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Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs, broadcasters and an astronomer to collect honorary degrees and awards from NTU

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has announced the latest recipients of honorary degrees and awards which will be presented during graduation ceremonies at University Hall from 4-13 April 2022.

Sophie Hahn - credit Jodi Hanagan
Sophie Hahn - recipient of NTU honorary degree
Sophie Hahn - credit Jodi Hanagan

Nottingham born Olympic artistic gymnast siblings Ellie and Becky Downie will be receiving honorary degrees: Ellie is the all-around 2017 European gymnastics champion, the first gymnast to win a major all-around title for Great Britain and who competed at the 2016 Olympics. She is the younger sister of Becky, who participated at the 2008 and 2016 Olympics. Becky is also a double European champion and Commonwealth Games champion on the uneven bars as well as the 2019 World silver medallist.

Sophie Hahn MBE is a Paralympian who in 2018, became the youngest athlete to complete the Grand Slam: 100m T38 Commonwealth Champion, 100m T38 European Champion, 100m T38 Paralympic Champion and World T38 100m Champion.

Other honorary degree recipients include Anna Soubry, best known as being the Member of Parliament for Broxtowe from 2010-2019.

Anna left the Conservative Party to form the Independent Group for Change, also known as Change UK in 2019. Anna is now back in her Nottingham Chambers as a criminal barrister.

Marcellus Baz BEM is the founder and CEO of Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing. He was born in a deprived area of Nottingham and groomed into criminality and gang violence before dedicating his life to supporting communities affected by crime and violence.

Alan Heath is an astronomer who first had an interest in astronomical observing 70 years ago and even has an asteroid named after him by the International Astronomical Union - Asteroid 8110.

He was Director of the Saturn Section at the British Astronomical Association for 30 years, Secretary of the Lunar Section and Assistant Director of the Jupiter Section together with a short period as Acting Director of the Solar Section.

Tullis Matson has practiced Artificial Insemination in stallions and freezing semen for over 30 years.

In 2011, Tullis received the Marsh Christian Award for Conservation in Genetic Bio-Diversity, given for the technological advances he has brought to the field of equine semen freezing which has enabled some rare breeds to be collected from and frozen successfully for the first time. In 2019, Tullis also received the Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS) award in the House of Lords.

In 2020, Tullis foaled the first Suffolk Punch foal in the UK to have been born using sex-sorted semen in conjunction with NTU.

Shaun West is the Chairman of the former Covid-19 National Foresight Group, supporting Government and Local Resilience Forums plan effectively to be ahead of the disease impact curve. Shaun was previously Chairman of Lincolnshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF), providing a wealth of experience for his subsequent Whitehall role.

Shaun is a chief officer, having worked across 9 force areas including Nottinghamshire Police. His work has seen him lead in a number of commands, such as public safety, firearms incidents, murder investigations, flooding, to working on a mission in Kosovo.

His present role sees Shaun working across the five forces in the south west of England as the regional Assistant Chief Constable, leading the fight against Serious and Organised Crime, supporting South West Forensics and Counter Terrorism. He holds lead for National Police Chiefs’ Council portfolios of extreme weather and climate change (civil contingencies).

Shaun graduated from Nottingham Trent University with an LLB (Hons) in Law in 1994.

Greg Nugent graduated from NTU in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in Government and Public Policy.

Greg was the Chief Marketing Officer of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, sitting on the executive board of LOCOG through to 2013.

He founded an independent film and media company and produced Rising Phoenix, a landmark feature documentary on the Paralympic Games which won two Emmys.

In 2021 he was the Creative Director and Producer of the COP26 ‘Earth To Cop’ Opening Ceremony. Greg has been awarded both the Olympic and Paralympic Order of Merits.

Michael Kuldip Johal is an entrepreneur who grew the family business to become a leading supplier in the sportswear market employing over 900 people in the UK.

Michael went on to establish a family clothing retail business under the brands First Choice and Clothing Direct, growing to 60 stores in 10 years. In the early 2000s, Michael helped to set up one of the pioneer e-commerce sites in the UK and in India.

He has been Board Director and Vice Chair of the Greater Nottingham Training and Enterprise Council; Board Member of Business in the Community and a founder member of the British Indian Business Forum.

Becky Downie
Becky Downie - NTU honorary degree recipient

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “I am always in awe of the achievements and contributions our Honorary Graduates and award-winning alumni have made. This year is no exception. It is an honour to welcome them to NTU to receive their awards and for our graduates to also hear their inspiring stories.”

The University’s Awards for Outstanding Alumni are as follows:

Adam Roberts graduated from NTU with a degree in Criminology in 2007 and joined the university’s business incubator – the Hive.

He founded a restaurant guide and booking service called Go Dine in 2008 and over the next 13 years raised half a million pounds and grew the company to a team of 15. Alongside this, he also co-founded a food pre-ordering platform for the hospitality sector which sold to Michelin in 2019.

Nicole Crentsil is a Ghanaian-British businesswoman, changemaker, angel investor and cultural curator based in London. She graduated from NTU in 2014 with a BA (Hons) in Product Design.

Nicole is the CEO of Black Girl Fest: a platform and festival dedicated to Black women. With a vision to spark change globally, Black Girl Fest builds projects with the purpose to create a better future for Black women.

In 2021 Nicole was awarded Forbes 30 under 30 for her contribution to arts and culture and Time Out London named her as a ‘visionary’ changing the city for the better.

Lucy Horobin is a Sony Award nominated broadcaster with a career spanning 20 years in radio.

Lucy’s career began when she was studying Broadcast Journalism at NTU from which she graduated in 2003. Her first ever radio show was broadcast on Fly FM.

She spent a summer working at 106 Century FM in Nottingham (now GEM) as part of her degree course work experience. By the time of graduation, Lucy was presenting her own Friday night and Sunday afternoon shows on the station.

She co-created and fronted the Bauer Networks IN:DEMAND show for 5 years, before joining up with JK on Heart. Lucy then hosted Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston before being given her own show on a brand-new station, Heart Dance.

The University’s Awards for Outstanding Alumni Fellows - recognising the remarkable contributions former students make to supporting current students - are as follows:

Carine Nouaket is a qualified Management Accountant and currently works as a Finance Consultant for St. James’s Place.

Carine graduated from NTU in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance. She began her career as an Accounts Payables clerk in a manufacturing industry before entering financial services as a consultant.

She was ranked 8th out of 8000 taking her Enterprise Operations qualification by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), even more impressive as English is not her native language.

Kalisha Sandland graduated with a first-class BSc degree in Zoo Biology and diploma in industry studies from NTU in 2015. Following work experience in various organisations, including as a volunteer at Cikananga Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Centre and Senior Animal Keeper at Peak Wildlife Park, Kalisha is currently an Animal registrar at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Tom Walters is a marketing professional, company director and Account Director at The Dairy Creative Agency in Nottingham. He graduated from NTU in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication and Society.

He also leads The Dairy’s internship programme, maintaining strong relationships with universities and recruiting candidates to work within the business across all areas of marketing.

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    NTU was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards). It was the University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with over 33,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 4,000 and an NTU community representing around 160 countries.

    In the past 15 years, NTU has invested £450 million in tools, technology and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2019 UCAS UG acceptance data) It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    75% of NTU students go on to graduate-level employment or graduate-entry education / training within fifteen months of graduating (Guardian University Guide 2021).

    NTU is 4th globally (and 3rd in the UK) for sustainability in the 2021 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

Published on 28 March 2022
  • Category: Press office