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Leaders from the world of business, science, sport, academia and the arts named Honorary Graduates

Queen's University Belfast has named leading figures from the world of business, science, sport, academia and the arts Honorary Graduates in 2019.

Lanyon Building at Queen's University Belfast

Distinguished names from the field of academia receiving honorary degrees include:

  • Professor Linda Colley CBE, Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University and member of the research committee of the British Museum
  • Professor Martin McKee CBE, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Other key figures from the world of academia include: Professor Julie Chen, Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at UMass-Lowell and a world-leading expert on nanotechnology and innovations in materials processing and manufacturing; Professor Zhang Guangjun, President of Southeast University, Nanjing and Professor Zhenhua Tang, Associate Professor at Shenzhen University.

Distinguished names from the fields of business and commerce including Frank Kirkland, the Chief Designer in Civil Aerospace for Rolls-Royce; Dame Judith Hackitt, British engineer and Chair of manufacturing trade body Made UK; Dr Norman Apsley OBE, former Chief Executive Officer of the NI Science Park (now Catalyst Inc); Jayne Brady MBE, Partner at Kernel Capital and Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund; and Eugene Murtagh, Founder and Chairman of the Kingspan Group, will each receive an honorary doctorate for their services to engineering, business and commerce.

Three times all–Ireland winning Down GAA Football star and former Queen’s GAA senior team coach, Seán O'Neill; along with world superbike champion, Jonathan Rea MBE will be honoured for distinction in sport.

Canadian journalist and the BBC’s chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet OBE, along with BBC Northern Ireland journalist and political commentator, Mark Carruthers OBE will both receive honorary doctorates for their services to broadcasting.  County Antrim chef, Clare Smyth MBE, recently named as the World’s Best Female Chef, and Richard Parkes MBE, Pipe Major of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band, one of the most respected pipers and pipe band leaders in the world, are two local recipients of honorary degrees in 2019.

Greg Quinn, British High Commissioner to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and a native of Northern Ireland; and Margaret Murphy, External Lead Advisor for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Patients for Patient Safety Programme and one of WHO’s first 21 patient advocates are also among the recipients.

Queen's awards honorary degrees to individuals who have achieved high distinction or given significant service in one or more fields of public or professional life, and who serve as ambassadors for the University and Northern Ireland around the world.

The full list of honorary degrees to be awarded is as follows:

  • Dr Norman Apsley OBE, DSc Econ for services to business and commerce
  • Jayne Brady MBE, DSc Econ for services to business and commerce
  • Mark Carruthers OBE, DLit for distinction in broadcasting
  • Professor Julie Chen, DSc Eng for distinction in engineering
  • Professor Linda Colley CBE, DLit for distinction in history
  • Lyse Doucet OBE, DUniv for services to broadcasting
  • President Zhang Guangjun, DSc for distinction in science
  • Dame Judith Hackitt, DSc Eng for distinction in engineering
  • Frank Kirkland, DSc Eng for distinction in engineering
  • Professor Martin McKee CBE, DMedSc for distinction in medicine and science
  • Margaret Murphy, DUniv for distinction in public services
  • Eugene Murtagh, DSc Econ for services to business and commerce
  • Sean O’Neill, DUniv for distinction in sport
  • Richard Parkes MBE, DLit (Mus) for services to music
  • Greg Quinn, LLD for distinction in public services
  • Jonathan Rea MBE, DUniv for distinction in sport
  • Clare Smyth MBE, DUniv for services to the hospitality industry
  • Professor Zhenhua Tang, DSSc for distinction in education.

Honorary degrees are presented during Summer and Winter Graduation Weeks in July and December.



Media enquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen’s Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 3259 or email: