University of Leeds announces list of honorary degrees including Alison Lowe OBE
After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, honorary degree ceremonies return to the University of Leeds to celebrate the success of key personalities.
Alongside undergraduate students receiving their diplomas during the graduation fortnight, beginning Monday, July 11, eight individuals will be honored with one of higher education’s most prestigious awards, in the Great Hall of the University.
This year’s honorary graduates are:
Alison Lowe, Doctor of Laws
Leeds alumnus Alison Lowe OBE recently stepped down after a 29-year term as a labor councilor for Armley – a seat she took aged 25 as the first black female councilor on the city council of Leeds. She is the former CEO of Touchstone, undertaking vital advocacy work for individuals and communities.
Alison’s personal commitment to standing up for marginalized people and promoting the importance of frank and open discussion about mental health extends to her professional commitments. Under his leadership, Touchstone has received numerous accolades for its inclusiveness in the workplace. Ms Lowe is currently Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire for Policing and Crime.
Nina Gualinga, Doctor of Laws
A young indigenous leader of the Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Nina Gualinga has become one of the most internationally recognized young activists in the South, involved in the movement against climate change and the destruction of the environment.
She has been an advocate for indigenous rights and climate justice since childhood, and has notably been involved in the fight to protect indigenous lands in the Ecuadorian Amazon from the ravages of oil extraction. Nina received the World Wildlife Fund President’s International Youth Award in 2018.
Mark Tucker, Doctor of Laws
Since graduating in Textile Management at Leeds, Mark Tucker has enjoyed distinguished careers in insurance and the financial sector. Following various management positions at Prudential plc, he was appointed Chairman and Group Chief Executive of AIA Group Limited in Hong Kong, where he won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in revolutionizing the industries of life insurance and asset management in Asia.
Mark sat on the Court of the Bank of England from 2009 to 2012, where he was a member of its Financial Stability and Audit and Risk Committees following the worst financial crisis in a generation. He is now Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings plc.
Lady Hale is the former Chief Justice of the United Kingdom, the only woman to hold that position. She was the first and youngest woman to be appointed Commissioner of Laws and, as a judge, has played a major role in the revision of laws relating to children, domestic violence, mental health and, recently, to the fundamental principles of constitutional law.
Lady Hale was a steadfast and determined advocate for diversity, equal opportunity and access for all, and a champion of women’s rights, displaying a profound humanity alongside her formidable intellect, his integrity and courage.
Lady Hale was also welcomed into the University’s Great Hall in 2019, when she gave the Alice Bacon Public Lecture – a series honoring the achievements of the pioneering Yorkshire MP.
David Gray, Doctor of Laws
David Gray worked as a partner for Hepworth and Chadwick in Leeds between 1982 and 2000 (renamed Eversheds in 1997). He assumed a full-time management role as Managing Partner of Eversheds North in 2000 and in 2003 was appointed Managing Partner and Managing Director of Eversheds.
David became Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council – the University’s governing body – on August 1, 2013, a role he will step down from this summer.
Eleanor Dodson, Doctor of Science
Eleanor Dobson FRS is a computational biologist specializing in the study of protein structures using X-ray crystallography and Emeritus Professor at the University of York. A highly skilled mathematician, she realized that only computer techniques could solve complex mathematical problems on a routine basis.
Ahead of her time, Eleanor was instrumental in developing the standardization of computational analysis methods in a programming suite (Collaborative Computing Project Number 4), which is still used by structural biologists around the world.
Rachel Skinner, Doctor of Laws
After completing a postgraduate degree in transport planning and engineering at Leeds, Rachel Skinner CBE is now an executive director at WSP, where she leads ESG and government relations, having previously led its transport business. In 2020-2021, she served as the 156th President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and is a patron of Women in Transport (a non-profit organization), of which she has been a founding member since 2005.
Rachel chairs the Carbon strand of the Infrastructure Client Group and served two years as Infrastructure Commissioner for Scotland from late 2018. She was awarded a CBE for Infrastructure Services in the Honors List of the New Year 2022 and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. .
Gillian Leng, Doctor of Science
Former Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Services at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Gillian Leng CBE graduated from Leeds with a medical degree in 1987. Throughout an illustrious career, she has demonstrates an ongoing commitment to patient effectiveness. -targeted services and quality improvement.
Gillian was instrumental in founding the Cochrane Collaboration, designed to organize medical research to facilitate evidence-based choices about health interventions, and her career has spanned a wide range of sectors including health public at large, health care, education and social services.