Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE

Honorary graduates 2014-15

Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE (LLD)

Tuesday 15 July 11:45am

Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE was born in Jamaica and travelled to the UK at an early age. After completing an access course as a mature student, she then embarked on a BA Hons Humanities degree. Stephen, Baroness Lawrence’s first son, was murdered in the first year (1993) of her course and she was left with no choice whilst still studying, to challenge the justice system and the police because of their racist behaviour against her family. Baroness Lawrence successfully completed her degree in 1995.

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 because her son Stephen 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.