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Around 5,000 graduates from University of Hull celebrate their amazing success



Thousands of students from the University of Hull will graduate this month at the Bonus Arena bringing more than 24,000 guests to the city as they celebrate all their achievements and hard work of the past few years.

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University’s staff and students, and indeed the wider community, has been challenging but the entire University community has demonstrated remarkable determination and resilience. There is much excitement on campus as staff and students look forward to celebrating all of our graduates from 2021 and 2022.

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “We are all so looking forward to graduation this year; seeing our students cross that stage and be conferred their degree is a highlight in the University calendar.

“This year is all the more special as we recognise both students’ academic success and tremendous personal resilience through the pandemic. We are delighted to be awarding an honorary degree to Dame Sarah Gilbert who played a pivotal role in the development of the Covid vaccine.”

Alongside nearly 5000 graduates will be 12 honorary graduates attending across the 21 ceremonies commencing on Thursday 14 July and taking place over two weeks. Dame Sarah Gilbert and Brian May, CBE, PhD, FRAS are amongst the 12 esteemed and highly-acclaimed honorary graduates, including four University of Hull alumni.

Dr Brian May CBE, founding member of Queen, guitarist, renowned songwriter, skilled producer and beloved performer graduated at the first ceremony on Thursday (14 July) by video link. As well as being an incredibly successful and award-winning musician, Brian is a Doctor of Astrophysics after resuming his studies and achieving his PhD from Imperial College, London in 2007.

Dr Brian May CBE, founding member of Queen, received an honorary degree from the University of Hull.

Brian was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the Music Industry’ and for his charity work. Brian was presented with Doctor of Science, honoris causa at the graduation ceremony on Thursday.

Professor Brad Gibson, Head of the University’s Department of Physics & Mathematics and Director of the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to honour such a famed and accomplished musician and passionate astrophysicist. Dr Brian May’s commitment to astrophysics throughout his successful career in Queen is certainly something to be admired and, indeed, recognised.”

Dame Sarah Gilbert DBE, who is a Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, a University of Hull graduate and co-developer of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, will be presented with Doctor of Science, honoris causa at the ceremony on Thursday 21 July at 4.30pm.

Professor Gilbert joined the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University in 1994 and became part of the Jenner Institute (within NDM) when it was founded in 2005. Her chief research interest is the development of viral vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses.

She leads the Jenner Institute programme in influenza vaccine development and now also works on vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including Nipah virus, MERS, Lassa virus and CCHF virus. Professor Gilbert’s work includes a focus on the rapid transfer of vaccines into GMP manufacturing and first in human trials. Professor Gilbert is currently the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

This vaccine, tested by the University of Oxford in clinical trials of over 23,000 people in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, is now in use in many countries around the world in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Gilbert graduated from the University of Hull in 1986 after researching genetics and biochemistry and achieving a PhD.

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