Buckingham’s Honorary Graduates
Over the years, the University has been pleased to confer honorary degrees to a wide range of distinguished individuals from all walks of life, who have made major contributions in their particular field. This includes people from academic life, politics, law and society in general, both within the UK and internationally. We are particularly delighted that some of our honorary degrees have been conferred upon our former students.
On this page you will find details of our 2023 honorary graduates, and details of honorary graduates going back to the early years of the University.
2023 Honorary Graduates
View the most recent honorary graduates of The University of Buckingham below:
Sir Nicholas Coleridge - Doctor of Arts, honoris causa
Sir Nicholas Coleridge CBE is a former media executive, and is Chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum. For thirty years he was variously Editorial Director, Chief Executive, President and Chairman of the Conde Nast magazine company, publishers of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Tatler, GQ and 130 other publications.
He has been Chair of the British Fashion Council, Chair of the Professional Publishers Association, Chair of the Prince of Wales’s Campaign for Wool, Chair of Fashion Rocks and Co-Chair last year of HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant. He is the author of fourteen books, both fiction and non-fiction, several of them bestsellers, including his autobiography The Glossy Years.
Dr Roger Jefcoate - Doctor of the University, honoris causa
An inspiration to many, Roger Jefcoate epitomises the ‘can-do’ attitude not just within himself but within the countless people whose lives have been changed by his pioneering work. For over sixty years Roger has worked to enhance the use of technology for people living with a disability, starting with the ten years he spent at Stoke Mandeville Hospital developing such equipment.
This included Possum, the world’s first remote-controlled system for disabled people which fittingly takes its name from the Latin word for ‘I can’. Roger not only played a key role in the development of this equipment but was instrumental in ensuring it was available to all disabled people through the NHS. Throughout his career Roger has given his time, knowledge, and resources as an independent advisor, often on a voluntary basis knowing the financial pressures already facing those needing his help the most.
For his services to disabled people Roger was appointed CBE in 1998 and he has further served as chairman of The Princes Trust between 1990 and 1997 and as Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire since 2011. He continues to provide support to various causes through the numerous charities he has founded or supports through the Roger and Jean Jefcoate Trust.
Christina Lamb - Doctor of Letters, honoris causa
Christina Lamb is Chief Foreign Correspondent at The Sunday Times and one of Britain’s leading foreign journalists as well as a bestselling author. She has reported from most of the world’s hotspots from Ukraine to Afghanistan where she started her career after an unexpected wedding invitation led her to Karachi in 1987 when she was just 21. Her despatches with the mujaheddin fighting the Soviet Union saw her named Young Journalist of the Year.
She has since been awarded Foreign Correspondent of the Year six times as well as Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux, and was recently given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society of Editors and Outstanding Impact Award by Amnesty International for her work on ISIS camps in Syria. She has always particularly focused on what happens to women in war and collected accounts of sexual violence in conflict from all over the world for her recent book Our Bodies, Their Battlefields described by leading historian Antony Beevor as ‘the most powerful book’ he had ever read. Christina has written ten books including Farewell Kabul, The Africa House, and The Sewing Circles of Herat and co-wrote the international bestseller I am Malala with Malala Yousafzai and The Girl from Aleppo with Nujeen Mustafa. She is a Global Envoy for UN Education Cannot Wait, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an Honorary Fellow of her alma mater University College Oxford, on the International Board of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, an Associate of the Imperial War Museum, and was made an OBE by the Queen in 2013. Her latest book The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless is her first on her own country.
Dr Kenan Malik - Doctor of the University, honoris causa
Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a columnist for the Observer. After studying neurobiology, and then history and philosophy of science, he has, over the past 30 years, combined academic research with popular writing and journalism. His main areas of interest are the history of ideas, political and moral philosophy, and the history and sociology of race and immigration.
His latest book, Not So Black and White, is a history of ideas of race and identity. Previous books include From Fatwa to Jihad, The Search for a Moral Compass, Multiculturalism and its Discontents, Strange Fruit, Man, Beast and Zombie, and The Meaning of Race. From Fatwa to Jihad was shortlisted for the Orwell Book Prize, and Strange Fruit nominated for the Royal Society Science Book Prize.
He has presented Radio 3’s Nightwaves and Analysis on Radio 4, as well as being a former panellist on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. He has written and presented a number of radio and TV documentaries and lectured at universities in Britain, Europe, Australia, USA and Canada.
Dr Adam McGill - Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Adam is the founder and CEO of “The Fizz Group”. The company is the UK’s leading supplier of educational memorabilia, such as school photographs, academic yearbooks and school leaver apparel.
Adam began the company while still at school at the age of 15 in 2007. He was motivated by receiving a school yearbook which he claimed he could have produced better. Having told his teachers and family that he could do this, they told him that if he believed he could do so, then he should do it. So, rather than going to university, Adam left school and established “The Fizz Group”.
This company quickly became the market-leader in its field, something which continues to be the case 15 years later.
However, Adam was quick to realise that his school education had not prepared him for the world of business. He rapidly became a passionate advocate for enterprise education. This brought him into contact with the University of Buckingham where he has been a supporter of the Buckingham Business Enterprise degree for the past decade.
During that time, Adam has provided support and mentoring for students. In addition, he has been a regular member of the “Buckingham Angels” – the panel that decides on funding from student business pitches. He has donated many, many hours to supporting our students.
Outside the university, Adam has been a strong campaigner for enterprise education in schools. He has worked with schools directly to help increase the level of enterprise education. He has also written on the topic to campaign for improvements in school education so that entrepreneurship is seen as a career option. Adam has also campaigned to eliminate the airbrushing of children’s faces in school photographs. He has led a nationwide campaign to stop other school photography firms from airbrushing students’ faces – something his company has never done.
Adam’s business journey from school leaver to running a significant business group in the education sector has also seen him become a passionate supporter of the kind of practical enterprise education we have pioneered here at Buckingham.
Reverend William Pearson-Gee - Doctor of the University, honoris causa
Born and bred in London, Will went to prep school in Sussex and won an exhibition to Westminster School where rowing took up too much of his time to the detriment of his studies.
After Westminster he went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was then commissioned into the Coldstream Guards. He served worldwide including tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Brunei and Germany. He worked at as a staff officer in the MOD and attended the Army Staff College. Losing his wife and one of his children in a car crash, he left the Army to raise his daughter.
After 4 years helping to run the family printing business, and his Christian faith deepening, he sensed a call to ordained ministry and went to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University to study. He served his curacy in Oxford and then in 2010 became the Rector of Buckingham where he has served since, seeing the church quadruple in size.
Will serves on the General Synod of the CofE. He married Lucia in 2002 and has three more children.
Mrs Amanda Spielman - Doctor of the University, honoris causa
Amanda Spielman is His Majesty’s Chief Inspector at Ofsted, which she has led since 2017. At Ofsted she has been responsible for the comprehensive reshaping of inspection, built on a strong conception of education quality, thoroughly informed by evidence, emphasising the substance of education and the integrity of all those responsible, and designed as a constructive process of professional dialogue between leaders and inspectors.
Previously she was chair of Ofqual for six years, overseeing a full programme of qualification reform. Alongside this she was Research and Policy Director at a leading multi-academy trust, ARK Schools, where she was part of the senior team from the outset, involved in all aspects of creating and evolving a trust model.
She came to education via a masters degree in comparative education only at age 39, after a career in finance, investment banking and private equity, at KPMG, Kleinwort Benson and Nomura, with a stint as strategy director at AT&T Capital, a large US leasing company.
She has also served on many boards, including the Councils of Brunel University and of the Institute of Education, and the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. She is currently a trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam - Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa
Jonathan Van-Tam graduated in Medicine from the University of Nottingham in 1987. After 5 years of hospital-based clinical medicine, he pursued an academic training in public health and epidemiology with a special interest in influenza and respiratory viruses. He became a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of Nottingham (and Consultant Regional Epidemiologist, Public Health Laboratory Service) in 1997, before joining the pharmaceutical industry as an Associate Director (Anti-Infectives, New Product Development) at SmithKline Beecham in 2000. After a move to Roche as Head of Medical Affairs (UK) where he launched oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), he joined Aventis Pasteur MSD as UK Medical Director, with clinical responsibility for its large vaccine portfolio.
He returned to the public sector in 2004 at the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections (Colindale), where he was Head of the Pandemic Influenza Office until October 2007, when he then returned to Nottingham as Professor of Health Protection, maintaining his 25-year special interest in influenza and other respiratory viruses: epidemiology; transmission; vaccinology; antiviral drugs; and pandemic preparedness. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers (generating over 16,000 citations) and written multiple chapters in textbooks. His h- & i10-indices are respectively 62 and 157.
He was a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) during the 2009-10 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic, and has acted as a short-term consultant and temporary adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), ECDC, and the European Commission (EC) on multiple occasions since 2005.
He is Senior Editor of the highly rated textbook: “Introduction to Pandemic Influenza” which he published 09 in November 2009, with a Second Edition following in December 2013; and from 2014-2017 was Editor-in-Chief of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses (John Wiley & Sons Inc.).
In late 2014 he became Chair of the UK’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threat Advisory Group (NERVTAG): the Department of Health’s senior scientific and clinical advisory committee for pandemic influenza and other emerging respiratory virus threats. He ran a WHO official Collaborating Centre for pandemic influenza at Nottingham University from 2010-2017.
From late 2017-March 2022 he was seconded to the Department of Health and Social Care, England as Deputy Chief Medical Officer where his portfolio was vaccines, pharmaceuticals, health protection, and biosecurity. In that role he was extensively involved in domestic vaccines policy, seasonal influenza, infectious disease incidents (Ebola, Monkey Pox), the Novichok attack, and the Covid-19 pandemic, including every aspect of the successful UK vaccine procurement and deployment programme.
He was a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and co-Chair of the Global Health Security Advisory Group (GHSAG) pandemic influenza working group (PIWG). He was awarded a Knighthood for services to Public Health in 2022 alongside the Royal Society Attenborough Lecture and Medal for public communication of science.
Dr Karl Yin - Doctor of the University, honoris causa
Karl Yin, Chairman of Hualan Education Group, started his career in the financial sector. He was first in FX trader and then an investment banker before deciding to work for his family’s education business.
He joined the group as a Director in 2012 and was initially tasked with overseeing the group’s development strategy. In 2013, he led a partnership project with the United Westminster Greycoat Schools Foundation with the goal of building a new school in China. The HIKSVS International School Tianjin was successfully launched in 2017, and he subsequently became the Chairman of Governors.
Apart from running the family business, he is keen on solving the global teacher shortage problem and believes that affordable, professional teacher training is the key. He partnered with the University of Buckingham Faculty of Education and launched the Buckingham International School of Education in 2019, aiming to train Chinese bilingual teachers with British methods.
Karl is the founder of the Hualan Scholarship, which provides teacher training funding for less privileged students internationally. In 2020, the Hualan Scholarship expanded to supporting Education Leadership in partnership with the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust, which provides scholarships for graduates from developing and emerging countries to study at the University of Oxford and participate in a specially created Leadership Programme.
Karl is the Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the University of Buckingham Faculty of Education. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust.
Previous Honorary Graduates
Details of honorary graduates going back to the early years of the University can be found below:
Honorary graduates 2011-2020
- Honorary graduates 2019
- Honorary graduates 2018
- Honorary graduates 2017
- Honorary graduates October 2016
- Honorary graduates 2016
- Honorary graduates 2015
- Honorary graduates 2015 (Medical School)
- Honorary graduates May 2014
- Honorary graduates 2014
- Honorary graduates March 2014 (Congregation for the Installation of The Honourable Lady Keswick as Chancellor of the University)
- Honorary graduate September 2013
- Honorary graduates June 2013
- Honorary graduates 2013
- Honorary graduates 2012
- Honorary graduates 2011
Honorary graduates 2001-2010
- Honorary graduates September 2010 (Congregation for the Installation of The Lord Tanlaw of Tanlawhill as Chancellor of the University)
- Honorary graduates 2010
- Honorary graduates 2009
- Honorary graduates 2008
- Honorary graduates 2007
- Honorary graduates 2006
- Honorary graduates 2005
- Honorary graduates 2004
- Honorary graduates 2003
- Honorary graduates 2002
- Honorary graduates 2001