Opportunity Makers

Each year we recognise remarkable individual achievement through the conferment of honorary degrees. Our honorary graduates are an inspirational group of people, not only accomplishing great things personally but creating greater opportunity for others in the process. Representing diverse spheres of activity, their efforts have helped develop a safer, healthier, more prosperous society.

Rob Bacon

School of Health and Wellbeing

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science

Rob Bacon is Chief Executive for the Black Country Primary Care Trust. After completing an economics degree at Cardiff University, Rob joined a fi rm of accountants in London before moving into the NHS as a trainee accountant and becoming a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountancy. His time in NHS Finance gave him experience
of working in a number of organisations within the Black Country and Birmingham, including a spell at Wolverhampton Health Authority from 1982-1986. He was promoted to Director of Finance in the NHS, going on to become a Chief Executive for an NHS service provider in 1998.

In recent years, Rob has established a number of successful NHS Commissioning organisations. He has led a number of high-profi le local projects and West Midlands-wide programmes to effect reconfiguration of clinical services, with a focus on improving the quality of clinical service. In his current role as Chief Executive for the Black Country Primary Care Trust, he is responsible for £2 billion expenditure on NHS services, including the care received by the residents of Wolverhampton.

David Dodd

University of Wolverhampton Business School

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration


David Dodd is the co-founder of national retailer, Poundland. Born in Blakenhall in 1960, David left school after completing the first term of A-level studies to start a career in retail. By the age of 18 he was managing his own store, but keen to experiment with his own ideas, David moved into market trading where he spent two years working on Bilston and Willenhall markets.

In 1982, David took his trading experience into a buying and selling role with a local wholesaler, before moving into importing and gaining comprehensive knowledge of trading with manufacturers all over the world. With a complete experience of the supply chain, David returned to retailing and in 1990, became co-founder of Poundland. After leading a management buyout of Poundland in 2002, David went on to double the size of the business and treble the profits before retiring from the business in 2007. David now spends his time assisting start-up and SME businesses and is an investor in affordable housing projects.

Ralph Findlay

University of Wolverhampton Business School

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration


Ralph Findlay is Chief Executive Offi cer of Marston’s PLC, one of the UK’s leading brewers and pub retailers. Over the past 12 years Marston’s has developed into a national beer and pubs business, whilst retaining strong roots in the Midlands where it has operations in Wolverhampton, including the Banks’s Brewery.


Appointed in 2001, Ralph had previously been Finance Director from 1996. Before joining Marston’s, Ralph held fi nance positions at Geest PLC, Bass PLC and PricewaterhouseCoopers in London and the Midlands. He was Chairman of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the brewing and pub industry’s trade body, from 2010-2012, and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Brewers.

Terry Last

University of Wolverhampton Business School

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration


Terry Last has worked in the quarrying and construction materials industry for 43 years. He has been Chief Executive Officer of the £1.5bn turnover, Ettingshall-based firm Tarmac since 2010, having joined the business in 2001.

In addition to his role at the helm of Tarmac, Terry is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Quarrying, and acted as both Chairman and President for the Institute. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Asphalt Technology and a Fellow of the Institute of Highways and Transportation. Terry is an active Member, Court Assistant, and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Worshipful Company of Master Paviors – a London livery company dating back to 1479. He has accepted an invitation to be the Master of the Livery in 2015.

Roy Lockwood

School for Education Futures

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education


After qualifying as a teacher in 1973, Roy Lockwood began his teaching career at a secondary school in a mining village near Rotherham, before moving into further education at a college in Middlesbrough. In 1979, he entered local government administration, working in the Education Department of Berkshire County Council, going on to join Coventry City Council as an Assistant Education Officer.

Roy joined the then Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council in 1988, where he went on to spend 23 years of his career, first as an Assistant Director in the Education Department, then as Director of Education, and finally as the Council’s first Director of Services for Children and Young People, a position from which he retired in 2011. Roy currently serves on the Strategic Advisory Panel for the University’s School for Education Futures.

Anthony Marsh

School of Health and Wellbeing

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science


Chief Executive Officer of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust since 2006, Anthony Marsh started his Ambulance Service career at Essex Ambulance Service in 1987 and qualified as an Ambulance Paramedic in 1990. He held a number of senior posts with the Ambulance Service in Hampshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester before returning to Essex as Chief Executive Officer in 2003.

In 2011, Anthony was decorated with the Order of St John. In addition to his responsibilities as Chief Executive, he was elected Chair of the Association of Air Ambulances and is the lead for the National Ambulance Resilience Board. On behalf of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, Anthony holds the National Portfolio for Emergency Planning, Response and Resilience. He was also the Lead for Ambulance Service Olympic Planning and is a Regional and National Cadre Gold Commander.

Glen Mason

School of Applied Sciences

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science



Glen Mason joined the Department of Health in 2007 where he is currently Director for People, Communities and Local Government. He is responsible for policy in areas covering local government, workforce, sector-led improvement and informatics, as well as the department’s sub-national presence. Glen began his career in 1986 as a social worker in Nottinghamshire, working in both a long-term child care team and as the manager of a busy child protection team. After a period in North Yorkshire, he became the Head of Children’s Services at Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council. He held Assistant Director posts with two councils before becoming Regional Director with the Social Services Inspectorate.

Enjoying a long association with Wolverhampton, Glen has held posts as Assistant Director for Children’s Services and as Director for Adults and Community, where he was responsible for a range of services including Adult Social Care, Housing, Adult Education, Culture and Leisure. He has been an active member of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and was Chair of the ADASS National Learning Disabilities Network.

Jil Matheson

School of Technology

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science


Jil Matheson was appointed National Statistician, Head of the Government Statistical Service and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority in September 2009. Her career in statistics began in 1975 at the then Office of Population Census and Surveys, after graduating in Sociology from the University of Sussex. Jil subsequently worked as a researcher, analyst and project manager for a number of social surveys.

In 1998, Jil became a Deputy Director in the Office for National Statistics (ONS), taking the lead in the introduction of the National Statistics Code of Practice, before going on to run the ONS Census Division. In 2004, Jil was appointed Executive Director of Census, Demographic and Regional Statistics, becoming Director General for Statistics Delivery at ONS in 2008. Jil is the Chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Committee on Statistics, a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Bureau for the Conference of European Statisticians, and Vice-Chair of the UN Statistics Commission.

Sir Denis O’Connor


School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws

Sir Denis O’Connor served as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, 2009-2012. Sir Denis began his career with the Metropolitan Police and served for over 30 years in London, Kent and Surrey at all ranks from Constable to Chief Constable (Surrey). In 2004, he became one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary, where he reviewed a range of issues including the police response to the G20 protests, anti-social behaviour, and policing
in austerity.


Much of his time in senior roles was concerned with reform and development of policing, including: the 2005 report ‘Closing the Gap’, a review of the current police force structure; and issues arising from the death of Baby P. Prior to becoming Vice-President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2003, he chaired the ACPO Performance Management Business Area and led the piloting of the National Reassurance Policing Programme; the pre-cursor to Neighbourhood Policing. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 1996, and later received a CBE in 2002 for his service to policing. He received a knighthood in 2010 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Harun Rashid

School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science

Harun Rashid is the current Chair of the Wolverhampton Interfaith and Regeneration Network and serves on a number of school governing bodies, voluntary and community organisations. Born and educated in Bangladesh, Mr Rashid obtained an MA in English at the University of Dhaka before commencing his educational career as a lecturer in English at Wolverhampton Teachers’ College, and then Wolverhampton Polytechnic.

Harun was appointed Wolverhampton LEA’s fi rst Inspector for Humanities, with responsibilities for Religious and Multicultural Education, and went on to become Senior Policy Advisor – Equalities at Wolverhampton City Council. Harun has pioneered the development of mother tongue teaching in Wolverhampton schools and led the creation of the LEA’s first ever Religious Education Agreed Syllabus. Harun is the Founder Chairman of the Wolverhampton Interfaith Group, one of the earliest interfaith organisations in the UK, and is now Wolverhampton’s Faith representative on the Black Country Faith Cabinet. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace on the Wolverhampton Bench in 1976.

Ben Reid

School for Education Futures

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters


A Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) and Institute of Co-operative Directors, Ben Reid originally worked within the public sector before entering the world of mutuality with Nottingham Building Society in 1980. Since then, Ben has served the Co-operative Movement at the highest level in a number of roles. Initially with Ilkeston
Co-operative Society and Leicestershire Co-operative Society, Ben eventually rose to the post of Deputy Chief Executive with the West Midlands Co-operative Society (later renamed The Midcounties Co-operative) in 1988, before his appointment as Chief Executive in 1992.

Ben played a leading role in establishing the Walsall Regeneration Company, which has acted as a catalyst for a number of significant developments in the town, and also as Chair of The Manor Hospital where he led on the opening of a new hospital in 2010. He was awarded an OBE in June 2010 for his service to business and to the community in Walsall, West Midlands.

Roy Taylor

University of Wolverhampton Business School

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration


Roy Taylor is Chairman and Managing Director of Malthouse Engineering, a position he has held for nearly 30 years. Malthouse Engineering was established in 1947 and is a specialist steel profiling company. Since joining Malthouse Engineering, Roy has led a management buyout, 14 acquisitions, and grown sales turnover from £1,500,000 to £18,000,000.

Prior to becoming Managing Director of Malthouse Engineering in 1983, Roy spent time at BSA in the metal components division, GPG (the plastics division of Guinness), where he gained experience of sales and management training, and Ibstock Building Products. Roy founded the Profi lers Product group in 1986, using the National Association of Steel Services Centres (NASS) as the secretariat, and later became the President of NASS in 2005. Roy has worked closely with the University of Wolverhampton’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) team for the past 10 years.

David Watkins

School of Art & Design

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Design


David Watkins, the Wolverhampton-born designer of the medals for the London 2012 Olympics, began his career in the 1960s. An artist in sculpture, design and special effects modelling, David was a special effects maker for the fi lm 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1978, he travelled to Australia to become an artist in residence at the Curtin University, before returning to the UK to join the Royal College of Art, fi rstly as a Professor in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery, and then as a Research Professor of Jewellery. In 2009, he was made Professor Emeritus.

Throughout his career, David has also been a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths Company; a Trustee of the Haystack School for Crafts in Maine, USA; and most recently, a Royal Designer for Industry. David has been exhibiting his work for nearly 40 years, including at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Mikimoto Hall, Tokyo; and most recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, with a retrospective exhibition titled Artist in Jewellery, a Retrospective View (1972-2010).