Staffordshire University prepares to welcome thousands to its Autumn Awards ceremonies

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More than 4,000 graduands will be recognised for their academic achievements at Staffordshire University’s Award Ceremonies.

The celebrations are to take place over 26 ceremonies between Monday 15 November and Monday 29 November and will be attended by almost 10,000 guests.

The ceremonies, to be held at the King’s Hall in Stoke, recognise the achievements of graduates from the Class of 2020 – whose ceremonies were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as this year’s graduating cohorts.

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL said: “A return to in-person events means that we can, at long last, recognise the significant achievements of our graduating classes.

“All of our graduates have shown tremendous resilience and determination to complete their awards during the pandemic – many of them juggling study and family commitments and some even taking their place on the NHS frontline. We are immensely proud of what they have achieved and hope the ceremonies will provide them an opportunity to feel proud of themselves and each other.”

The ceremonies will also feature the bestowal of honorary degrees on people who have made significant contributions in their field of work and who share the University’s values.

This year’s recipients include Darren Birt, Director of Crewe-based FHL and Paul Farmer OBE, Managing Director of Wade Ceramics, who are recognised for their significant contributions to business and economic development. Also recognised with the award of Honorary Doctor of the University is former Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy.

International Relations graduate Nihad Alihodzic will become an Honorary Doctor of the University in recognition of his work to eliminate chemical weapons in countries including Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Professor Mark Radford, Health Education England (HEE) Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Nurse for England, is being recognised for his work as a highly respected and influential healthcare leader who has devoted his career to the development of innovative approaches to healthcare, which deliver on both quality and patient safety.  Professor Radford has also played a leading role in the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has led HEE’s response to the crisis, ensuring nursing and midwifery students are given the opportunity to support frontline colleagues, and have access to the information and support they need.

Professor Barnes added: “We’re delighted to be joined for our 2021 Award Ceremonies by our new inspirational honorary graduates who can now don their cap and gown, celebrate their achievements and share their experience and wisdom with our graduands.”

Graduates are to be congratulated on their achievements by Chancellor of Staffordshire University, the Lord Stafford; Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL and Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Designate Professor Martin Jones.

Schedule of ceremonies for honorary graduates:

Notes to editors: If you would like to attend any of the ceremonies or wish to receive photographs of our honorary graduates, please contact Communications Manager Maria Scrivens on 07766 520339 or email

Maria Scrivens

Communications Manager

t: 01782 294375

m: 07766 520339


Staffordshire University is the Connected University; connected to the needs of students, academic partners, business and society. Our main city campus in Stoke-on-Trent features excellent learning and teaching facilities and good transport links. We have specialist Centres of Excellence in Healthcare Education at Stafford and Shrewsbury.  

We were recognised with a Gold award in the 2019 Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) for delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for students.  

We were shortlisted for University of the Year at the THE Awards 2020 and were named ‘Midlands University of the Year’ at the Midlands Business Awards 2020. 
Staffordshire University has signed up to the Civic University Agreement, pledging to play a leading role in improving the regional economy and enhancing quality of life in local communities. We were recognised in the top 15 for social inclusion in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. We aim to be a leading university for digital technologies building on our proud computing heritage and in 2019 launched Staffordshire University London’s Digital Institute which is committed to preparing students for careers in new and emerging tech industries. 

We are a Top 250 Young University (Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2020) and are connected globally, with more than 11,000 people studying Staffordshire University degrees overseas.