New Year Honours 2015: Marina Warner and Nigel Thrift among those recognised

Award-winning writer and scholar Marina Warner and Warwick vice-chancellor Nigel Thrift are among those recognised in the New Year Honours

December 30, 2014

Professor Warner was made a dame for services to higher education and literary scholarship, despite a year in which she resigned from the University of Essex in protest at a management style that she likened to “the world of Chinese communism”. She is now professor of English and creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London.

Speaking to Times Higher Education, she said she was “quite astonished” to be honoured, particularly in light of her outspoken comments about Essex, and said she was very pleased for Birkbeck because of the “encouraging and warm” way it had welcomed her.

“I have made an effort to try to contribute what I can to [higher education and literary scholarship] so I am very pleased to have them recognised,” said Professor Warner.

She added that she had a “slight problem thinking of myself as an ‘official’ person. I’m certainly old enough for this, but I’m not given to seeing myself as ‘grown-up’, and this is a very grown-up thing to happen.”

Professor Thrift, who was knighted for services to higher education, described his knighthood as a “wonderful way” to begin 2015, which is Warwick’s 50th anniversary year.

The honour comes after a turbulent year at the institution, which has hit the headlines for the suspension and subsequent reinstatement of Thomas Docherty, professor of English and comparative literature; plans to single out staff for redundancy on the basis of their research income; and a student protest broken up by police using CS spray.

Professor Thrift said the award, for him, recognised “the numerous successes that we have all achieved together over the last 10 years”.

“I want to thank all those – staff, students, alumni and our supporters and donors – who have played their part in Warwick’s many attainments.”

Other higher education figures honoured include Richard Barnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster, who was knighted for services to higher education and business. Meanwhile, there were CBEs for Martin Bean, outgoing vice-chancellor of The Open University, Ruth Farwell, vice-chancellor of Bucks New University, who leaves her institution early in 2015, and Paul Webley, director of Soas, University of London.

The list also includes knighthoods for the Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Bate, who is provost of Worcester College, Oxford, and Julian Le Grand, the Richard Titmuss professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, for services to social science and public service.

Martyn Poliakoff, the research professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham who is known worldwide for the science-related videos he posts on YouTube, was knighted, as was Nilesh Samani, professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester, and Norman Williams, the former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, who is a professor at Queen Mary University of London.

Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate who is also professor of contemporary poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, was made a dame, alongside Teresa Rees, professor of social science at Cardiff University, and Anne Mills, deputy director and provost of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London.

Several higher education philanthropists were honoured, including Hong Kong businessman Dickson Poon – a major donor to St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and King’s College London – who was knighted.

And there was also room for more humble recipients including Leonard Totton, a mail room porter at Queen’s University Belfast, who received the British Empire Medal for services to higher education.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

New Year Honours 2015

Among those given knighthoods:

  • Richard Barnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster, for services to higher education and business;
  • Jonathan Bate, provost of Worcester College, University of Oxford, for services to literary scholarship and higher education;
  • Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, for services to social science and public service;
  • Martyn Poliakoff, research professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham, for services to the chemical sciences;
  • Dickson Poon, donor to King’s College London, for services to business and to charity, particularly higher education;
  • Nilesh Samani, professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester, for services to higher education;
  • Nigel Thrift, vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, for services to higher education;
  • Norman Williams, professor and lead of the centre for academic surgery at Queen Mary University of London, for services to surgery.

Among those made dames:


Among those appointed Companions of the Order of the Bath:


Among those appointed Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire:

  • Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, for services to medicine, medical research and the UK life science industry.

Among those appointed CBE:

  • Graeme Barker, senior fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, for services to archaeology;
  • Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of The Open University, for services to higher education;
  • Alistair Burns, professor of old age psychiatry at the University of Manchester, for services to health and social care, particularly dementia care;
  • Michael Chowen, donor to the University of Brighton, for charitable services;
  • Nicholas Cooper, chairman of Sterling Insurance Group, for services to philanthropy in higher education and the arts;
  • Ruth Farwell, vice-chancellor of Bucks New University, for services to higher education;
  • Russell Foster, professor of circadian neurosciences at the University of Oxford, for services to science;
  • Heather Joshi, emeritus professor of economic and developmental demography at the UCL Institute of Education, for services to longitudinal and women’s studies;
  • Julienne Meyer, professor of nursing at City University London, for services to nursing and older people;
  • Timothy Palmer, professor in climate physics at the University of Oxford, for services to science;
  • Sharon Peacock, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, for services to medical microbiology;
  • Peter Rees, professor of places and city planning at University College London, for services to architecture and town planning;
  • Stephen Richardson, associate provost (institutional affairs) at Imperial College London, for services to chemical engineering education and safety;
  • Fiona Ross, professor of primary care nursing at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, for services to nursing;
  • Rosalind Smyth, professor of child health at University College London, for services to regulation of medicines for children;
  • Michele Sutton, former president of the Association of Colleges, for services to further education;
  • Anna van der Gaag, chair of the Health and Care Professions Council, for services to health and care;
  • Paul Webley, director of Soas, University of London, for services to higher education;
  • Bill Whyte, professor of social work studies in criminal and youth justice at the University of Edinburgh, for services to youth justice in Scotland.

Among those appointed OBE:

  • Diane Birch, professor of law at the University of Nottingham, for services to higher education;
  • Peter Braude, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at King’s College London, for services to reproductive medicine;
  • Margaret Brown, professor of mathematics education, King’s College London, for services to mathematics education and to governance of schools in south London;
  • Cyrus Cooper, director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, for services to medical research;
  • Paul Ekins, professor of resources and environment policy, University College London, for services to environmental policy;
  • Judith Evans, former chair of the governing council at St George’s, University of London, for services to higher education;
  • Geoffrey Hosking, emeritus professor of Russian history at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, for services to higher education and students;
  • Joan Hunt, honorary professor at Cardiff Law School, for services to children;
  • Robin Millar, emeritus professor of science education at the University of York, for services to science education;
  • Ian Mills, emeritus professor of chemical spectroscopy at the University of Reading, for services to chemistry and metrology;
  • Venugopal Nair, visiting professor in the department of medicine at Imperial College London, for services to science;
  • Kenneth Seddon, chair of inorganic chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast, for services to chemistry;
  • Dasha Shenkman, donor to the Royal College of Music, for services to philanthropy and the arts;
  • Iram Siraj, professor of early childhood education at UCL Institute of Education, for services to education;
  • Nigel Sparrow, visiting professor in general practice at the University of Lincoln, for services to primary care;
  • Katherine Spurgeon, professor of control engineering at the University of Kent, for services to engineering;
  • Gwyneth Stallard, professor of pure mathematics at The Open University, for services to higher education;
  • Valerie Wass, head of the School of Medicine at Keele University, for services to medical education;
  • Christopher Whatley, former vice-principal of the University of Dundee, for services to Scottish higher education;
  • Roger Whorrod, member of council at the University of Bath, for services to philanthropy in higher education;
  • Hugh Williamson, former Regius professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford, for services to scholarship and theology.

Among those appointed MBE:

  • Uduak Archibong, professor of diversity at the University of Bradford, for services to higher education and equality;
  • Elizabeth Beaty, former pro vice-chancellor at the University of Cumbria, for services to higher education;
  • Jan Burns, head of the School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, for services to people with intellectual disabilities;
  • Philip Carne, donor to the Royal College of Music, for services to philanthropy;
  • Quintin Cutts, professor of computer science education at the University of Glasgow, for services to computing science;
  • Robert Day, chief technology officer at Jisc, for services to information technology;
  • Lynne Duckworth, former director of advancement at the University of Central Lancashire, for services to higher education;
  • Heather Elgood, director of the postgraduate diploma in Asian arts at Soas, University of London, for services to higher education and the arts;
  • Mary Flynn, head of knowledge transfer partnerships and business networks at Queen’s University Belfast, for services to higher education in Northern Ireland;
  • Jennifer Gallagher, professor of oral health strategy at King’s College London, for services to oral health;
  • Patrick Gill, senior fellow in optical frequency standards and metrology at the National Physical Laboratory;
  • Susan Hallam, emerita professor of education and music psychology at UCL Institute of Education, for services to music education;
  • Martin Hendry, head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, for services to public engagement in science;
  • Katharine Heron, professor of architecture at the University of Westminster, for services to architecture and higher education;
  • Michael Jubb, director at the Research Information Network, for services to the social sciences;
  • Nanette Mutrie, chair of physical activity for health at the University of Edinburgh, for services to physical activity and health in Scotland;
  • Jennifer Rafferty, research accounts manager at the University of Kent, for services to higher education;
  • Jack Scarisbrick, emeritus professor of history at the University of Warwick, for services to vulnerable people;
  • Eleanor Wilson, director of outreach and community engagement at Glasgow Caledonian University, for services to community education in Glasgow.

Among those awarded the British Empire Medal:

  • Alan Lemin, head of student recruitment at Plymouth College of Art, for services to further and higher education and to the community in Cornwall;
  • Trevor Richards, former capital project liaison officer in the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, for services to biomedical research and the welfare of animals in research;
  • Leonard Totton, mail room porter at Queen’s University Belfast, for services to higher education in Northern Ireland.

Awards were also announced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for Britons in recognition of their exceptional service overseas.

The title of Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George was given to:


Among those appointed CBE:


Among those appointed OBE:

  • George Burnett, professor of anthropology at Sichuan Normal University, for services to education and interfaith relations in China;
  • Stephen Hillier, former vice-principal international at the University of Edinburgh, for services to international higher education;
  • John Kirkland, executive secretary of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, for services to international scholarships and Commonwealth universities;
  • Sarah Perrett, principal investigator at the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for services to UK/China relations in the scientific field;
  • Alan Whiteside, former executive director of health economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, for services to science and strategic interventions to curb HIV/Aids.

Among those awarded the British Empire Medal:

  • Elizabeth Trail, lecturer at Bishop Barham University College, for education services in Uganda.

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Reader's comments (3)

With apologies to those who dislike this British tradition, but I find there is something charming in the irony of honouring at the same time the academic and the corporatist enforcer "for [presumably different] services to higher education". Happy to read that the former distinctly also receives well deserved recognition "for literary scholarship". Next year let us see someone standing "for services to academic freedom" in the list too? Happy new year everyone.
Is the decision to accept an honour from the Coalition government an endorsement of their education policy? If not will Sir Jonathan and Dame Marina and all those listed here please speak out?
This looks like a pay-off in the case of Thrift: promoting managerial dross (like any corporation, officialese at Warwick now refers to a 'community') and suspending Professor Docherty, a champion of civilised values and a thorn in the flesh of the neoliberal barbarians, for 'sighing inappropriately' does not point to someone who is on the side of the gods.

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