Founder of addiction charity among those receiving University of Derby honorary degrees

2 November 2022

The founder of a charity supporting people recovering from alcohol or substance addiction, the manager of the Derby Bosnia Herzegovina Centre, and a senior RAF officer and engineer, are among those who will receive Honorary Degrees from the University of Derby later this month.

Each year notable people with a strong connection to the University or the city are chosen to receive an Honorary Degree at the Awards Ceremonies, when the University’s students graduate.

Thousands of graduates, guests and VIPs are expected to attend the ceremonies which take place from Wednesday 16 November to Friday 18 November at Derby Arena.

The recipients of the Honorary Degrees are:

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “Graduation is such an important milestone for our students, their families and guests. It is the culmination of years of hard work and provides an opportunity for our students to reflect on what they have achieved and celebrate the efforts they have put into their studies during their time at university.

“It is also an opportunity to recognise and thank those who have helped contribute to our University, city and county, through the awarding of Honorary Degrees. The positive impact that this year’s honorands have made is significant, so we are delighted to be able to acknowledge that. Congratulations to everyone that will be graduating; we cannot wait to celebrate with you.”

Portrait of Jaz Rai receiving his OBE
Jaz Rai

Jaz Rai OBE started the Sikh Recovery Network charity in 2016 after tackling his own addiction to alcohol. The charity now has groups in Derby, Leicester, Coventry and London. Jaz was given a Points of Light Award for his work by the Prime Minister in 2020 and was awarded an OBE for his services to the Sikh community during Covid-19.

Ferid Kevric came to the UK from Bosnia Herzegovina as a refugee at the outbreak of the Bosnian war in the early 1990s. He worked with the City Council to open the Derby Bosnia Herzegovina Centre. Originally a place for fellow Bosnian refugees to find social support and legal advice, the building now hosts the Derby Refugee Advice Centre, which is open to all.

Air Marshal Sir Richard Knighton KCB FREng is a senior Royal Air Force officer and engineer serving as Deputy Commander for Capability and People. Educated in Derby, he previously served as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability) at the Ministry of Defence and in his early career served as an officer engineer on Nimrod and Tornado F3 aircraft and Harrier jets. Richard was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Stephen Layton MBE grew up in Derby and is now one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation. His ground-breaking approach has had a profound influence on choral music, with his interpretations having been heard across the globe and his recordings having won or been nominated for every major international recording award. Founder and Director of Polyphony, he is also Fellow and Director of Music at Trinity College Cambridge and Music Director of Holst Singers. His former posts include Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Chief Guest Conductor of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia, and Director of Music at the Temple Church in London.

Derbyshire-based Jane Ide OBE is the CEO of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. She was formerly CEO of the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action, supporting 160,000 charities and voluntary organisations across the country. She was founding co-chair of the VCS Emergencies Partnership, created in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, and was at the heart of the national response to Covid-19.

Find out more about the University of Derby Awards Ceremonies.

Read more about the honorands.

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