Achievement takes centre stage at Graduation ceremonies

Over 6,000 students from 124 countries will receive their degrees and professional qualifications during the University of Portsmouth’s 2018 Graduation ceremonies next week (14-20 July).

Over 6,000 students from 124 countries will receive their degrees and professional qualifications.

This year’s ceremonies are the first to be presided over by Karen Blackett OBE, the University’s new Chancellor.

“Graduation is a highlight of the academic year, not just for our graduands but for the whole University community,” said Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth. “It is a time for us all to celebrate and share the experiences and achievements of our students with family, friends and fellow graduates.”

Karen Blackett OBE said: “This is an immensely proud day for all of the students and their friends and families. I am honoured to be sharing it with them as their Chancellor. I am an alumni of the University and I still remember how emotional this day is, and the smiling faces of my own mother and late father, as my name was called out to collect my certificate. Their very visible sense of joy and pride was infectious.

“Your time at university shapes who you go on to become and what you achieve. I am certain that the experience of our graduation students at the University of Portsmouth will have helped them unlock their true potential, and fuel their self-belief, as it did with me.”

The University will also present seven honorary awards to leading figures from the fields of business, community relations, health, nursing and philanthropy. They are Dr Cecilia Anim CBE, President of the Royal College of Nursing; prominent Portsmouth community champion Marie Costa; Professor Kevin Fenton, Director for Health and Wellbeing for the London Borough of Southwark; Clare Martin, CEO of Pompey in the Community;  Bill Salmond, former Chair of Governors at the University of Portsmouth; entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley; and Julian Wadsworth MBE, who has been involved in youth services across the city for over 20 years.

The 18 Graduation ceremonies will be held in Portsmouth Guildhall from Saturday 14 July to Friday 20 July.

All the ceremonies will be broadcast live on the University’s Graduation website at:

The seven honorary graduands and when they will receive their awards are:

Bill Salmond, Honorary Doctor of the University (Monday 16 July at 1pm)

A graduate in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, Bill’s career saw him use his financial acumen to great effect.

As a chartered management accountant, he held business planning/acquisition, financial and treasury roles in a range of companies including Unilever, J Lyons and Wilkinson Sword/Allegheny International Inc. – from the UK to Australia.

Bill’s journey took him to Geest Line Ltd, a Hampshire shipping and fruit trading company. He served as Finance Director, Commercial Director for the UK and Caribbean, and Corporate Affairs Director. Bill then held the position of Managing Director for a decade. Restructuring the business, he took it from loss back to profit, before retiring in 2009.

Rather than rest on his laurels, Bill continued to make an impact. He joined the Board of Governors here at the University, serving as Chair of the Finance Committee and latterly Chair of the Board, until July 2017.

Dr Cecilia Anim CBE, Honorary Doctor of Science (Tuesday 17 July at 10am)

Dr Anim is President of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – the voice of nursing across the UK, and the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. Cecilia plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the RCN promotes the arts and sciences of nursing successfully.

Alongside this post, she works as a clinical nurse specialist in sexual and reproductive health. She specialises in family planning and women’s health, with interests in menopause and public health issues.

In recent years Cecilia has won accolades including a Bevan Award for Health and Wellbeing; Wise Woman of the Year; United Nations African Women of Excellence; and Zenith Global Health Excellence in Healthcare. In 2017, she was honoured as a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

She also finds time to be Chair of Governors of a primary school, a Deanery synod member, and to arrange flowers at her local church.

Julian Wadsworth MBE, Honorary Fellowship (Tuesday 17 July at 1pm)

In 2010, Julian was awarded the MBE for Services to the Young People of Portsmouth – the city where he was raised and educated.

For over 20 years, he’s been involved in youth services, crime prevention and sport for development. Julian has developed and managed nationally award-winning programmes in Portsmouth for the Home Office, Premier League and Arts Council.

He has worked for Portsmouth City Council, and developed the Respect Programme at Portsmouth Football Club. More recently, he’s been Head of Hampshire Programmes for the national youth and community charity, Active Communities Network.

Julian believes collaboration is vital in making a difference for young people and communities. His partners have included Hampshire Constabulary, various local authorities and national governing bodies, and faculties across the University of Portsmouth.

Passionate about social justice, Julian is driven to enable young people to fulfil their potential. He works to overcome barriers and inequalities, to make our communities stronger and healthier.

Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley CH DBE, Honorary Doctor of Engineering (Wednesday 18 July at 4pm)
Stepping off the Kindertransport in 1939, an unaccompanied child refugee, young Stephanie was still near the beginning of an extraordinary life journey.

With just £6, she founded an early software company. Her female-friendly business broke new ground in its flexibility, and in co-ownership – which peaked at 62 per cent staff control. The company grew to be valued at $3bn and made 70 of the 8,500 staff into millionaires.

After retiring, Dame Stephanie’s expertise as a serial entrepreneur was much in demand. She served on corporate boards in the UK and US, and was the first ever non-executive director of the John Lewis Partnership.

An ardent philanthropist, Dame Stephanie has gifted £68m as social investments in IT (her profession) and autism (her late son’s condition).

She was the first woman President of the British Computer Society and in 2017 she was appointed a Companion of Honour for “nationally important service”.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Honorary Doctor of Science (Thursday 19 July at 10am)

As Director for Health and Wellbeing at the London Borough of Southwark, Kevin champions health, wellbeing, sustainability and equity in every Council policy and programme.

His priorities range from social regeneration, to developing integrated health and social care systems. He aims to improve health and reduce inequalities for everyone in Southwark.

Kevin is on secondment from Public Health England, where he was National Director for Health and Wellbeing. He led national prevention programmes including cancer screening, public mental health, sexual and reproductive health, along with wellbeing programmes for all ages. He also led activities addressing social determinants of health and promoting place-based approaches to health improvement.

Kevin has worked in research, epidemiology, and the prevention of HIV and other STDs since 1995. He has been director of organisations including the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention; Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; and the HIV and STI Department at the Health Protection Agency.

Clare Martin, Honorary Fellowship (Thursday 19 July at 1pm)

As CEO of Pompey in the Community, Clare makes a positive impact throughout the local community on a daily basis.

The charity delivers coaching, education, community cohesion and health programmes, using the Portsmouth Football Club brand to engage and motivate participants. Every week, her dedicated team of staff and volunteers work with over 6,000 young people.

Clare has been a passionate part of Pompey in the Community for 17 years. She is proud of what the team has achieved in that time.

Her life at Portsmouth Football Club began as a teacher in the Pompey Study Centre. She has seen the club tackle challenges over the years, while helping the charity to develop into the thriving organisation it is today.

Clare has played a pivotal part in providing ongoing developmental opportunities for thousands of people. This has resulted in the charity winning numerous awards, including the Football League’s prestigious Community Club of the Year for 2017.

Marie Costa, Honorary Fellowship (Friday 20 July at 4pm)

Over the last six decades, Marie has contributed to the community in countless ways.

Arriving in England in 1957, she studied nursing and midwifery. Twenty years later, she changed direction in her career, gaining a degree and PGCE from Portsmouth Polytechnic and becoming a teacher of history and sociology. Marie taught until 1994 and was a businesswoman from 1989 to 2002.

Since the early 1990s, she has been a member of various boards – including the first Portsmouth Local Strategic Partnership, the New Theatre Royal, Diversity in Media South, Portsmouth Multicultural Group and the University of Portsmouth.

Marie set up Portsmouth Race Equality Network Organisation, founded the African Women’s Forum and is a founder member of Africappella singers and the Female Genital Mutilation steering group.

In all her community voluntary work Marie aims to actively bridge the racial divide, foster equality for all, and promote African cultural activities.

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