Published: 11 July 2016

Surrey Honorary Graduates 2016

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Dr John Forrest CBE and Professor John Pickett CBE are the University of Surrey’s 2016 honorary graduates.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden

Sir Christopher is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton. He is a distinguished engineer, academic and businessman with wide experience in the microwave and semiconductor industry. He was knighted in 2012 for services to Engineering and Higher Education.

He was President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey from 2005-2015 during which time he led the organisation through a period of significant change and was instrumental in improving its national and international standing.

Sir Christopher has held a number of academic positions through his career including the personal Chair of Microwave Engineering at the University of Leeds from 1992-2005 and he has been a consultant for several major international microwave electronics companies in the USA and UK.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). He was President of Universities UK (UUK) from 2013-15 and has served on a number of government committees and boards. 


Dr John Forrest CBE

Dr Forrest has a wealth of commercial experience in strategic direction and technology development and deployment.

He served as Pro-Chancellor at the University of Surrey from 2006-2015 and helped manage the acquisition of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd by EADS Astrium in 2008, one of the largest cash spin- outs from any UK University.

Dr Forrest joined Marconi Defence Systems in 1984 as Technical Director and later became Director of Engineering at the Independent Broadcasting Authority.  From this engineering team, he formed the communications company NTL, becoming its first Chief Executive and later its Deputy Chairman.

He has held appointments as Chairman or Director of many technology sector companies in the UK, France, Canada and the USA, taking several through IPO on AIM or NASDAQ.  He has worked closely with government on a number of senior committees and is a former Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was awarded a CBE (2012) and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government (1990).


Professor John Pickett CBE

Professor Pickett is a British chemist, renowned for his work on insect pheromones. He holds the position of Michael Elliott Distinguished Research Fellow and Scientific Leader of Chemical Ecologyat Rothamsted Research, Harpenden.

Professor Pickett completed both his BSc and PhD Degrees at the University of Surrey (1963-1971), and has retained his links to the University being instrumental in its successful bid for a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) in Food Security.

Following post-doctoral research, Professor Pickett moved to Rothamsted Experimental Station (now called Rothamsted Research) in 1976. In 2007, he was promoted to Director of the Centre for Sustainable Pest and Disease Management at Rothamsted.

Professor Pickett has been a Special Professor at the University of Nottingham since 1991 and Honorary Member of Academic Staff at the University of Reading since 1995.

Professor Pickett is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the National Academy of Science. He won the 2002 International Society of Chemical Ecology Medal and was awarded a CBE (2004). He is currently President-Elect of the Royal Entomological Society.


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