Skip to main content

Royal Holloway presents honorary awards

Royal Holloway presents honorary awards

  • Date12 October 2021

This summer, Royal Holloway, University of London, awarded six new Honorary Fellowships and nine new Honorary Doctorates. Royal Holloway bestows honorary awards in recognition of outstanding contributions to the life and work of the university, or to the wider cause of education. For more information on the recipients, see below.

Dr Brian May and Denis Pellerin

This year Royal Holloway conferred titles on six Honorary Fellows including, Stephen Cox CVO, James Dixon, Vanessa Kingori MBE, Dr Brian May CBE, Alderman Dr Sir Andrew Parmley and Fiona Wilkinson.

Stephen Cox CVO was originally from Lancashire, he went to Blackburn Grammar School followed by a scholarship to Atlantic College in South Wales. He spent a year with VSO teaching in Bolivia before studying Geography at Birmingham University, followed by an MA at Sussex University. He then joined the Overseas Service of the British Council working in Poland, Ghana, and London and in the British Embassy in Washington DC. He moved from there to the Royal Society to run its international science programmes.

Stephen Cox was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Royal Holloway in recognition of his extensive service to the university during the time he spent as Chair of Council, from 2011 to 2018.

James Dixon is a founder member of the professional body, the VAT Practioners Group, he was also an early champion for the use of Expert Systems. After retirement, he became the first Honorary Treasurer of the Prisoners’ Education Trust, before enrolling at Royal Holloway as a mature student and writing a biography of his ancestor, the educational reformer, George Dixon MP.

In the process, he discovered that another relative, Christiana Herringham, had been one of Bedford College’s major benefactors a century ago, and he subsequently established a scholarship fund for MA students.

The honour was awarded to James in recognition of his involvement with and contributions to the Department of History and his work to establish the Herringham Scholarships at Royal Holloway.

Vanessa Kingori MBE is a multi-award winning businesswoman, youth advocate, diversity proponent and mother who studied management and sociology at Royal Holloway, graduating in 2001.

Vanessa is the former publishing director of British Vogue and has become the Chief Business Officer at Conde Nast Britain and Vogue European Business adviser. Her appointment to the role of Publishing Director of British Vogue in 2017 made history, becoming the first female business lead in its 105 year history as well as Conde Nast’s first and only black publisher. Her roles involve an emphasis on diversity of perspective, social responsibility and female empowerment.

Dr Brian May CBE is a founding member of Queen, a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer. He also works in both astrophysics and stereoscopy, often combining the two interests. He postponed a career in astronomy when Queen's popularity first exploded, but, after an incendiary 30 years as a rock musician, he returned to astrophysics in 2006 when he completed his PhD, and co-authored his first book, Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, with Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott.  

In recent years Dr Brian May has joined several NASA teams contributing stereoscopic imaging to their missions. He now heads up his own fine arts publishing house; The London Stereoscopic Company (LSC), dedicated exclusively to stereoscopic works. Every book comes complete with an OWL stereoscopic viewer, so readers can enjoy the illustrations in full depth.  

Combining his extraordinary collection with his curator and co-author Denis Pellerin’s exceptional knowledge of the history of stereoscopy, Brian has been instrumental in bringing this unique art form to a modern audience. Through his talks at Royal Holloway, and collaboration with the university’s art collections team, he has helped to inspire the next generation of enthusiasts and experts.

Sir Andrew Parmley was elected as the 689th Lord Mayor of London for the year 2016/17 and was knighted in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list for services to music, education and civic engagement. Born in Manchester, Sir Andrew was educated at Blackpool Grammar School, the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Holloway College and Jesus College, Cambridge.

Andrew was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his significant contribution to music and education in the UK, his ongoing support for the Department of Music, and his civic engagement.

Fiona Wilkinson was the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) for 2019/20 and was only the third female to hold that role.

Fiona was the first of her family to go to university when she arrived at Royal Holloway in 1972 to read French with Italian.

Fiona knew that she wanted a professional career so she entered into a training contract with Deloitte and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1980. She is a passionate believer in diversity and inclusion and for the need for boards to be diverse in order to avoid ‘group think’.


This year Honorary Degrees were awarded to, Margaret Busby OBE, Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton Elliot Gleave, Gareth Griffith, Professor Jacqueline Hunter CBE, Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Dr Ravi Mehrota CBE, Denis Pellerin and Dr Rupert Whitaker.

Margaret Busby CBE was born in Ghana and educated in Britain. She was Britain’s’ youngest and first Black female publisher when in the 1960s she co-founded the publishing house ‘Allison and Busby’, of which she was Editorial Director for 20 years, overseeing an international list of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Margaret was awarded a Degree of Doctor of Literature, for her achievements as an acclaimed publisher, broadcaster, playwright and critic. She is also an alumna of Bedford College – one of Royal Holloway’s founding colleges.

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer in West Sussex and one of the most senior female firefighters in the UK, has been awarded a Degree of Doctor of Science, in recognition for her achievements in her field as a behavioural neuroscientist and fire service leader.

Elliot Gleave, better known by his stage name Example, was awarded a Degree of Doctor of Music in recognition of his achievements as a singer, songwriter and record producer.

Elliot is Royal Holloway alumnus; graduating with a degree from media arts, he then went on to make props for the Star Wars prequels. He is a multi-award winning musician, producer, actor and film-maker. Better known as ‘Example’, a nickname taken from his initials, EG, he has earned worldwide musical success for his rap, hip hop and dance music.

Gareth Griffith studied mathematics and computer science at Royal Holloway, graduating with first class honours in 1984. He has founded and run several successful software companies in fields ranging from film special effects (developing software used in hundreds of movies beginning with Jurassic Park in 1992) through television to sports data analysis.

Jackie Hunter is a Board Director of Benevolent AI, a company that uses artificial intelligence to augment the research capabilities of its drug scientists so that they can give new insights to increase the efficiency of medicines development.

Jackie has over 30 years’ experience in the bioscience research sector. Following her studies at Bedford College, where she was awarded a PhD, she worked across academia and industry including leading neurology and gastrointestinal drug discovery and early clinical development for GlaxoSmithKline.

Amanda Mackenzie OBE is the Chief Executive of Business in the Community; The Prince’s Responsible Business Network. Lloyd’s Banking Group non-executive director and Chair of their Responsible Business Committee. Advisory board member of the Impact Investment Institute. Previously Amanda was a member of Aviva’s Group Executive for eight years as CCMO and joined Aviva to change the name from Norwich Union. In her final 18 months Amanda was on loan from Aviva to Project Everyone, a Richard Curtis inspired campaign for the UN launching the Sustainable Development Goals. She was on the board of the National Youth Orchestra for 10 years and was a member of Lord Davies steering group to increase the number of women on boards.

Amanda is a Royal Holloway and Bedford College alumna. When Royal Holloway and Bedford College merged, it enabled Amanda, who is a keen musician and singer, to read music as part of her degree in psychology.

Dr Ravi K Mehrotra is Founder and Executive Chairman of the Foresight Group International Limited. A marine engineer by profession, he began his career in 1964 with the Shipping Corporation of India. Through hard work and dedication, he rose to the rank of Chief Engineer and was seconded as Managing Director for the company’s international joint ventures. It was through these experiences that he earned the international connections that enabled him to realise his ambitions of running his own shipping company, the Foresight Group, in 1984.

Throughout his long career he has demonstrated the quality that lends its name to the Group, carefully navigating group companies to new opportunities and ensuring the business is equipped with the skills, assets and talent to secure its future for generations to come.

Denis Pellerin is a photo-historian with a passion for stereo photography. He has been researching and learning about the history of stereoscopy for nearly 40 years. During his 30th year as a teacher, Denis worked with Dr Brian May before being hired as the curator of Dr May’s extensive photographic college and together they have co-authored four books and they are working on more publications that show the various activities of the London Stereoscopic Company.

In November 2018, Denis and Dr Brian May visited Royal Holloway to give a talk on 3D photography, using both Dr May’s collection and examples borrowed from the collections of Royal Holloway. Denis has since collaborated with the Department of History at the university, on a workshop on stereoscopic photography.

Dr Rupert Whitaker, co-founder of the Terrence Higgins Trust – Europe’s first and now leading HIV-charity was made an Honorary Doctor of Science for being a tenacious advocate for people with HIV and other chronic conditions.

Rupert graduated from Bedford College in 1984 with a degree in psychology.

Related topics

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our academic departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.