“At the University of Bolton, we take great pride in providing a quality, supportive learning environment for our students.”
Professor George E Holmes DL | President & Vice Chancellor
“...tutors are very supportive and you’re not just a student ID number, at this university you are an individual with a name.”
Ellisse Vernon | BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
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Proud families and friends flocked to watch successful students receive their degrees in a celebration by the University of Bolton.
More than 1,000 students were presented over the four days of graduation ceremonies at the Albert Halls in the magnificent Bolton Town Hall.
The university’s Chancellor, the Earl of St Andrews, conferred degrees on the first two days.
Prof George E Holmes DL, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said he was proud of the students’ achievements.
He said: “This week is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work on behalf of the students and staff at the university.
“We put the students at the heart of everything we do at this university, and that has been backed up by the University of Bolton being named for the third year running as number one in Greater Manchester in the annual National Student Survey.”
He added: “We are also delighted to award honorary doctorates to a variety of distinguished guests who have all been outstanding in their own particular field of expertise.”
Bolton’s special Olympics golden girl Kiera Byland received a special honour.
Cyclist Kiera, aged 21, won three gold medals at the summer games in Abu Dhabi, was presented with an award of distinction for her outstanding achievement in sports and at the Special Olympics by the Earl of St Andrews.
She received her award watched by mum Jacqui, dad Brian and her 88-year-old nana Sigried Greenwood.
Kiera said: “It was lovely to receive such recognition at such an important ceremony. I can’t thank Bolton College and the University of Bolton enough.”
Kiera, who has a learning disability, is a triple gold medallist for Team GB at the Special Olympics, and a double World and European champion at INAS (International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability).
Throughout the week, honorary doctorates were presented to distinguished guests who had made outstanding contributions in many areas.
Bill Dawson, Director of the university’s Institute of Management, was made a Doctor of the University for his outstanding contribution to the community.
Bill, who is also a Trustee of the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust which runs projects for disadvantaged groups across the town, has been prominent in the UK’s accounting and finance industry for more than 30 years.
He played a key part in successfully developing and leading the University of Bolton’s Institute of Management (IoM) and worked hard behind the scenes to implement the merger between Bolton College and the university last summer.
He also led the transaction bringing The Anderton Centre into the University Group, is Chair of the Anderton Board of Trustees and a Trustee Board member of Alliance Learning.
After receiving his honorary doctorate, he said: “This really means a lot to me, and it is thanks to the support I have received from my family and all the people in the various charities and organisations I am involved with.”
And Rohan Pallewatta, aged 52, who could be the next president of Sri Lanka by Christmas, was awarded Doctor of Engineering for his outstanding contribution to engineering – and then serenaded the audience with his own rendition of a Simon and Garfunkel song.
He took out his acoustic guitar and performed ‘Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall ‘. Rohan is Sri Lanka’s Social Democratic Party Presidential candidate and will stand for election in early December. He is also Executive Chairman of Lanka Harness, a start-up company operating in Sri Lanka, which supplies the triggers for airbags to many leading car firms across the world.
He said: “I am very proud to receive this award from the University of Bolton, it is a great honour. I love to play the guitar before I speak as I feel it engages the audience in a better way.”
Other honorary doctorate awards included:
• The Right Hon Sir John Hayes CBE MP – Doctor of Education for his outstanding contribution to education. Sir John has held five ministerial positions and six shadow ministerial positions and is a prominent backbencher, campaigning on numerous issues.
• Sir John Sorrell CBE – Doctor of Education for his outstanding contribution to education. He has championed the UK’s creative industries for more than 50 years and is co-founder and President of London Design Biennale and co-founder and Chairman of London Design Festival, now in its 17th year. He is an advisor to the Mayor of London on Brexit and the creative sector.
• Andrew Cowan – Doctor of Business Administration for his outstanding contribution to business and industrial development. Andrew joined Manchester Airport Group in 2013 as Chief Operating Officer and in 2017 became Chief Executive of Manchester. Andrew studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Bolton Institute, today the University of Bolton.
• Elena Ambrosiadou – Doctor of Business Administration for her outstanding contribution to business administration. Elena is one of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers and CEO of IKOS Partners; a specialist in global quantitative trading.
• Professor Patrick Trodden – Doctor of Education for his outstanding contribution to education. Patrick is a leading authority on food and wine, and he has worked at a number of prestigious hotels. He also spent time working in the royal household. During his career, Patrick has educated many UK-based and international hoteliers, chefs and restaurant managers and he regularly wrote for The Bolton News, as well as other publications and books.
• Professor Nawal Prinja – Doctor of Engineering for his outstanding contribution to the energy industry. An expert in his field, Nawal is the Technology Director of Wood plc (Nuclear). He is active in promoting and encouraging work and research in his area of expertise and was appointed as an advisor to the UK Government to help formulate their long-term R&D strategy for the nuclear industry.
• Rolf Richterich – Doctor of Engineering for his outstanding contributions to engineering. Rolf has devoted his career to Mechanical Engineering, Business Administration and Management. During his time at the University of Integrated Studies in Horb, Germany, he visited Bury and Bolton to start the discussion on local schemes for foreign students studying in the UK. He later joining the faculty of Engineering at the University of Bolton and now holds the role of Master of Business Administration Programme Manager at The University of Bolton. • Mr Peter Cowgill – Doctor of Business Administration for his outstanding contribution to the business. Mr Cowgill is Executive Chairman of J D Sports. In 1985, he founded Cowgill Holloway Chartered Accountants and is currently Senior Partner of the practice, one of the largest independent practices in the North West.
• Sue Lomax – Doctor of Education for her outstanding contribution to education. After leaving school at 15 without qualifications, Sue opened a hairdressing business which thrived for over 30 years. After being diagnosed with cancer, she sold the business and pursued her O Levels and hairdressing qualifications at Bolton College, where she later became a hairdressing lecturer. She later acquired a Bachelor of Education with Honours at the Bolton Institute, the University of Bolton today.
• Professor Christopher Bigsby – Doctor of Arts for his outstanding contribution to arts and literature. Chris is internationally recognised as the world’s greatest authority on the work of playwright Arthur Miller. He has collaborated with the University of Bolton’s Professor of Theatre, David Thacker, many times and most recently was the guest speaker at the University Gala Performance of Miller’s The Last Yankee, directed by David.
• Sir Cary Cooper CBE – Doctor of Education for his outstanding contribution to psychology. Sir Cary is a world-leading expert on wellbeing, and Co-Chair of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work. He has devoted his career to occupational psychology, health, and wellbeing at work.
• Mr Robert Fernley – Doctor of Engineering for his outstanding contribution to automotive engineering. Robert began his career in the 1970s and established a semi-professional motor racing team competing with Chevron Formula Atlantic and Formula 2 cars manufactured in Bolton. He went on to head various technology projects before returning to design and reconstruction and returned to Formula One.
• Dr Selva Pankaj – Doctor of Education for his outstanding contribution to further and higher education. Selva is Chief Executive Officer of the Regent Group; a London-based educational, real estate and investment management group that has educated thousands of students since its formation in 2000.
• Mr Maurizio Bragagni – Doctor of Business Administration for his outstanding contribution to the business. Mr Bragagni’s career began in Italy building up his family business, through to his current success as Chief Executive of the UK arm of Europe’s only independent cable manufacturers, Tratos. He launched the Safer Structures Campaign in 2017, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.
• Atul Pathak OBE – Doctor of Business Administration for his outstanding contribution to the business. Atul is one of the UK’s most successful franchise entrepreneurs, running 37 McDonald’s restaurants through his company Appt Corporation Ltd. He employs over 3,000 staff and is involved in the communities where his restaurants operate. In the last 10 years, Atul and Appt Corporation have raised and donated more than £1m for Ronald McDonald House Charities, providing a home from home for parents of hospitalised children.
• Karen Partington – Doctor of Health Care for her outstanding contribution to health care. Karen joined the NHS as a student nurse in 1980. She worked her way up the ranks and moved into her current role of Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals in 2011.
• Andrew Fleming – Doctor of Philosophy for his outstanding contribution to the British Civil Service. Andrew, a Civil Servant of 31 years, has dedicated his career to international migration and has served in Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria. As Deputy High Commissioner, Andrew promoted business and trade between the UK and key Indian states.
• Sir David Dalton – Doctor of Health Care for his outstanding contribution to health care. Sir David began his career in the NHS in and has since served as Chief Executive at Salford Royal for over 17 years. In 2016 he was invited to offer leadership to the Pennine Acute Trust and together with Salford Royal, he created the Northern Care Alliance – an NHS Group serving the needs of Salford, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and North Manchester areas.
• Dr Onalenna Stannie Seitio-Kgokgwe – Doctor of Education for her outstanding contribution to education. She has been dedicated to revolutionising and improving the performance and quality of health services across the world.
• Sue Luke – Doctor of Arts for her outstanding contribution to the Arts. Alongside her son, Jamie, she opened the first ShockOut Dance School. Sue went on to operate the Professional and Commercial Dance Course at the University of Bolton, in alliance with ShockOut Arts.