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Stuart Chambers

Doctor of Business Administration 

Stuart Chambers is the chairman of Rexam and ARM Holdings and a visiting fellow at the Said Business School. He was previously the Chief Executive of the NSG Group, and is only one of two British men to run a Japanese company, following Sir Howard Stringer, the former President of Sony.

Stuart, who now lives in Cheshire, was born in Brunei and went to school in Asia until 1972 when he returned to the UK with his parents at the age of 16. After graduating with a BSc in Applied Physics, Stuart held roles at both oil giant, Shell and the Mars Corporation, which led to posts across the UK, Europe and North America.

In 1996, he joined Pilkington. In 2006, the Nippon Sheet Glass Company Limited (now the NSG Group) acquired Pilkington plc to form one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass and glazing products for the building, automotive and speciality glass markets, employing 32,500 people worldwide. Stuart took over as Chief Executive in 2008. Stuart has also been Chair of the Northwest Business Leadership Team, and a non-executive director of Smiths Group plc.

Polly Dangerfield

Master of Education

As the Head Teacher of one of only four specialist dance schools in the UK, Polly Dangerfield has played a huge role helping talented youngsters flourish.

Polly, who now lives in Oxford, became Head Teacher of The Hammond School, in Chester in 1990; a post she held with distinction for 18 years, retiring in 2008. Under her leadership, the School became the only government-funded dance school in the North West, offering training to pupils from the age of 11. This ensured that students with real talent, irrespective of background were able to receive the training needed to develop their skills.

Polly has also been governor of Hoole Primary School, and has served on a number of regional and national committees on dance and education. She has also been a team inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate for over 10 years. In 2004, Polly cycled 1,500 miles around the coast of Ireland, raising more than £15,000 to build a much-needed performance space for The Hammond School. This has led to further charity cycles throughout the world; her last ride in 2007 was to raise funds to support the education of the Karen Hill Tribes in northern Thailand.

John Richards OBE DL

Master of Arts

As a pioneer of British motoring, John Richards OBE became Chief Executive of Project Zircon, leading a world-class team to build a super car, with an all-new V12 engine, incorporating all that is best in British motoring. He also led the highly regarded campaign to keep Rolls Royce and Bentley British.

John, from Macclesfield, in Cheshire, has had a long-standing interest in different forms of transportation; between 1975 and 1985 he worked for Horse and Driving Magazine, later becoming Managing Director, and is currently Chairman of the Carriage Foundation and a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Coach Makers and Coach Harness Makers. Holding senior posts for a Texan bank and airports company, Omniport plc, representing his country at the World and European Carriage Driving Championships, and becoming Chairman and Trustee of National Crimebeat, between 2004 and 2007, are just some of his notable achievements.

In 2002-3, John held the post of High Sheriff of Cheshire, founding the High Sheriff’s Prize for Music in collaboration with Chetham’s School of Music, and the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature in collaboration with the University of Chester. John has written and published extensively, from his novel, The Gods of Fortune, to the Duke of Edinburgh’s book, Competition Carriage Driving. In 2007, he became a Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire, and in the same year was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Sandra Rudd

Master of Arts 

Sandra Rudd received a Master of Arts for her outstanding contribution in supporting the University with great distinction and her wider contribution to public life in Chester.

As well as being a tremendously supportive and loyal member of the University’s Governing Body, Sandra Rudd has been very active in local politics since the early 1990s. In 1997, she took up the post of Executive Secretary to Christine Russell, Chester’s first Labour MP, and managed Christine’s Parliamentary office in Chester. She was herself elected to Chester City Council in 1994, sitting on numerous committees, and served as Sheriff of Chester in 2003-2004, Deputy Lord Mayor in 2005-2006, and Lord Mayor in 2006-2007. She was also made an Honorary Alderman of the city.

David Briggs MBE

Master of Arts

David Briggs MBE received a Master of Arts for his outstanding contribution in supporting the High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise and his wider contribution to public service in Cheshire. As well as diverse commercial interests, including serving as Managing Director of Dawsons Music Ltd, one of the country’s leading musical instrument retailers in the UK, David Briggs has been involved in several charitable and community activities.

A Director of Warrington Youth Club, he became President of St John Ambulance Cheshire in 1982, is Chairman of the Council of St John of Jerusalem for Cheshire, and was awarded an MBE earlier this year. As the High Sheriff of Cheshire in 2006-2007, he set up two new High Sheriff Awards – the High Sheriff’s Award for Young Citizenship, and the High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise, organised in conjunction with the University.

The late Ken Dodd OBE

Doctor of Letters

Ken Dodd OBE received a Doctor of Letters in recognition of his outstanding contribution as an entertainer and to charitable works in the region. A household name as a stand-up comedian, singer-songwriter, actor and all-round entertainer, Ken Dodd had a reputation unique in the annals of show-business.

With acting roles ranging from Shakespeare to Dr Who, 19 songs in the UK top 40, 100 million records sold worldwide, record breaking seasons at the London Palladium, and a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest ever joke-telling session, Ken Dodd was the variety act par excellence.

Appointed OBE in 1982, he was also known for the enormous amount of time and energy he devoted to charity work. The Ken Dodd Charitable Trust supports numerous charities, and he worked tirelessly to raise funds for Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology.

Jeremy Taylor

Master of Business Administration

Jeremy Taylor received a Master of Business Administration in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public life in Cheshire.

Jeremy Taylor has spent the past 30 years making an enormous contribution to Cheshire, initially as Personnel Director of Cheshire County Council, then as Director of Corporate Policy and Director of Community Development, during which time he was the prime instigator in bringing the RHS Show to Tatton Park, before becoming Chief Executive in 2002.

He has also been active in the voluntary and charitable spheres, for example serving as Director of The Prince’s Trust for Cheshire.

Josephine Sykes MBE DL

Master of Arts

Josephine Sykes received a Master of Arts in recognition of her outstanding contribution in producing the Chester Mystery Plays, and her wider contribution to the University and local community.

Josephine is being honoured by the University she loyally served for more than 40 years, and from 1993 to 2003, she essentially devised, produced and directed the graduation ceremonies.

Alongside her professional life, Jo Sykes has made a valued contribution to culture in Chester. With a strong interest in amateur theatre, she is currently Chairman of the Chester Mystery Plays company, and oversaw a performance of the Mystery Plays in Liverpool Cathedral as part of the city’s Capital of Culture year.  She was made an MBE in the 2015 New Year Honours list.

The Earl of Derby DL

Doctor of Business Administration

The Earl of Derby received a Doctor of Business Administration in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the promotion of business enterprise in the region.

With ancestors including the 14th Earl of Derby, the three times Prime Minister and one of the founders of the University, the Earl of Derby spends most of his time overseeing the management of the Knowsley Estate, which includes Knowsley Safari Park and Knowsley Hall.

He has become increasingly involved in around 100 voluntary, charitable and sporting organisations, including serving as Local Area Patron of the Prince’s Trust, as President of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, and as Life President of the Rugby Football League. He also energetically pursues his family’s traditional interest in racing with his Stanley House Stud in Newmarket, and the great mare Ouija Board, twice Horse of the Year.

The Late Peter Roberts

Doctor of Letters

Peter Roberts received a Doctor of Letters in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of the University. Peter has devoted an enormous amount of time to helping a number of educational establishments, especially the Queen’s School in Chester, where he was Chairman of the Governing Body for six years, and at the University of Chester. His contribution to the University as a governor and a member of Council has been immense.

Earlier in life, Peter undertook National Service, when he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps and posted as 2nd lieutenant to Khartoum and, after studying at Oxford, he opted for a commercial career, working overseas for BP and later Alfred McAlpine.

Professor Edward Gregson

Doctor of Music

Professor Edward Gregson received a Doctor of Music in recognition of his outstanding contribution both in composing and the leadership of one of England’s foremost conservatoires.

Professor Gregson is a composer of international standing, whose music has been performed, broadcast and recorded worldwide. Down the years, he has completed commissions for many of the world’s major orchestras, while his music for the theatre includes commissions from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

One of the UK’s most highly regarded composers, he was nominated in 1988 for an Ivor Novello Award for his title music to BBC television’s Young Musician of the Year programmes, for which he has regularly officiated as a jury member and broadcaster. In 1996, he became Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, a post he held with distinction until his retirement in 2008.