Honorary graduates


BPP University's graduation ceremony takes place normally two times per year at the famous Guildhall in London. At each ceremony we are delighted to be able to honour the achievements of leaders who have impacted the professions and businesses that we serve. Listed here are the graduates who BPP University are delighted to have honoured:

Charles Prior – Doctor of Laws

Charles Campbell Leathes Prior, FCA, FCCA is a founder and serves as an Executive Chairman of Woodspeen Training Plc. He co-founded BPP Holdings PLC in 1976 and served as the Chief Executive Officer of BPP Holdings PLC until 2007.

Charles qualified as a Chartered Accountant and trained at Ernst and Young. Charles formed BPP in 1976 to provide enhanced training for trainee accountants and Charles has personally taught many of the leaders of the current accounting profession. Charles has been a Director of Woodspeen Training PLC since 2007.


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Lord Neuberger – Doctor of Laws

Lord David Edmond Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury is an English lawyer and a former Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, and since 2009 has been Master of the Rolls, the second most senior judge in England and Wales. He also serves as a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

Lord Neuberger was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1974, became a Bencher in 1993 and a Queen's Counsel in 1987. He was a Recorder from 1990 to 1996, when he was appointed a High Court Judge in the Chancery Division and received the customary knighthood.

In 2001, he was made Supervisory Chancery Judge of Midland, Wales and Chester, and of the Western Circuits, a post he held until he was promoted to become a Lord Justice of Appeal and a member of the Privy Council.

His rise to the Court of Appeal and then to the House of Lords is one of the quickest in recent times. Three of Lord Neuberger's children are also graduates of BPP.


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Sir Graeme Odgers – Doctor of Business Administration

Sir Graeme Odgers has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in a series of senior positions for diverse public and private sector organisations and is currently Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.

Born in South Africa, Sir Graeme came to England in 1952 to study Mechanical Sciences at Cambridge and subsequently took an MBA at the Harvard Business School. He settled in the UK with his family in 1962, after working in South Africa and the USA before being knighted for services to industry in 1997.


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The Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs DBE – Doctor of Laws

The Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs is the current Chair of the Magisterial Committee of the Judicial Studies Board, Senior Liaison Judge for Diversity, sits on the Attorney General's International Pro Bono committee and is a Fawcett Commissioner.

Throughout her career Mrs Justice Dobbs has worked for a number of Bar Council committees, has been appointed a deputy high court judge and is the first ethnic minority high court judge.

She is a contributing and consultant editor to a number of legal publications and has lectured extensively to university and law students, lawyers, magistrates, judges, police and other professionals. She has taken part in advocacy training for young lawyers both here and abroad and has also been involved in the preparation and organisation of training seminars.

She has been named one of the 100 Great Black Britons and is also in The Times list of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers". She has also won the title of the New Nation Role Model of the Year in 2003. She features in the 2009-2011 Power 100 lists of influential black Britons.


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Ruth Lea – Doctor of Business Administration

Ruth Lea is currently Economic Adviser and Director of Arbuthnot Banking Group plc, and a member of the IEA's Shadow Monetary Policy Committee. She is the author of numerous economic papers and has a high media profile including regular appearances on Question Time and Any Questions?

Prior to joining Mitsubishi Bank in 1988, Ruth spent 16 years in the Civil Service in the Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Central Statistical Office and the Civil Service College - with a break for teaching economics at Thames Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich).

She has served in numerous councils, societies, committees and boards and has also been a judge for several national achievement awards, as well as a Governor of the London School of Economics.

She was Director of Global Vision, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies and Head of the Policy Unit at the Institute of Directors (IoD) and prior to the IoD, was the Economics Editor at ITN. Prior to ITN, she worked in the City for six years and spent over five years at Mitsubishi Bank. She was subsequently employed by Lehman Brothers as their Chief UK Economist, concentrating on the UK economy and markets.


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Richard Price – Doctor of Business Administration

Richard Price, a chartered accountant and tax specialist by training, is one of the three founders of BPP in 1976. In 2002, after 17 years as Chairman of BPP Holdings plc, he was succeeded in this role by Baroness Cohen, the current President of BPP University.

Richard remains fiercely proud of BPP, which he recently described in a press interview as "the UK leader in the field of postgraduate qualifications training for accountants, lawyers, tax specialists, actuaries and other financial professionals".

Richard is currently Chairman of Action Medical Research and of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine. He is a Council Member of the Royal College of Music and between 2005 - 2011 was Chairman of EDI plc, the awards body.


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Jeff Randall – Doctor of Business Administration

Jeff presents Jeff Randall Live on Sky News; a programme that focuses primarily on business and politics. Additionally, he is Editor-at-Large of The Daily Telegraph where he writes a weekly column on financial issues, politics and other current affairs. Earlier in his career, he also held numerous positions in other publications such as the Sunday Times, Sunday Business and received numerous awards.

Jeff worked for the BBC as business editor and has also presented weekly radio shows and made documentaries for BBC Five Live, ITV, Sky and BBC Radio Four.

He recently became a Visiting Fellow of Oxford University's Saïd Business School.


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The Right Honourable Lord McFall of Alcluith – Doctor of Business Administration

Lord McFall is a former deputy head teacher who embarked upon his parliamentary career when he was elected Labour MP for Dumbarton, Scotland.

He was a whip and junior minister for Education, Training and Employment, Health and Community Relations, then for Economy and Education at the Northern Ireland Office.

During his time in Westminster, he held a number of senior positions including Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland office, and Deputy Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, where his responsibilities included the criminal justice system, the environment and agriculture.

He was a member of a number of committees, ranging from the Retail Industry Group and the Defence Committee and until his retirement from the House of Commons, was Chair of two Regeneration Companies in his constituency.

More recently, he was made a life peer as Baron McFall of Alcluith and became a member of the House of Lords, and maintains a great interest in the economy and all matters relating to finance.


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Charles B Tilley – Doctor of Business Administration

Charles is currently Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and leads the Senior Management Team, as well as being a commentator on a range of corporate governance and financial management issues. Charles was the architect of the growth of CIMA as one of the pre-eminent world qualifications for accountants. His work in bringing together CIMA with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) marks him out as one of the great thought leaders in accountancy education of our age.

Prior to joining CIMA in 2001, Charles Tilley was a partner at KPMG and subsequently held senior positions in the investment banks Hambros and Granville Baird.


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The Right Honourable Lord Justice Ward – Doctor of Laws

As a young man, Sir Alan Ward practised as an Attorney of the Supreme Court of South Africa and was occasionally instructed by Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo (then in practice in Johannesburg), to act as their agent in Supreme Court in Pretoria. Unhappy with the political situation in South Africa he went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1961 to read law (M.A., LL.B) and is now an Honorary Fellow of the College.

He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1984, a Recorder in 1985 and in 1988 a Judge of the High Court assigned to the Family Division. He was subsequently appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and made a Privy Counsellor afterwards. Lord Justice Ward was the first Chairman of BPP University Law School's advisory board in the early 1990s.


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His Honour Judge John Philips CBE - Doctor of Laws

His Honour Judge John Phillips studied Classics at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and was a founder and performer of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, which became the Resident Quartet at York University.

He left the quartet to read for the Bar and funded his studies by freelance playing with London orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. He was called to the Bar shortly afterwards and started to practise in Manchester, concentrating on civil work.

He has since held numerous positions and was the Resident Judge at Carlisle Crown Court. His Honour Judge Philips was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the criminal justice system, and was appointed the founding Director of Studies at the Judicial Studies Board as it became the Judicial College. His Honour Judge Philips is a pioneer in legal education and training for the Judiciary.


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Helen Brand OBE – Doctor of Business Administration

Helen Brand is the chief executive of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), one of the main global professional bodies for professional accountants. Under Helen's direction, ACCA offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

Since joining ACCA in 1996, Helen has developed considerable experience and has worked closely with IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants) in an advisory capacity.

Helen is also a member of the Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Supervisory Board and the Governance Committee of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), and was also awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2011 for services to accountancy.


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Lord Chris Holmes - Doctor of Laws

Lord Holmes is one of Britain’s greatest Paralympians, amassing nine gold, five silver and two bronze medals across four Games, including a haul of six golds at Barcelona 1992. Last year Lord Holmes entered the House of Lords as Baron Holmes of Richmond MBE. He sits on the Digital Skills Select Committee which is looking at how well the UK is meeting increasing demand for digital skills. Lord Holmes is also a Non-Executive Director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was Director of Paralympic Integration at the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG); a vital role in ensuring consistent delivery across the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.

Prior to working for LOCOG Chris worked as a practicing lawyer and has also worked as a freelance journalist and broadcaster at sporting events across the world. He undertakes regular speaking engagements for corporate, sporting and community based organisations. He was awarded an MBE in 1993 for services to British sport.


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Lord Nicholas Phillips - Doctor of Laws

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers is a retired Law Lord and past President of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Lord Phillips was called to the Bar in 1962, and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1978. During his time at the Bar, he specialised in Commercial Law and Admiralty Law. He was appointed a Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division in 1987, where he sat in the Commercial Court. After becoming a Lord Justice of Appeal and being appointed to the Privy Council in 1995, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1999, appointed Master of the Rolls in 2000 and Lord Chief Justice in 2005. Lord Phillips was appointed as Senior Law Lord in 2008 and oversaw the transition of the House of Lords to the Supreme Court in 2009, when he became the Court’s first President, a position which he retained until 2012.

A Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter, Lord Phillips is currently a Dickson Poon Distinguished Fellow and Visiting Professor at King’s College London, a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Mansfield College Oxford, the President of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre, and a non-permanent Judge on the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong.


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Simon Thompson - Doctor of Business Administration

Simon Thompson was appointed Chief Executive of the Chartered Banker Institute – the oldest institute of bankers in the world – in 2007. The Institute works throughout the UK, and internationally, to develop the ethical, professional and technical competence of bankers, to help rebuild confidence and trust in the banking industry, and restore pride to the banking profession.

In 2011, Simon led the establishment of the Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board (CB:PSB), an industry body founded by the Chairs and CEOs of all the leading UK high-street banks, which develops and implements professional standards for all bankers designed to enhance and sustain a culture of customer-focused, ethical professionalism in banking. He is a Board member of the CB:PSB and chairs the CB:PSB’s Professional Standards Committee. Before joining the Institute, Simon was responsible for managing the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB), developing ethics and education standards for accountants worldwide. He previously worked for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), establishing ACCA in Central & Eastern Europe, and leading a number of EU and other donor-funded accounting education and reform programmes.

Simon holds a BA (Politics and Economics) from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (FCIBS), and a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (MCIPD).

Simon is also Chair of the Wojtek Memorial Trust, a charity raising funds to commemorate the life of Wojtek, “the Soldier Bear”, and the men and women who lived and fought with him during the Second World War. He is also Executive in Charge of the Committee of Scottish Bankers and a lay member/Audit Committee Chair of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. From 2008 to 2013 he was a Board Member and Vice-President of the European Bank Training Network.


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Lord Hope of Craighead - Doctor of Laws

Lord Hope of Craighead (David Hope) was born in Edinburgh in 1938. Having read classics at the University of Cambridge he studied law at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated LLB in 1965. In the same year he was admitted to practise at the Scottish Bar as a member of the Faculty of Advocates. He remained in private practice there for 24 years. During that time he was Standing Junior Counsel in Scotland to the Board of Inland Revenue from 1974 to 1978, became a Queen’s Counsel in 1978, and was an Advocate Depute (prosecuting for the Crown in the High Court of Justiciary) from 1978 to 1982. From 1986 to 1989 he was Dean of the Faculty of Advocates (Chairman of the Scottish Bar). In 1989 he was appointed direct from the bar to the bench as Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session. He held these offices for seven years until 1996, when he was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. In 2009 he was appointed to be the second senior Lord of Appeal. Later that year the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords was transferred to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and he became its first Deputy President. He retired from that office in 2013 and is now active as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords.

He was made a Privy Councillor in 1989 and a Life Peer in 1995. He was appointed to be a Knight of the Order of the Thistle in 2009. He is an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. From 1998 to 2013 he was Chancellor of Strathclyde University, where he is now an Emeritus Professor. He was also Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, which is part of the School of Advanced Studies in the University of London. He is a former President of the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association.


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John Longworth - Doctor of Business Administration

John Longworth was appointed Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce on 5th September 2011.

John Longworth originally trained as a scientist. Over the course of his career, he has served as an Executive Main Board Director of Asda Group Ltd and Asda Financial Services Ltd, and held senior director positions at Tesco Stores Ltd and the CWS Ltd.

His public roles have included the Board of a Healthcare Trust and the British Retail Consortium. He was economic spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry, Chairman of its Distributive Trades Panel and Chairman of the Brussels based CIES International Product Standards and Trade Body.

A former Health and Safety Commissioner and Chairman of the HSE Audit Committee, John also sat on the original Deregulation Task Force. He assisted a leading Healthcare Trust to establish a commercial and marketing operation, and currently has a portfolio career as chair and founder of a venture capital-backed science and professional services business, SVA Ltd; non-executive director at the Co-operative Group Food Ltd; non-executive Director of Nichols plc; and trustee of the social enterprise P3.


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Anton Colella - Doctor of Business Administration

Anton Colella became Chief Executive of ICAS in October 2006. Previously he was the Chief Executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), from December 2003 to October 2006, following a period as Director of Qualifications.

He was elected Chair of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA) in November 2011. The GAA has around one million members in 165 countries, and represents a collection of leading institutes from around the world.

Anton became an Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Glasgow in 2012 and joined the University of Glasgow’s Strategic Advisory Board in 2011. He is a Council member of the Confederation of British Industry Scotland (CBI) and a Trustee of Columba 1400, an award winning social enterprise and charity to help young people realise their potential. Anton is also Chairman of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS). SCIS is an independent educational charity representing over 70 member schools in Scotland which educate more than 32,000 children.

A graduate of the University of Stirling, Anton’s career began as a teacher of Religious Education. Before joining the SQA he was Depute Head Teacher at St Margaret Mary’s Secondary School in Glasgow.

Anton lives in Glasgow with his wife, two daughters and two sons. His main interests are his family, rugby, eating out and spending time in the Highlands of Scotland.


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Melvyn Hughes - Doctor of Laws

Melvyn Hughes was educated at the Royal Grammar school, Newcastle upon Tyne and at St Catherine’s College, Oxford where he was awarded a scholarship to read Jurisprudence.

He joined Slaughter and May in May 1974 as a trainee solicitor. After he qualified in 1976, Melvyn worked as an assistant solicitor in the firm’s commercial department, advising on a wide variety of banking, financial, commercial and corporate matters.

After he became a partner in Slaughter and May in 1983, Melvyn’s work became more specialised and he developed a practice advising banks and corporations on a range of banking, project financing, asset financing and derivatives transactions.

Melvyn was a member of Slaughter and May’s partnership board from 1986 until 2008, one of the firm's two executive partners from 1993 until 2001 and sole executive partner from 2001 until he retired in 2008.

He was Chairman of the city of London law society's training and education committees and chairman of the committee of city law firms which promoted and helped to implement the city legal practice course. He has also been a member of the advisory council of the faculty of law at Oxford University, a member of the Barbican Advisory Group and a governor of Sevenoaks school.


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Sheila Edmunds - Doctor of Business Administration

Sheila Edmunds is an exceptionally talented sportswoman, business professional, teacher, coach and pioneer who laid the foundations of women’s football by becoming a founding member of the historic Doncaster Belles women’s football club in 1969.

Sheila played for 25 years and, as captain, won many League Championships and six FA Cup finals. She helped young talent rise through the ranks, most notably Gillian Coultard, who became the first women’s footballer to reach 100 caps for England. In 2008, 40 years after Sheila started playing football, the Football Association recognised her commitment and leadership with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She also received The Torch Trophy Trust Award for voluntary work in sport.

Despite hanging up her football boots, Sheila continues to work for her beloved Belles and has taken on a number of roles over the years including physiotherapist, welfare officer, committee member, club president and general manager. Sheila boasts a 30-year teaching career as a Physical Education specialist and has continued to push the boundaries and introduce and develop girl’s football within Doncaster schools.

Sheila embodies everything BPP University seeks to change through its WILpower initiative - highlighting successful female leaders and role models – and was rewarded for her services with a Doctor of Business Administration in 2015.


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Dame Janet Gaymer – Doctor of Laws

A distinguished employment lawyer with both public and private sector experience, Dame Janet Gaymer has worked at top international law firm Simmons & Simmons for over 35 years, where she was made senior partner.

Amongst several accolades, Dame Janet has served as the civil service commissioner and commissioner for public appointments. She was also the co-chair of the consulting steering panel for the Legal Education and Training Review. Most notably, Dame Janet attends the House of Commons Commission in a non-executive capacity, has been Acting Chair of the Management Board of the House of Commons and also a non-executive member of the Board. She chairs the House’s Administration Estimate and Members Estimate Audit Committees and is also one of the independent lay members of the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Described as a “matriarch of the legal profession”, Dame Janet was ranked as the “Top Employment Lawyer in Europe” in Chambers' Guide to the Legal Profession 2000-01. She has twice been voted the Experts' Expert in ‘Legal Business’ surveys, was awarded the CBE for services to employment law and as Chair of the Employment Tribunal System Taskforce 2004. She has been named as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Britain by 'Management Today'. In 2006, Dame Janet received the City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2008 was appointed Queen's Counsel (Honoris Causa).


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