COUNTY NEWS: Graduates get ready to celebrate as university prepares for ceremony

The founder of an inspirational charity, an internationally-acclaimed composer and a leading educationalist are all to be recognised for their unique contributions with honorary degrees from the University of Chichester.

Sunday, 23rd October 2016, 12:57 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:20 am
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The work of Tony Bernard, Carl Davis and Barbara Smith has been chosen as an inspiration to students graduating from the institution. The awards will be made alongside nearly 2,000 graduates at the Chichester Festival Theatre on Sunday and Monday.

Tony Bernard will receive an Honorary Master of Arts. Following the tragic death of his son Stephen in 2005, he established a charity dedicated to keeping his memory alive by benefitting others.

The Foundation created in the memory of Stephen, a trainee PE teacher at the University of Chichester, raises money to provide sporting opportunities for others. To date it has raised nearly £300,000 for more than 200 projects across West and East Sussex, Hampshire, and Dorset, and Tony has become an inspirational figure for University sports students.

In addition an educationalist and one of the driving forces behind the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education - now the University of Chichester - will also receive an honorary doctorate at the ceremony.

Barbara Smith was deputy director of the Institute from 1977 having previously held the role of acting principal of the preceding Bognor Regis College of Education and then head of Bognor Regis College.

The University has previously named a halls of residence and awarded a graduation prize for outstanding student of the year after Miss Smith, and will now honour her with a Doctor of Education.

Carl Davis CBE is internationally celebrated as a composer for screen and theatre who will receive the award of Doctor of Music. The American-born conductor is widely remembered for the theme music to ground-breaking series The World at War, while his film scores have included the BAFTA-winning French Lieutenant’s Woman and Ethel and Ernest released this month.

Mr Davis appeared at Chichester Cathedral last January to conduct the University’s chamber orchestra in a community version of his work Last Train to Tomorrow: a commemoration of the life of Sir Nicholas Winton who rescued Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Germany.

He gave his services pro-bono for an evening which raised £5,000 for the national Save the Children charity.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Clive Behagg said: “The point of awarding Honorary Degrees is to select people who can inspire our graduates as they set out on the journey of their lives.”

“In their different ways these three awards fit the bill exactly - I know our graduating students will love them.”

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