Acclaimed actress Dame Janet Suzman, medical scientist Sir Ralph Kohn and diplomat Sir Rodric Braithwaite have been awarded honorary degrees.
The honours were conferred on them at a special ceremony at St Peter and St Paul Church, Buckingham, by the new chancellor of the University of Buckingham, Lady Keswick.
Dame Janet Suzman left her native South Africa to explore her love of English and Shakespeare by training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and joining the RSC. Films include The Draughtsman’s Contract. Dame Janet received an Academy Award Nomination for Nicholas and Alexandra (1971). She is a patron of the Market Theatre, Johannesburg and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2011.
Sir Ralph Kohn, born in Leipzig, is a medical scientist, musician and entrepreneur. He did his PhD in Pharmacology at Manchester University followed by postdoctoral research at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome. After working as a senior executive in the international pharmaceutical industry, Sir Ralph established the first independent medical research organisation focused on the clinical evaluation of new drugs. He received the Queen’s Award for Industry.
Sir Rodric Braithwaite served in military intelligence in Vienna, studied French and Russian at Cambridge and worked in the Diplomatic Service. He was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and a member of the Sherpa team for the G7 Economic Summit. He was British ambassador in Moscow, Foreign Policy Adviser to John Major and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.
Dame Janet said: “I had a delightful afternoon at Buckingham – everyone conspired to make it pleasant and enjoyable.
“It was a stroke of genius not to combine the Convocation with the usual Graduation Day so that we three honorary graduands felt very special indeed.
“The university orator made three splendid speeches and I took great delight in getting to know my fellow Hons.
“I very much hope the conversations begun can continue in the future.
“Everyone looked extremely pretty, especially the chancellor in her gold encrusted robes, and I loved the red and pink of the Hon Lits.
“The music was particularly fine and the choice of song perfect. I was deeply moved and impressed by the choir.
“I have no words to describe Stowe House for the excellent dinner, but I expect most people are lost for words at such staggeringly great architecture.
“I feel very proud to have been admitted honoris causa into Buckingham’s world.
“Thank you, vice-chancellor and faculty, for a perfect occasion.”