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World authorities on engineering and business to receive honorary degrees

1st December 2016

Leading figures who have made an impact in the world of business and engineering will be recognised at Northumbria University, Newcastle, next week. 

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, the first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Dr W.A. Wijewardena, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, will both receive honorary doctorates during Northumbria’s December graduation ceremonies.

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.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling is a world authority on combustion and acoustics and former Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. In 2014, she became the first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Following her appointment, she was asked by then Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, to lead a review of how the Government could develop more effective collaborations between businesses and British university researchers. The Dowling Review was completed in July 2015 and provided guidance and approaches needed to solve the gaps in the previous system.

Professor Dowling has also held visiting posts at two of the world’s leading tech-focused institutions in the US; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

In 2002, Professor Dowling was appointed CBE by the Queen for her services to mechanical engineering, as well as a DBE for services to science in 2007, which is the second highest Order of the British Empire.

She was also asked to join the highly prestigious Order of Merit (OM) in December 2015 by Her Majesty the Queen. OM only has 24 living members at a time; some of the members include Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Sir David Attenborough, and Sir Tim-Berners Lee (who invented the World Wide Web in 1989). The late Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa were also honorary members.

Dame Ann Pic - Embed

Dr Wijewardena is currently President of the Business Management School (BMS) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. His career at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka lasted 37 years culminating in nine years as the Deputy Governor, responsible for economic research, monetary policy, financial system stability, public debt, rural credit and banking.

Simultaneously, he was the Chairman of both the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board. 

He retired from his Central Bank role in 2009 to focus on his academic interests.  He became President of BMS in 2010 and also undertook visiting posts at several other institutions, including the Asian Institute of Technology, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and Naresuan University. 

He has also acted as Council Member of the University of Colombo, the leading university in Sri Lanka.  He is the author of a number of books explaining complex economic issues to a general audience, including Capital Markets in Sri Lanka: Problems and Prospects and Economic Wisdom. 

Dr Wijewardena Pic - Embed

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