01 August 2012

Three Essex honorary graduates in Olympic opening ceremony

Shami Chakrabarti

Three honorary graduates of the University of Essex – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Shami Chakrabarti – took part in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics on Friday 27 July.

Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee is known as the creator of the World Wide Web, and was seen sitting at a computer from where he sent a tweet which read “This is for everyone”, and was relayed around the stadium on the audience’s light pads.

Dame Evelyn Glennie, awarded an honorary degree in 1998, the same year as Sir Tim, is a virtuoso percussionist who has performed across the world. She led 1,000 drummers during the opening section of the ceremony, ‘Pandemonium’, which told the story of Britain from its “green and pleasant” rural beginnings to the 1960s.

Shami Chakrabarti CBE is director of civil liberties organisation, Liberty, and was awarded an honorary degree in 2006. On Monday, she wrote in The Guardian of her appearance in the ceremony: “In China, human rights campaigners get locked up; in Britain, even the most irritating gets to carry the Olympic flag.”

They continue the University’s association with the Games, which has seen staff member Dom King selected for the Team GB Olympic squad and Business Management student Scott Moorhouse win a place at the Paralympics.

Dom, Student Activities and Development Manager at the Students' Union, will be competing in the 50km race walk, while Scott is targeting gold in the Javelin F42 class, for track and field amputees.

Professor Martin Sellens, Director of the Centre for Sports and Exercise Science and chairman of the University’s Olympic Task Group, said: “The University is delighted to see three of our honorary graduates in the opening ceremony. We’re now looking forward to watching Dom and Scott compete. Everyone at Essex will be supporting them.”

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