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19 July 2012
Four alumni among the University’s 2012 Honorary graduates

The University has conferred honorary degrees on 12 people in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the arts, academia, business, public service, sport, charity and the community.

The four alumni are former Students’ Union President and President of University Council Keith Hamill OBE (Politics 1974), former lay member of Council and SU trustee Ann Greenwood (Biochemistry/Chemistry 1976), Chief executive of national Grid plc Steve Holliday (Mining Engineering 1978) and Charity Commission Board Member and a Public Appointments Assessor John Knight CBE JP (Zoology 1982).

They were part of the celebrations as this year’s graduating students became alumni of the University — joining a global family of more than 200,000.

Among the other  outstanding individuals receiving honorary degrees were bestselling author Robert Harris, Nottinghamshire’s only Michelin Star chef Sat Bains, senior UN figure Baroness Amos, Actress June Spencer OBE, who has played the character ‘Peggy’ in the long-running radio series The Archers for 61 years, journalist and author Robert Harris, distinguished scientist Professor Alexander MacKenzie Johnston OBE, former Labour city councillor and Lord Mayor of Nottingham Desmond Wilson, architect Graham Cartledge CBE and ar chitectural photographer Martine Hamilton-Knight.

Keith Hamill OBE graduated from The University of Nottingham in 1974 in Politics, and was President of the Students Union from 1974-75.  During a period of exceptional growth and development for the University, he was President of Council (its governing body) from 2003 to 2011 and Treasurer and Chair of Finance Committee from 1988 to 2003. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, having trained with Price Waterhouse, where he became a Partner. He then became Director of Financial Control of Guinness and was subsequently Chief Financial Officer of United Distillers, Forte and WH Smith.


He then went on to have an extensive career as Chairman and Non-Executive Director of public and private equity companies in the UK and internationally. These roles have included being Chairman of Travelodge, the airline Go, and Tullett Prebon (financial instruments broker), Collins Stewart (stockbroker), Moss Bros and businesses in insurance broking, fund management and leisure, as well as being a Non-Executive Director of Samsonite, Electrocomponents and easyJet. Keith Hamill was awarded  the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa on July 11th.

Ann Greenwood stayed on in Nottingham to train as a Chartered Accountant qualifying in 1979, and became an associate of the Institute of Taxation in 1981. In 1987 Ann moved to her current position as Financial Director with Campbell Scientific Ltd, the European headquarters of a US company. Ann was a lay member of the Council of The University of Nottingham (1999-2011) serving on a number of its committees and chairing the audit committee from 2009 to 2011.

She is still actively involved with the University as a trustee of the Student Union and undertakes other voluntary work with the Nottingham Workplace Chaplaincy and Young Enterprise. Recently Ann was appointed as chair of audit for Principia Rushcliffe, one of the newly-created NHS clinical commissioning groups. Ann Greenwood was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa on July 11th.

Steve Holliday has been Chief Executive of National Grid plc since 2006, and a Non-Executive Director of Marks & Spencer plc since 2004. He is also chairman of the board of trustees at the charity Crisis. He joined National Grid Group in March 2001. Prior to joining National Grid he was on the Board of British Borneo Oil and Gas. His early career was with Exxon, holding senior roles in refining, shipping and international gas.

Steve is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers. He volunteers his time to lead a number of skills, STEM and sustainable energy related activities for Business in the Community and chairs the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy. He is currently chairman of The Technicians Council.

Steve also chairs the Young Offender Programme, led by National Grid, which in 2011 marked 2,000 offenders through the Programme. Steve Holliday was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa on July 13th.

John Knight CBE JP has had a 25-year career across the statutory and voluntary sectors. After graduating from the University in 1982, he worked at the Department of Health. Subsequently he headed the respected Policy and Campaigns Department at Leonard Cheshire Disability for 16 years, becoming a Director of the charity. He advised and lobbied governments on the development of disability and social policy and was a member of Advisory Bodies to the Ministers for Disabled People and Civil Society.

Currently he is a Board Member of the Charity Commission and a Public Appointments Assessor, chairing competitions for Chairs of national public bodies. A founding member of the influential Voluntary Organisations Disability Group and once a Trustee of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, he has previously held Board level positions on national regulatory agencies — the Commission for Social Care Inspection and General Social Care Council. John Knight was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa on 18th July.


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