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Northumbria University honours inspirational figures

8th July 2015

Lord Charles Falconer, the first peer of Tony Blair’s Labour government, and leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield will receive honorary degrees from Northumbria University, Newcastle, this week.

The recipients of honorary degrees are nominated by the University’s staff for their achievements, their links to the University – and for their sheer inspirational qualities.

Lord Falconer, who served in the Blair government and led moves to bring about historic changes in the administration of justice, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law alongside students from Northumbria’s School of Law.

The life-long Labour peer succeeded film producer Lord Putnam in 2012 as chair of The Sage, Gateshead, and previously chaired the Newcastle Gateshead regeneration group 1NG. He spent more than 25 years as a commercial barrister and a decade as a member of the UK government.

Serving in the Blair government from 1997-2007, Lord Falconer’s reforms included the creation of a Supreme Court for the UK, the creation of a commission to appoint judges and introducing an elected Speaker for the House of Lords. As a result, he took up the opposition post of Secretary of State for Justice, bringing together courts, prisons and justice policy for the first time from 2010.

Baroness Susan Greenfield will be given an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Northumbria University for her ground-breaking research into Alzheimer’s disease.

The leading neuroscientist, writer and broadcaster heads up a multi-disciplinary research group exploring brain mechanisms linked to neurodegeneration.

She is also the founding director of a company developing a novel approach to both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and has written a book exploring how young people's brains are affected by modern digital technologies.

Baroness Greenfield is a big supporter of the role of science in education. She holds an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and is a member of the House of Lords, having been granted a non-political life peerage.

Whilst at Northumbria, the Baroness will be given a tour of the University’s Health and Life Science facilities, including a visit to the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre.

Northumbria’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Wathey, said: “Both our honorary graduates this summer are world-leading figures in their fields - law and neuroscience - respectively which are strong academic areas at Northumbria University.

“More than 5,000 students will be graduating from Northumbria University and Lord Falconer and Baroness Greenfield – as people who have made a real difference in their chosen fields – are a source of inspiration for our graduates.”

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