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Foundation lecture and honorary degrees mark tenth anniversary

22 Oct 2014

Falklands War veteran Simon Weston, author and screenwriter Professor Jeanette Winterson and scientist and academic leader Professor Dame Julia King will be awarded honorary degrees at The University of Manchester today (Wednesday).

Honorary degrees will be awarded at the University's Foundation Day
Honorary degrees will be awarded at the University's Foundation Day

The degree ceremony forms part of the University’s Foundation Day celebrations   which this year mark the tenth anniversary of the bringing together of the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

The formal creation of The University of Manchester took place on Friday, 22 October 2004, when Her Majesty the Queen visited the campus to present the institution with its new Royal Charter.

Each year, this important date in the University’s calendar is marked by the delivery of the Foundation Day lecture, which this year will be given by Jeanette Winterson. Prior to the lecture, the following short film will be shown to celebrate the tenth anniversary. The Foundation Day lecture will be followed by the conferment of honorary degrees on the three remarkable and distinguished individuals.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “The creation of The University of Manchester, with a history dating back to the formation of the Manchester Mechanics Institute in 1824 and Owens College founded in 1851, has been hailed as one of the boldest and most ambitious initiatives in UK higher education.

“Today’s Foundation Day is a celebration of our illustrious heritage, the impressive progress we have made since 2004 which is thanks, in no small part, to the dedication of our talented staff and students, as well as our ambitious plans for the future. We will also celebrate the remarkable achievements of our three honorary 2014 graduates, Jeanette Winterson, Julia King and Simon Weston.”

Manchester-born Professor Jeanette Winterson OBE is Professor of Creative Writing at The University of Manchester. She published her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, in 1985 and her BBC television adaptation won her a BAFTA for Best Drama and the Prix d’Argent at the Cannes Film Festival. She has won numerous prizes for her work, here and abroad, and her fiction is published in more than 20 countries.

Professor Dame Julia King DBE has had an illustrious career in both academia and industry and currently advises the government as a member of the Committee on Climate Change, the Science and Technology Honours Committee and the Airports Commission. She became Vice-Chancellor of Aston University in 2006 and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Simon Weston OBE was on board HMS Sir Galahad when it was hit and destroyed by a missile in Bluff Cove on the Falkland Islands in 1982. The Welsh Guardsman suffered major burns in the resulting fire and his heroic struggle to overcome his terrible injuries – both physical and mental – became a national source of pride and inspiration. Among his many charitable endeavours, Simon is an ambassador for the Healing Foundation, which helps fund a research centre within the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

Notes for editors

Interview and filming requests can be made through the University’s press office.

The tenth anniversary film, to be shown during the Foundation Day lecture, will be available for the media to use from 5pm on Wednesday, 22 October. A link to download the film tomorrow will be sent on request.

Media enquiries to:

Aeron Haworth
Senior Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8387
Mob: 07717 881563
Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk