This year, the University will honour some of its alumni, notable individuals from the South West area and key figures who have made a significant contribution within their field and to society, nationally and internationally. Read our news story Former Home Secretary, legendary journalist and record-breaking female sailor among University of Exeter honorary graduates.
Honorary graduates 2018
Ruth Hunt is the Chief Executive of Stonewall. Since taking office in 2014, she has secured Stonewall's place as the leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, overseeing a 50 per cent increase in the charity's income and the steady growth of its structure.
Ruth has redefined Stonewall's role as a charity, taking it from one that enables change to one that empowers others to make change happen.
John Simpson CBE
BBC World Affairs Editor, John Simpson is a journalist, broadcaster, columnist and accomplished author.
Born in 1944 and educated at St Paul's School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, John joined the BBC in 1966.
Dr Simon Timson
Simon's career in high performance sport began whilst studying physical education at the University of Exeter. He was selected for the British Bobsleigh Team in 1990, winning a European Cup silver medal a year later.
Now LTA/British Tennis Performance Director, Simon is leading a strategy to make Great Britain one of the most respected nations in the world for player development.
Professor Sir John Savill, FRSE FMedSci FRS
John Savill graduated in physiological sciences from Oxford in 1978 and in medicine from Sheffield in 1981. He received a PhD (London) in 1989. He spent seven years in the Department of Medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, with spells as an MRC Clinical Training Fellow and Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow.
Professor Sir Simon Charles Wessely, FMedSci
Professor Sir Simon Wessely is Professor of Psychological Medicine and Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King's College London and a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at King's College and the Maudsley Hospitals.
Simon studied medicine and history of art at Cambridge, and finished his medical training at Oxford.
The Right Honourable Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson was General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union before entering Parliament as Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle in 1997. He served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that, he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Felix Barrett MBE
Felix Barrett is founder and Artistic Director of Punchdrunk, a world-renowned company whose work is recognised internationally as pioneering game-changing ways for audiences to experience culture.
Sir Robin Nicholson FRS
Sir Robin Nicholson, FRS, FREng, is a scientist and businessman. He graduated in Natural Sciences at Cambridge in 1956 specialising in metallurgy. He then gained a PhD by carrying out research on strong metallic alloys using pioneering techniques of transmission electron microscopy of thin crystalline materials. He became a Lecturer in metallurgy at Cambridge before joining Manchester University as Professor and Head of the Department of Metallurgy in 1966.
Professor Raymond J. St. Leger
Raymond St Leger is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland. His research program uses fungal parasites of insects and other animals as models for understanding and hence combating infectious processes in general. This work has yielded an abundance of both new methods and new discoveries, so that insect pathogenic fungi have become an important model system, as well as offering a source of innovation for agricultural, medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Robert McCrum, who was born and educated in Cambridge, is a writer and editor whose most recent book, Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame, was published by Picador to great acclaim in 2017, when it was also serialised on BBC Radio 4.
Professor Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of four collections of poetry: Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq's Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000), which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet, and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.
Dr Barbara Vann DL
After 23 years as a headteacher of two secondary schools, Barbara became Chair of Cornwall NHS Partnership Foundation Trust in 2015. Barbara holds an MA from the University of Leicester (1993) and a PhD from the University of Tasmania (2006). She was Chair of the National Council of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society and an executive of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Management (CCEAM).
Laura Penhaul is a 35 year old Cornish woman, who in 2015-16 set two world records when she led the first all-female crew to row across the Pacific Ocean. After four years in preparation, they set off from San Francisco in April 2015, rowed 9,000nm and after nine months arrived in Cairns, Australia in January 2016.
Laura worked in elite sport for over 12 years having lead physiotherapy support to different teams through their cycles for Rio 2016, London 2012 and Vancouver 2010.
Dr Andrew Garrad CBE
In 1984 Andrew Garrad co-founded the Garrad Hassan Group which grew to become the world's largest renewable energy consultancy. When he retired it had 1,000 staff in 29 countries. It merged with Germanischer Lloyd in 2009 and he became CEO and Chairman of the combined company: GL Garrad Hassan. It is now part of DNV GL of which he was a member of the Supervisory Board until 2016.
Dr Garrad has been professionally involved in wind energy for 35 years and built his first wind turbine in 1971.
Adama Dieng, a Senegalese jurist, is Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. He joined the UN in 2001 as Assistant Secretary- General and Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
During his UN tenure, Mr Dieng has served in a range of capacities, including top expert on Haiti and as the Envoy to Malawi.
Neil Woodford CBE
Neil Woodford is one of the best known fund managers in the UK investment industry. A disciplined, valuation- oriented investment approach has been his hallmark.
Neil graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Economics in 1981 and started working in the City at Dominion Insurance later that year. He joined Reed Pension Fund as a trainee equity analyst in 1983 and, after a spell in a corporate finance role for TSB, started managing money at Eagle Star in 1987.
Jeremy Hughes CBE
Jeremy Hughes joined Alzheimer's Society in November 2010. He is leading the charity in its five year transformational strategy 'New Deal on Dementia' 2017-22. Jeremy co-chairs the Dementia Friendly Communities Champions Group with top broadcaster Angela Rippon for the UK Prime Minister.
Jeremy was previously Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer where he was instrumental in providing visionary leadership, galvanising the charity's research platform and its authority on campaigning and policy.
» Ruth Hunt
Ruth Hunt, CEO, Stonewall, was honoured in recognition of her outstanding contribution to equality and diversity.
» Professor Sir John Savill, FRSE FMedSci FRS
Professor Sir John Savill, FRSE FMedSci FRS, was honoured for his outstanding achievements in the field of medicine.
» Professor Natasha Trethewey
Professor Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014), was honoured for her outstanding achievements in the field of poetry.
» Ms Laura Penhaul
Ms Laura Penhaul, leader of the first all-female crew to row across the Pacific Ocean, was honoured for her outstanding achievements in the field of sport.
» Dr Andrew Garrad CBE
Dr Andrew Garrad CBE, co-founder of Garrad Hassan Group, was honoured for his outstanding achievements in the field of engineering.