University of Hertfordshire presents honorary degrees to artist, playwright, and singer at St Albans Abbey

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:15 11 September 2017

Elaine Paige recieved an honourary degree from the University of Hertfordshire. Pictured with vice-chancellor Prof Quintin McKellar. Picture: Pete Stevens.

Elaine Paige recieved an honourary degree from the University of Hertfordshire. Pictured with vice-chancellor Prof Quintin McKellar. Picture: Pete Stevens.

2017 Pete Stevens

Honorary university degrees from the University of Herts have been awarded to celebrities, local artists and community role-models.

Honourary degree holder Philip Waters with vice-chancellor Prof Quintin McKellar at the University of Hertfordshire. Picture: Greg McClamon.Honourary degree holder Philip Waters with vice-chancellor Prof Quintin McKellar at the University of Hertfordshire. Picture: Greg McClamon.

Honorary university degrees from the University of Herts have been awarded to celebrities, local artists and community role-models.

Honorary doctorates were presented at ceremonies taking place in St Albans Cathedral, alongside 4,000 students who successfully completed their degrees.

Internationally renowned sculptor and environmental artist, Diane Maclean, was awarded the accolade for her stainless steel creations, which use natural light, sound, and kinetic movement.

Diane has lived and worked in St Albans her whole life, and was one of the first students to take the university’s fine art degree in the 1980s.

Diane Maclean at the University of Hertfordshire graduation ceremony 2017. Picture: Pete Stevens.Diane Maclean at the University of Hertfordshire graduation ceremony 2017. Picture: Pete Stevens.

Before completing that course, she was a successful portrait painter - and her work was exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London.

She said she was “deeply honoured” to receive the honorary degree: “The [fine art] degree launched me on a new career which has taken me all over the world, gave me the knowledge, expertise and confidence to exhibit my work and to undertake many public art commissions, culminating recently in my sculpture Open Book being chosen to be donated by her Majesty the Queen to the city of Paris.”

A piece called Mountain, which is now permanently located on a University of Hertfordshire campus, was originally commissioned by London’s Natural History Museum in 2005.

The founding director of Uno Bus, Philip Waters, has also picked up the honorary decoration. Philip is the chairman of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust and the Harpenden Society, and recently retired from his secretary and registrar role at the University of Hertfordshire.

He worked at the university for almost 30 years, starting his career at the university in 1989 when it was Hatfield Polytechnic.

UNO is now 130-vehicle strong and operates services for four universities - Hertfordshire, Northampton, Cranfield and Oxford.

Internationally famous actress and Radio 2 presenter Elaine Paige also picked up an honorary degree. The Barnet born star has recorded 22 solo albums and has won numerous awards - including the Society of West End Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1978 and Variety Club Special Presentation for 40 Years on Stage in 2009.

Elaine is famous for her many musical roles, including in Evita, Cats, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, and Billy - but she also entertains on TV and radio.

Charities supported by the musical legend include The Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, the Breast Cancer Campaign, the Terence Higgins Trust and the Noah’s Ark Hospice.

Secretary and Registrar at the University of Hertfordshire, Sue Grant, said: “We are incredibly proud of our graduates and these ceremonies reward the dedication and impressive achievements of our students. We hope that they, along with their family and friends, will enjoy a day of celebration in the city of St Albans.”

Other celebrities who will receive honorary degrees include The Countess of Verulam and musician Jim Rodford.

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