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Academic pioneers awarded Honorary Doctorates from City University London

Inventor of forerunner to World Wide Web and leading expert in Engineering Policy both recognised
by Kayley Goff

City University London conferred Honorary Doctorates on two of the country's foremost academics in the areas of Computer Science and Engineering, during its graduation ceremonies at the Barbican earlier this week.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computing and Dean of Physical and Applied Sciences at the University of Southampton and Professor Brian Collins, Professor of Engineering Policy at University College London were recognised for achieving academic distinction in their fields and for acting as inspirational role models for City's students.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall has made an outstanding contribution to the now ubiquitous fields of computing, the Internet and the World Wide Web. It was her team of academics who invented the award-winning Microcosm hypermedia system in 1989, an early forerunner of the World Wide Web.

nullProfessor Brian Collins has had a distinguished and extensive career in academia, private enterprise and government. He has made key contributions on a wide range of strategic issues relating to science, innovation, engineering and technology policy and investment, particularly where visions of possible futures and their impact on policy choices are critical.

Speaking about the honorary awards Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor of City University London, said: "Professor Dame Wendy Hall has helped to transform the boundaries and capabilities of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Though she has spent most of her academic life at the University of Southampton, we can justly claim her as one of ours: she earned her Master's degree at City. Professor Brian Collins has demonstrated distinctive leadership qualities across academia, in government and in the private sector and has made an invaluable contribution to City's Collaborative Transport Hub. We are delighted Dame Wendy and Brian have accepted Honorary Doctorates from our University."

Professor Dame Wendy Hall gained an undergraduate degree and a PhD from the University of Southampton and, in 1986, a Masters in Computer Science from City. She joined the then-fledgling Computer Science Group at the University of Southampton to begin her academic career. Her computing research commenced with pioneering work in multimedia and hypermedia, both infant disciplines at the time.

nullIn 1994, Dame Wendy was appointed the University of Southampton's first female professor of engineering and has since become a prominent figure in promoting greater opportunities for women in science, engineering and technology. In February this year she was named one of the '100 Most Powerful Women in the United Kingdom', by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour in recognition of her status as one of the world's leading computer scientists and she continues to be a role model for female scientists and engineers across the country and internationally.

She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year's Honours list, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in the same year. She is also a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

In addressing the graduands Dame Wendy said: "Do not be tempted to take the easy path and accept second or third best. Build on the skills you have learnt in the degree you are receiving but don't be afraid to accept new challenges and explore new ideas. Realise the ambitions you are nurturing today - don't be side-tracked into a career path that means you don't fulfil your potential. You are graduating with a degree from a great University. Be proud of this and use it to make your way in the world."

Professor Brian Collins has been widely recognised for his insights into the application of engineering systems, especially at a national level. Prior to taking up his appointment at University College London in 2011, Professor Collins held the role of Chief Scientific Adviser with The Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). He was Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University from August 2003 until July 2011.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2009. In the 2011 New Year's Honours list he was awarded the honour of Companion of the Order of the Bath by Her Majesty the Queen.

nullCommenting at the graduation ceremony where he received his award and offering advice to graduands, Professor Collins said: "It is not only sufficient and necessary to be correct but to be correct with style".

City University London awarded degrees to more than 500 students at this week's ceremonies. As graduates they join more than 130,000 alumni from the University, which is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for both graduate-level jobs (The Sunday Times University Guide 2013) and starting salaries (Which University?). City's notable alumni include Mahatma Gandhi, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Founder of EasyJet), Dick Olver (Chairman of BAE Systems) and journalist Dermot Murnaghan.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.