Honorary Graduates

Middlesex University awards honorary doctorate degrees to recognise people who make an outstanding contribution to their profession, to their community or directly to Middlesex University. Nominations are invited from staff and other members of the Middlesex community. Candidates are normally people who are nationally, internationally or locally distinguished. Our Academic Board considers these nominations, looking to achieve a rich mix of people from different fields.

In July 2013, the following distinguished individuals were awarded honorary doctorate degrees at the Middlesex University Graduation Ceremonies, held at the University's flagship campus in Hendon, north London:

President HigginsMichael D. Higgins

President of Ireland

Michael D. Higgins has served at almost every level of public life in Ireland, including as Ireland’s first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. He was inaugurated as President of Ireland in 2011.

The former factory worker was the first in his family to access higher education, studying at the University College Galway, the University of Manchester and Indiana University.

His career included lecturing in political science and sociology in Ireland and the United States but a desire to work more directly for equality and justice led him to enter public life serving at many levels from Councillor and Mayor to nine years in the Seanad and 25 in Dáil Éireann.

As First Minister for the Arts, his achievements include the reinvigoration of the Irish film industry, the establishment of Teilifísna Gaeilge, now TG4, and the repeal of censorship under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Acts. He also established a network of arts and cultural venues across Ireland.

Throughout his life he has campaigned for human rights and the promotion of peace and democracy in Ireland and in many other parts of the world, from Nicaragua and Chile to Cambodia, Iraq and Somalia. In 1992 he was the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki.

He is also a writer and poet, with work covering Irish politics, sociology, history and culture.

Beatrice LafonBeatrice Lafon

President, Claire’s Accessories Europe

Beatrice Lafon is President of Claire’s Accessories European operations and has over 30 years of pan-European retail experience, underpinned by a record for achieving results. She is known for extensive industry experience in buying and merchandising, strategy and proposition development, coupled with strong operational and leadership skills.

Beatrice has worked with blue chip retailers such as Marks & Spencer, J Sainsburys (where she launched the first DIY transactional website in the world in 2000), BSkyB (part of News Corp) and the Kingfisher Group as well as sizeable private businesses such as River Island, Tchibo and Animal and VC backed businesses.

Since 2000, she has operated at CEO level across Europe and has renowned “turn around” expertise. She most recently led the sale of TJ Hughes in the UK, and the repositioning and return to profitability of The Etam Group in the Netherlands.

Since joining Claire’s in October 2011, Beatrice has effected a raft of changes to reverse a trend of declining sales and profits in Europe. Her ability to get the best out of people, build brands, see and seize opportunities has already yielded positive results.

MarmotProfessor Sir Michael G. Marmot


Director, UCL Institute for Society and Health; MRC Research Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London

Sir Michael Marmot is Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity (Marmot Institute), a MRC Research Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, Chair of the European Review on the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide and also Director at the International Institute for Society and Health.

His expertise has seen him called upon to lead many important projects including chairing the Commission on Social Determinants of Health set up by the World Health Organization in 2005 and conducting a Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010, at the request of the British Government.

He served as President of the British Medical Association in 2010-2011, is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 was knighted for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.

Internationally acclaimed, Professor Marmot is a Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and a former Vice President of the Academia Europaea. He won the Balzan Prize for Epidemiology in 2004, gave the Harveian Oration in 2006, and won the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research in 2008. He is the new President of the British Lung Foundation.

Joanna QuinnJoanna Quinn

Award-winning Animator

Acclaimed animator Joanna Quinn discovered the magic of animation whilst studying for a BA in Graphic Design at Middlesex University, quickly adapting her unique drawing abilities to produce beautifully fluid and dynamic animated passages. Her first film, Girl’s Night Out (1986), won three prizes at the Annecy Animation Festival in 1987 and thrust her into the international animation scene.

Joanna moved to Wales in 1985 and founded Beryl Productions shortly afterwards with her partner, producer/writer Les Mills. The couple have collaborated closely in the production of animated films and as educators ever since.

She has won over 90 international awards, including Emmys, Baftas and Jury prizes at all the major animation festivals. Two of her films, Famous Fred (1996) and The Wife of Bath (1998) received Oscar nominations. Her film, Britannia won her the prestigious Leonardo Da Vinci award in 1993.

Joanna has been honoured with retrospectives of her work all over the world including Rome, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Stuttgart, Zagreb, Hiroshima, Toronto, Montreal, Gothenburg, Bradford, Cordoba, Tampere, Ottawa, Valencia, Slovenia and Taiwan. 2008 saw the culmination of her work in an exhibition called ‘Drawings that Move’, curated by Michael Harvey at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

She is a committed educator and is an Honorary Fellow at the Royal College of Art, London and University of Wales Newport and Honorary Doctor at the University of Wolverhampton. Joanna is now working on the film Dreams & Desires - Affairs of the Art.

Jenny Sealey Jenny Sealey MBE

Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company

Jenny Sealey has been Graeae Theatre Company’s Artistic Director since 1997. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours and became an Artistic Advisor for Unlimited 2012 Festival.

In 2012 Jenny co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings (GDIF). She also won the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award and was named on the Time Out London and Hospital Club h.Club100 list of the most influential and creative people in the creative industries.

Theatre credits for Graeae include Reasons To Be Cheerful (2010 co-produced with The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2012 national tour co-produced with the New Wolsey Theatre and 2012 performance at Southbank Centre), Signs of a Star Shaped Diva, Static (co-production with Suspect Culture), Blasted, Whiter than Snow (co-production with Birmingham Rep), Flower Girls (co-production with The New Wolsey, Ipswich), Peeling, Bent, Iron Man and Rhinestone Rollers.

Other theatre and outdoor credits include Blood Wedding (Setagaya Public Theatre,Tokyo), Romeo and Juliet (Saitama Arts Theatre, Tokyo), Against the Tide (GDIF, Milton Keynes International Festival and The National Theatre’s Watch This Space) and The Garden (GDIF and Southbank Centre).

Teresa TunnadineTeresa Tunnadine CBE

Headteacher, The Compton School, North London

Teresa Tunnadine is headteacher at one of north London’s most successful schools. The Compton is known for its successive ‘outstanding’ OFSTED inspections and dramatic rise in student results over a number of years, leading to the school’s inclusion in the DFE’s 2012 Top 100 Schools for pupil progress.

Her leadership led to The Compton being designated as a ‘Teaching School’, playing a vital role in the professional development of headteachers, teachers and support staff as well as contributing to the raising of standards through school-to-school support. Teresa has also successfully led her school during two multi-million pound building and expansion programmes.

Her success at the helm of the Finchley based school has led to involvement in the London Leadership Strategy, since 2003, where as a National Leader of Education she has been called upon to support other headteachers and schools.

Teresa’s recent system leadership work has included membership of the National Teaching School Council and chairing the London Teaching Schools group. She is also a member of the DFE headteachers’ secondary reference group and will become its vice-chair from September. Working with two other London heads, she is currently leading on the latest London Leadership Strategy programme ‘Securing Good’ which supports secondary schools graded by OFSTED to be ‘satisfactory’ or ‘required to improve’.

In June this year (2013) she was awarded a CBE for her service to education.


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