Baroness Doreen Lawrence with the University’s Chancellor, Baroness Floella Benjamin.

Baronesses team up – University honours Baroness Lawrence

Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon is today (Tues 15 July 2014) an Honorary Graduate of the University of Exeter; as awarded by the University’s Chancellor, Baroness Floella Benjamin. 

Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE DL, Chancellor of the University of Exeter said: “It is my privilege and honour to award an honorary degree to Baroness Doreen Lawrence. Doreen and I go back a long way and, earlier this year, I was overjoyed to be one of her supporters at her introduction into the House of Lords. She continues to keep Stephen's memory alive and make a real difference to society, by holding institutions to account. I embrace her and welcome her into the great Exeter extended family”

Stephen, Baroness Lawrence’s first son, was murdered in 1993, leading her to challenge the justice system and the police.  After enduring the initial bungled investigation, the acquittal of suspects, the Macpherson Report’s findings of institutional racism and its conclusion that ‘Stephen Lawrence’s murder was simply, solely and unequivocally motivated by racism’, a measure of justice was achieved with the conviction of two suspects of Stephen’s murder in January 2012.

Baroness Lawrence is currently the Director of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. She set up the charity in 1998 to give bursaries to young people who want to study architecture as Stephen had aspired and worked towards being an architect. The Stephen Lawrence Centre, built in Stephen’s memory, is situated in Deptford in the London Borough of Lewisham and provides a broader range of the professional and vocational skills that help shape our environment.

Baroness Lawrence was appointed OBE for services to community relations in 2003 and received a life peerage in 2013, taking office in the House of Lords as a Labour Peer in October 2013. She was admitted as an Honorary Freewoman of the London Borough of Lewisham on 14 March 2014 in recognition of her work in seeking justice for her son, Stephen and for creating a positive and dynamic legacy in his honour through the setting up of the Stephen Lawrence Centre and Charitable Trust.

Date: 15 July 2014

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