Alumni and friends

We welcome three new honorary doctors

We are delighted to welcome three new members to our alumni community following the conferment of honorary doctorates at our graduation ceremonies this week.

The recipients are Sir Jim McDonald, who is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Rt Hon Lord Willetts, executive chairman of an award-winning think tank, and Kevin McGrath OBE, co-founder of the Clink Prison Charity and supporter of the University’s Guildford School of Acting (GSA) through the McGrath Charitable Trust.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Max Lu said: “We’re proud to recognise their contributions to industry, higher education, and charity. The University of Surrey has enjoyed long-standing and productive relationships with all three honorary graduates. Each of them has had a distinguished career and has demonstrated exemplary leadership in their respective field.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald was awarded a knighthood for his services to education, engineering and the economy in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours. His academic associations include being a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Physics.

The Rt Hon Lord Willetts is Executive Chairman of the Resolution Foundation, a non-partisan and award-winning think tank that works to improve the living standards of those in Britain on low to middle incomes. He enjoys a close working relationship with Surrey and has often visited the University campus.

Kevin McGrath OBE founded the McGrath Charitable Trust to provide opportunities to help the underprivileged and those in need. He also co-founded the Clink Prison Charity, which aims to reduce reoffending rates of ex-offenders by running projects, such as restaurants, to provide practical skills and aid prisoners in their rehabilitation. The Trust also supports the Sean McGrath Scholarships which are awarded to GSA students. He is a former Chairman of the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

Kevin said: “It’s a privilege to receive this award. It means a great deal to me, as my connections with the University’s GSA go back more than 15 years. I continue to be passionate about promoting the theatrical arts through higher education and the positive benefits for the individual students, the wider University community and for society as a whole.”

The Rt Hon Lord Willetts added: “It’s a great honour to receive this honorary. It means a lot to me given the key technologies which are developed here – from satellites to the internet of things.”

The University has bestowed honorary degrees sincee 1966 on those who have made a significant contribution in their field and society. They include Dr Jonny Wilkinson OBE, Professor Lord Robert Winston, and TV personalities Terry Gilliam, Sandi Toksvig, and Michael Buerk.