Olympic Legend awarded Honorary degree
20 July 2011
Roger has a close association with the University and did his weight training at the gym on campus before his Olympic Games successes.
During his athletics career, he won individual silver medals in the 400 metres sprint at both the Olympic Games and World Championships, two individual gold medals at the European Championships, and 4x400 metres relay gold medals at both the World and European Championships. He was British Men's Team Captain and was awarded the MBE in 1992
Since retiring from athletics, he has worked as a television presenter and motivational speaker. Roger, who now lives in Guildford received his honorary degree at ceremony at Guildford Cathedral.
He said: “It’s a great honour. The University has played a great part in my success and I am pleased to continue our good relationship.
“The Surrey Sports Park is phenomenal. It’s just a fantastic facility and of great benefit both to local people and the university. The fact that Olympic teams will be use it prior to the next Olympics is just great too.”
Other people given the honour this week include Professor Sir Michael Aaronson, who has gained 35 years of practical experience of public and international affairs, initially as a humanitarian relief worker in Eastern Nigeria, then going on to work as a diplomat and then for the Save the Children UK charity from which he retired as chief executive in 2005.
He now holds a number of senior non-executive and advisory appointments in the not-for-profit sector and is a member of the Politics Department being a co-director of the Centre for International Intervention (cii).
Professor Aaronson said: “It is a great privilege to receive this award and to share the graduation ceremony with our students who have worked so hard for their degrees.
“I am proud to be associated with the University of Surrey; it is a university that cares for its students, makes great efforts to connect with the world of work, and works internationally, not just in the UK. My own background has convinced me of the importance of stronger linkages between academics and practitioners, and I am glad I now have the chance, through cii, to help to bring that about.”
Lady Diana Kerr, who graduated from Surrey in 1971 in German and European studies, has also been given an honorary award.
She became a member of University Council in 1997 and is currently Vice-President of the British-German Jurists Association. She has an international reputation in juristic circles and is a Freeman of the City of London Solicitors Company.
Guitarist John Williams, who enjoys considerable international success, was also awarded an honorary degree. He was taught by his father and then studied at the Royal College of Music. He currently records for SONY Classical and his duo with Richard Harvey has seen them travel throughout the UK, Europe and the Far East with their ‘World Tour’ programme.
In 2007 he was presented with an Edison lifetime achievement award. He has been closely involved with the University’s for the last eight years, visiting the music department many times.
Legal scholar Professor John Sexton, who is the 15th President of New York University, has been similarly honoured. He is Chair of the Board for the New York Academy of Sciences and of the Independent Colleges and Universities of New York. He serves as Co-chair of the UK/ US study group and recently invited Surrey to meetings of this group.
From industry, Dr Graham Spittle, Vice-President Software for UK, Ireland and South Africa with IBM, has also been granted an honorary degree.
He joined IBM in 1985 at the Hursley Laboratory in Hampshire and has lectured on Software Contracting and Intellectual Property. He was awarded the CBE for Services to Industry in 2008. He has made a significant contribution to the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s national innovation agency and has had an immensely positive impact on the Higher Education sector.