Graduation 2019: Our Honorary Graduands

  • Date

    Mon 3 Jun 19

Max Whitlock

Dedicated campaigners, inspirational mentors and an Olympic gold medallist are among the six people to be awarded Honorary Degrees at the University of Essex Graduation 2019.

This year’s Honorary Graduands are:

Harry Murray, MBE
Tuesday 16 July, 1pm ceremony

Harry Murray is a former Catey Hotelier of the Year, and one of the leading figures in the creation of Edge Hotel School, which offers industry-led hospitality and event management degrees, based in Wivenhoe House Hotel, on the University’s Colchester Campus. A lifelong mentor and ambassador for the hotel industry, Harry is a life patron of Springboard, the charity that helps young people achieve their potential, and nurtures unemployed people of any age back into work. He is also patron of Hospitality Action, supporting people who have worked in the UK’s hospitality industry through challenging times. Harry, a master Innholder and past chairman of the Master Innholders’ livery company Chairman, received an MBE for services to the hospitality industry in 2006 and a Catey Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.


Bruce Galleway
Tuesday 16 July, 4pm ceremony

Bruce Galleway is an inspirational figure who has turned around his own experience of having a stroke and aphasia, aged 32, to help and support other people with similar physical and communication difficulties. Bruce works with academics at the University of Essex to develop teaching programmes in the School of Health and Social Care, and he helps students by helping them develop the expert communication skills they will need to become successful health and care practitioners. After his stroke, Bruce made personal progress through support from the charity Headway Essex, became a volunteer for the group, and in 2011 was recognised as the National Headway Volunteer of the Year.


Tony Sewell, CBE
Wednesday 17 July, 1pm ceremony

Tony Sewell is Director of the London-based charity Generating Genius, which motivates and supports 14-to-18-year-olds to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school. This is with a particular focus on black and minority ethnic boys, generally from lower-income households, who would be the first in their family to go to university. A former teacher and university lecturer, Tony was an international education consultant for the World Bank and the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as a member of the Youth Justice Board, he makes frequent media appearances. Tony was awarded a CBE for his services to education in 2016.


Betty Makoni
Wednesday 17 July, 4pm ceremony

Muzvare Hazviperi Betty Makoni is a gender activist from Zimbabwe who in 1999 at the age of 28 founded the Girl Child Network, an organisation that supports young victims of sex abuse. Under Betty’s leadership the charity built four refuges to provide a physical, safe space for shelter and healing, and has since supported more than 35,000 girls, by finding them places of safety. Girl Child Network has also provided mentoring to at least 60,000 girls and young women. Forced into exile from Zimbabwe, Betty has continued her work in the UK with the Girls Empowerment Initiative UK, where she continues to inspire and support thousands of young women helping Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Swaziland to establish girls’ networks.


Max Whitlock, MBE
Thursday 18 July, 10am ceremony

Max Whitlock is Great Britain’s most successful gymnast, holding 19 major medals and is the double Olympic, World and Triple European Champion. Max became a double Olympic champion on pommel and floor at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, as well as claiming the all-around bronze. His many other successes include being a four-time Commonwealth champion and holding an impressive ten Commonwealth Games medals. Driven by his passion for gymnastics, Max has set-up a network of regional Max Whitlock Gymnastics centres that provide quality, fun classes for children across the country, including one based at the University of Essex. In 2017 Max was awarded an MBE for services to gymnastics.


Phil O’Donovan
Friday 19 July, 10am ceremony

Phil O’Donovan was the founding Managing Director of CSR plc, formerly known as Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd, a Bluetooth technology start-up company, which from 1999 grew to become a highly successful FTSE 250 semiconductor company listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2004. Employing more than 2,000 people, across 23 global locations, CSR was acquired in 2015 by US tech giant Qualcomm for $2.5 billion. Today, Phil is Chairman of Twelve Winds, where, as an angel investor, he works with the founders, boards and management of emerging tech companies in England and Ireland, as well as with universities and business schools including the University of Essex on entrepreneurial topics including the commercialisation of their IP.