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University to honour host of leading figures

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A comedian, young musician of the year and prominent businessmen and researchers are among those to be honoured by the University of Leicester this summer.

Fourteen distinguished individuals will receive honorary degrees to join the likes of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and radio and television star Terry Wogan.

Impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw, who has contributed to the BBC's The Sky at Night to promote astronomy to young people, and is best known for his starring part in popular BBC programmes The Impressions Show and Dead Ringers, will be made a Doctor of Laws.

He said: "This is a very great and most unexpected honour.

"I have been able to visit the university on a number of occasions for filming and the building and atmosphere are hugely inspirational.

"Leicester University is the first to award me an honorary degree where I don't have any local connection – so it really is a fantastic honour. I am thrilled."

Nicola Benedetti, a classical violinist and previous winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year, will become a Doctor of Music, Richard Brucciani, chairman of hygiene products firm Pal International, in Lutterworth, will be made a Doctor of Laws, and Professor Ken Pounds, astronomer and now Emeritus Professor of space physics at The University of Leicester, known for his discovery of black holes, will become a distinguished honorary fellow.

Dr Laurence Howard, Lord-Leiutenant of Rutland and alumni of Leicester, will be made a Doctor of Laws.

He said: "I'm delighted and honoured.

"My links with this outstanding university started when my wife began her degree here.

"Little did I know I was later to read for a doctorate in the embryonic department of general physiology and return as a lecturer in the newly-created medical school, where I stayed until I retired.

"Working with remarkable people gave me a confidence I could never have imagined."

Ms Benedetti won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2004 and has released several albums, of which Fantasie was number one in the UK classical chart.

Mr Brucciani was born in the city and educated at Ratcliffe College, in Sileby.

He later qualified as a chartered accountant and was about to join the family business, Brucciani & Co, but decided to develop a new company – Pal International Ltd.

Since then, he has expanded the firm with offices in the Middle East and Hong Kong and warehouse in Shanghai.

He said: "It's a great honour to receive this award and, as a local person, having watched the growth of the University of Leicester into one of the best in the country, it's especially pleasing."

Prof Pounds has won several honours and awards during his illustrious career, including a gold medal from the Royal Astronomical Society. He is also a member of prestigious bodies including the Institute of Physics and the International Academy of Astronautics.

The ceremonies will take place at De Montfort Hall between Tuesday and July 12.

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: "I'm delighted to be able to once again award honorary degrees to a wide range of highly successful individuals.

"We're honouring both local people and those who are renowned nationally and internationally, as well as leaders in their own disciplines.

"It's important for us to be able to highlight the achievements of key individuals, many of whom have strong connections to Leicester. It is a valuable opportunity for students to see how they can aspire to be future leaders."

Ms Benedetti said: "I'm hugely honoured and humbled to be receiving an honorary degree from the university.

"I greatly look forward to sharing the occasion with students who have worked hard to complete their courses."

University to honour host of leading figures


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