eagerly borrowing vinyl recordings of pianists such as Kempf and Brendel from his local library. In recent years he has been outspoken about reforms to education and the consequences of library closures in the area.

Paul studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel.  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. 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.

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.

Conductor John Rigby

St Helens-born conductor John Rigby was awarded Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University in July 2016.

The acclaimed conductor began his career in musical theatre and has been musical director for a long list of prestigious productions. He is currently the Musical Supervisor for The Phantom of the Opera US tour and for Les Misérables in London and Korea.

John’s formidable list of current 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”.

Colin Parry OBE and Wendy Parry OBE

Colin and Wendy Parry were awarded with Honorary Doctors of Education by Edge Hill University for their efforts in promoting peace and community education in the wake of a family tragedy.

On 20 March 1993, Colin and Wendy’s 12 year old son, Tim was involved in an IRA bombing attack in Warrington, and died four days later. 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.


His Excellency Judge Cuno Tarfusser

International Criminal Court judge His Excellency Judge Cuno Tarfusser was recognised for his ongoing contribution to Edge Hill University’s Department of Law by being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.

Judge Tarfusser has contributed significantly to Edge Hill University’s Department of Law and Criminology, collaborating on research projects, and delivering key notes speeches at international conferences held by the University.

He was appointed to the International Criminal Court in 2009 as a presiding judge of the Pre Trial Chamber II, he has overseen many high-profile cases.  These include issuing a number of arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, the Sudanese President Bashir for genocide, and Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif-al Islam and the Head of the Libyan Secret Services for crimes against humanity.  He also confirmed the charges against Jean Pierre Bemba, the Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Congo for crimes against humanity.

In addition to his court work, Judge Tarfusser lectures and presents widely at conferences, workshops and seminars in Italy and abroad to share his expertise on issues of court management and international criminal law.  His decisions are regularly cited and discussed by academic scholars and practitioners in international criminal justice, criminal law, public international law and human rights.

He hopes to continue to share his expertise when his term of office at the ICC completes in 2018.  Judge Tarfusser says that he has been privileged throughout his career with the opportunities he has had, and that in this way he can give back to society and especially to young people with whom he has a strong connection.