“It is the brain, the little grey cells on which one must rely” - engineering, drama and business celebrated at graduation ceremonies.

Posted on 1st November 2017

One of the country’s most prolific engineers will join a famous face from stage and screen and a leading figure in the field of communications in Cheshire to receive honorary degrees on Wednesday, November 1.

Wesnesday, November 1

  • At 9.30am in Ceremony four, Dame Sue Ion FREng, FRS will receive a Doctor of Engineering, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the nuclear industry and the wider world of engineering.

Dame Sue Ion is Hon-President of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. She was Chairman of the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) until April this year. She represents the UK on a number of international review and oversight committees for the nuclear sector including the Euratom Science and Technology Committee, which she chairs. She is the only non US member of the US Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, on which she has served since 2005.

She was a non-Executive Director on the Board of the Laboratory of the UK Health and Safety Executive from 2006-2014. She has been a member of the ONR Technical Advisory Panel since September 2014. She spent 27 years with BNFL, rising to the position of Chief Technology Officer in 1992, a post she held until the Company was wound up in 2006. Sue served on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology from 2006-2012.

She has been a Member of the Board of the University of Manchester since 2004 and holds a visiting Professorship at Imperial College.

The University of Chester’s first Engineering students graduate on Tuesday, October 31, after the institution was the first in the UK for more than two decades to establish a new Faculty, based at Thornton Science Park, to teach the engineers of the future.

She said: “I am very honoured to have been awarded Doctor of Engineering by the University. I am proud to be linked with one of the NW premier institutions for teaching and one which in recent times has made significant investments in science and engineering. It gives me great pleasure to be associated with the University of Chester, given its heritage and its reputation.”

  • At 11.45am in Ceremony five, David Suchet CBE will receive a Doctor of Letters, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to drama and the arts.

Born on May 2, 1946, David went to boarding school aged eight and then to Wellington Public School, Somerset. He played Macbeth in a school production, before joining the National Youth Theatre. He went on to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, leaving as a prize-winning student. He then spent four years around the repertory theatres in England followed by 13 years playing leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and London.

He married actress Sheila Ferris in 1976 and the couple have two children - Robert and Katherine.

In 1989, David took the title role of Hercule Poirot in the long-running television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Television Society for his 25-year role as the fictional TV detective in 2014. David’s long and illustrious acting career also includes roles in theatre, film, and radio plays, as well as audiobooks and voice-over narrations.

In 2013, David made a recording of the whole Bible (unabridged) which now has a worldwide outreach. This year he read the whole of St Mark’s Gospel to a capacity audience in St Paul’s Cathedral.

His many awards include: an Olivier Award for the Best Revival of Long Day’s Journey into Night; a What’s on Stage award for his role as Joe Keller in All My Sons; and an International EMMY Award for Best Actor when he played Robert Maxwell.

David is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Freeman of the City of London. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in June 2002 and a CBE in 2011 for Services to Drama.

He said: “To receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Chester is a great honour and provides another piece of the jigsaw in my relationship with the city, as the Gateway Theatre Chester was my very first professional acting job in 1969.”

  •  At 3pm in Ceremony six, John Greaves will receive a Master’s of Business Administration, for his outstanding contribution to external and internal communications at MBNA and more recently, as a board member of Marketing Cheshire.

John Greaves joined HomeServe UK as Director of Public Relations and then became Brand Director. John reports to the UK Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for internal and external communication, engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility and community engagement, content marketing, social media, public affairs and the HomeServe brand globally. At HomeServe, John has created and led a number of award-winning communications campaigns and has helped the company to become a Glassdoor top-three place to work in the UK.

Before joining HomeServe, John worked in Chester at MBNA/Bank of America for 13 years as UK Communications Director and, before that, at Bank of Scotland in a senior corporate affairs role. John's jobs at both MBNA and Bank of Scotland involved supporting the Chester community through a range of activities and investments.

John is married to Rachel and they live in Birkenhead, Merseyside. They have four children, one of whom has just graduated from university and another in his second year. In his limited spare time, John is a Liverpool Football Club season ticket holder and also the drummer of Wirral's premier Dad-Rock combo, The B-Sides.

He said: “I am truly humbled and exceptionally proud to be the recipient of an Honorary Degree from the University of Chester. I worked in the city for 16-plus years and was so lucky to have jobs that allowed me to get involved in some incredible projects that did, I hope, good things for the community, helped people along the way and have had a lasting impact.

“Many of these initiatives were in partnership with the University of Chester and I was always in awe of the vision and drive of the University leaders, who have created the world-class institution we see today.

“Someone in my family joked recently that I was receiving an Honorary Degree for "giving other people's money away". If that is the case and that money has made a difference, then I think that is a pretty good reason.”