Six leading figures were honoured for their dedication to public service at a Foundation Day event at the University of London this evening (29 November). HRH The Princess Royal presided over the event, which also marked the award of the Royal Charter to the University of London in 1836.
The guests included 18-year-old environmentalist Scarlett Westbrook, who becomes the youngest person to receive an honorary degree from the institution, and Professor Sir Chris Whitty, who helped lead the UK through the COVID pandemic. Lord Victor Adebowale and Baroness Louise Casey were also awarded Honorary Degrees at the Foundation Day event. Baroness Valerie Amos and Professor Sir Edward Byrne became Honorary Fellows.
The evening also showcased 18 fruit trees, one for the University of London and each of its federation members, which will be planted around the estate in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s Green Canopy project.
Scarlett Westbrook, 18, is a climate justice activist and journalist, and was a leading organiser of the British school strikes in 2020. Professor Sir Christopher Whitty is the Chief Medical Officer and alumnus of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; he became a familiar face to the public for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lord Victor Adebowale is Chair of the NHS Confederation and was one of the first individuals to become a People’s Peer after many years leading the charity Turning Point.
Baroness Louise Casey has a distinguished career in public service leading units on national issues such as Rough Sleepers, Troubled Families, and most recently led the independent review of culture and standards at the Metropolitan Police in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving MPS officer. She is an alumna of Goldsmiths. Baroness Amos was Director at the School of Oriental and African Studies, formerly a diplomat who served as the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief and the British High Commissioner to Australia. She is now Master, University College Oxford. Professor Sir Edward Byrne served as Principal of King’s College London and Chairman of King’s Health Partners, previously Vice Chancellor of Monash University.
Professor Thomson said:
This year’s honorary graduates epitomise individuals who have devoted themselves to outstanding public service. Higher education has been a formative part of their experience and these awards reflect the University of London’s commitment to delivering public value and to instilling these values in its students and staff. I feel deeply honoured to award honorary degrees to six people who have worked selflessly to achieve so much and help make the world a better place.