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Royal Holloway presents honorary awards

Royal Holloway presents honorary awards

  • Date10 October 2022

This summer, Royal Holloway, University of London, awarded three new Honorary Doctorates and four new Honorary Fellowships.

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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.

The three Honorary Doctorates include Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Richard Deverell and Gina Miller.

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Royal Holloway for her achievements in the voluntary and public sectors, her leadership in higher education and her passionate advocacy for landscape, conservation and historical geography. Dame Fiona started her career working for the Council (now Campaign) for National Parks. There, she learnt how to lobby politicians and influential organisations about conservation. Latest she moved on to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England where she rose to the position of Chief Executive and then made the leap from the voluntary sector to central government, joining the Cabinet Office as Director of the Women’s Unit in 1998. Later, Dame Fiona’s dream job at the National Trust arose, and in 2001 she became the first female Director General of the organisation. Through her stewardship, she navigated the charity to success. During her 12-year tenure, she grew the membership from 2.7m to 4m people, thanks in no small part to her transformation of the Trust into a warm and welcoming, family-friendly organisation, championing ‘open arms conservation’ and raising the profile of the Trust’s work in the countryside.

Richard Deverell, Director at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Royal Holloway for his outstanding achievements in improving public engagement and education. Richard had a career in management consultancy before joining the BBC. There he worked across the corporation, in BBC News during its early move into online activity, and as Head of BBC Children’s, overseeing the CBBC and CBeebies services Richard had been a Trustee at Kew for six years and understood the problems and challenges it was encountering as it sought to define its role in the 21st century in the face of climate change, a rising global population, biodiversity loss, and land use change.

Gina Miller has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science (Social Sciences) by Royal Holloway for her outstanding achievements as an entrepreneur, business owner, transparency campaigner, and activist. Gina had already achieved notable success as a business owner and campaigner when in 2016, she took the UK Government to court over Brexit and won. Gina was named by Powerlist as the ‘UK's most influential black person’, and in 2018, she published her memoir Rise: Life Lessons in Speaking Out, Standing Tall and Leading the Way. At the beginning of 2022, Gina launched a new political party – the True & Fair Party with the strapline ‘we all deserve better, which is aiming to clean up politics, modernise democracy and fight corruption.

Earlier this year, Caroline Willbourne, Jeremy McIlroy, Julia Desbruslais MBE and Dr Mark Nesbitt were awarded Honorary Fellowships which were conferred at this year’s ceremony held at the university on 8 June 2022.

Caroline Willbourne has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of her distinguished career in family law and her longstanding support for the university as a member of the Bedford Society Committee, as well as a role-model to the university’s students.

Jeremy McIlroy has been awarded in recognition of his extensive involvement in the life of the university in his capacity as a member of the Royal Holloway Council – the governing body of Royal Holloway, and Chair of the Finance Committee, and his significant contribution to the success of the university. Jeremy spent 35 years in accountancy practice and was a partner at Ernst and Young in London for 20 years.

Julia Desbruslais MBE has been recognised for her longstanding partnership with Royal Holloway in her capacity as Executive Director of the London Mozart Players – which has greatly benefitted many of the university’s orchestral scholars. Julia has recently been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022 for her services to music.

Dr Mark Nesbitt has been honoured in recognition of his distinguished career as a leading ethnobotanist, Senior Research Leader for Interdisciplinary Research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

His contribution to Royal Holloway through collaboration with colleagues from the School of Life Sciences and the Environment, and his role as a co-supervisor and advisor to PhD students, has been of significant value to the university’s community.



Those pictured as follows:

Back row: David Hannaby (Alumni Relations Manager/Mace Bearer), His Honour Christopher Critchlow, DL (High Sheriff of Surrey), Michael More-Molyneux (HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey), Professor Paul Layzell, CBE, DL (Former Principal), The Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge DBE (Chair of Council), The Rt Hon Lady Arden of Heswall DBE (College Visitor) and Cllr Margaret Harnden (Mayor of Runnymede).

Middle Row: Dr David Ashton (Former Deputy Principal, Operations/Master of Ceremonies), Professor Matthew Humphreys (Executive Dean, School of Law and Social Sciences/Orator for Caroline Willbourne), Nick Perryman (Vice Chair of Council/Orator for Jeremy McIlroy), Professor Danielle Schreve (Head of Department of Geography/Orator for Dr Mark Nesbitt), Dr Mark Berry (Head of Department of Music/Orator for Julia Desbruslais) and Maia Jarvis (Vice President Education/Students’ Union Representative).

Front row: Caroline Willbourne (Hon Fellow), Jeremy McIlroy (Hon Fellow), Dr Mark Nesbitt (Hon Fellow) and Julia Desbruslais (Hon Fellow).

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