Dundee University to honour leading figures at Winter Graduation

Graudates and University staff exit into the square after last year's Summer Graduation

Dundee University is to confer honorary degrees on three “outstanding” individuals later this month.

The honours will be awarded to Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Dr Frederik Paulsen and Helen Jones in a presentation at the city’s Caird Hall.

Professor Sir Pete Downes, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said this year’s honorary graduates had all “championed causes and made exceptional contributions, often beyond their primary vocation.”

He said: “They have inspired and supported work the University has done that has had significant impact on society, from major environmental projects to addressing inequalities.

“In choosing our honorary graduates we look for people who will inspire our students and staff and we can certainly say that of all three of our guests at this month’s graduation.”

© DC Thomson
Professor Sir Pete Downes

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist best known for her discovery of pulsars — rotating neutron stars that appear to ‘pulse’ because the beam of light they emit can only be seen when it faces the Earth.

Her observation is considered to be one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the twentieth century. She has since been a role model and champion for young students and particularly for women in science.

Dr Frederik Paulsen OBE is an internationally renowned businessman, philanthropist and explorer.

His interests in exploration and conservation have seen him engage with the University’s Centre for Remote Environments and with the South Georgia Heritage Trust, providing support for major environmental projects in South Georgia.

His personal adventures have also seen him become the first human to tour all eight of the Earth’s poles, including a trip in a bathyscape, 14,000 feet to the floor of the Arctic Ocean to touch the “true” North Pole.

Helen Jones is Chief Executive Officer of Leeds GATE (Gypsy and Traveller Exchange), an organisation that has worked for 15 years to improve the quality of life for people from one of the most excluded ethnic minorities in the UK with significantly poorer life chances, health and educational outcomes.

She has worked closely with the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at the university on a major study examining how community engagement can enhance trusts between Gypsy and Traveller communities and health services.

The graduation ceremonies take place in the Caird Hall on November 16 and 17.