Honorary degrees at Essex

Since 1967, the University has honoured more than 300 people from many walks of life for their varied contributions to learning, creativity and knowledge, to human welfare and human rights, and to the building and maintaining of a fairer society.

Our Honorary Graduates of 2023

Laya Vasudevan

Honorary Graduate, 2023

An advocate for providing legal protection to vulnerable communities, as Director of Delhi-based Centre for Legal Aid and Rights, Laya played a major role in a landmark case which advanced and protected the rights of the transgender community in India. She now works with New Zealand's Ministry of Women.

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

Honorary Graduate, 2023

Chief Fire Office of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Dr Cohen-Hatton has also completed a PhD in behavioural psychology and is an expert on human behaviour and organisational culture. She has won awards for her research work on incident command structure in the emergency services, receiving recognition and influencing policy internationally.

Simon Cox

Honorary Graduate, 2023

An award-winning investigative journalist, writer and broadcaster, Simon has reported from more than 40 countries for BBC Radio4, World Service and TV. An Essex graduate, Simon now runs an investigations team focusing on the Middle East and North Africa region. His first book is being developed into a TV drama.

Dr Jalal Bagherli

Honorary Graduate, 2023

Dr Bagherli spent 16 years as chief executive of Dialog Semiconductor, a specialist chip company in mixed signal connectivity and power management products for mobile and IOT devices. An Essex graduate, his company has won multiple industry awards. He currently serves as the Chair for Williams Advanced Engineering.

Deborah Coles

Honorary Graduate, 2023

Deborah is the respected leader of the influential human rights charity INQUEST, which works on state related deaths, An Essex graduate, she has established a long track record of championing social justice and equality issues and holding the state to account. She has been involved in many landmark inquests and inquiries in the UK.

Dr Jon Hastie

Honorary Graduate, 2023

Dr Hastie is a disability rights activist, patient advocate and influencer who founded a user-led organisation supporting adults living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. His work has attracted significant funding to create a lasting legacy for the Duchenne patient community. Dr Hastie completed his BA, Masters and PhD at Essex.

Professor Steve Long

Honorary Graduate, 2023

Professor Long holds the Ikenberry Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at the University of Illinois and directs a multinational Gates Foundation Project that is increasing photosynthetic efficiency in crops to increases yields. He was the founding plant scientist at Essex and has maintained close links with the University.

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