Politician Michael Heseltine and musicians Laura Mvula and Jeff Lynne are among those being honoured at degree ceremonies at Birmingham City University next month.

Figures from the worlds of health, the arts, education, and religion will be presented with honorary degrees and alumni of the year awards to recognise their contribution to the local, national and international community.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, who recently worked with city leaders on a project to encourage powers to be transferred here from Whitehall, will pick up an honorary award, as well as formally opening the university’s new Parkside Building during his visit.

Singer-songwriter Laura Mvula graduated from BCU’s Birmingham Conservatoire with a degree in composition in 2008 and will be named as one of the university’s alumni of the year.

The rising star grew up in Selly Oak and Kings Heath and was this week in the running at the prestigious Brit awards.

The former City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra receptionist was also shortlisted for the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize with her debut album Sing to the Moon, acclaimed by the Sunday Times Culture as “a masterpiece”.

Jeff Lynne
Jeff Lynne
 

Fellow BCU graduates, Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley, who graduated in acting in 2006, craftsmen and designer Jack Row, arts director Reena Jaisiah and sports journalist Matthew Christie will also be honoured at the ceremonies.

Honorary awards will also go to Birmingham-born musician and producer Jeff Lynne, of Electric Light Orchestra and the Travelling Wilburys fame; the Right Reverend David Urguhart, Bishop of Birmingham; Sir Christopher Stone, executive head teacher of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership; and Dame Julie Moore, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The awards will be presented at ceremonies between Monday, February 24, and Monday, March 10.

Birmingham City University Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Allan said: “Every year, during our graduation ceremonies, we bestow honorary doctorates on people who have made an outstanding contribution to their field, the region or the university.

“This year we will be honouring leaders who have made significant contributions to the world of education, art, business, health, music and politics and I look forward to welcoming them to the upcoming award ceremonies.

“We are also enormously proud of the achievements of our alumni, who enter all walks of life, reach the top of their professions and make a real difference all over the world.”

* Others set to be honoured include composer David Lowe, from Sutton Coldfield, who was behind many TV theme tunes like Countryfile and Grand Designs; Adam Fowle, chief executive of Tesco Family Dining; Walsall-born John Woodward, founder of the country’s largest childcare provider Busy Bees; educationalist and writer Sir Christopher Frayling, known for his study of art and design and popular culture and Brian Griffin, creative portrait photographer.

Lord Heseltine
Lord Heseltine