The Baroness Verma of Leicester was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
The award from the University of Wolverhampton Business School recognises Sandip Verma’s outstanding contribution to business and eminence in her professional life.
Baroness Verma said: “I feel truly humbled by the honour the University of Wolverhampton has bestowed upon me. In receiving this conferment I have seen a dream come true, not having the opportunity to go university as a young person I have fought hard for those wishing to go be given the chance. There is no greater place than within the reverend walls of a university that you discover how much you can actually go on and do to make a real difference to the lives of others.
“The University of Wolverhampton has provided that to the many thousands that have passed through its doors and in conferring this honour on me has ensured a life long relationship with the Institution, a position I will hold with great pride. I would like to thank all those who thought me worthy of this Honorary Doctorate and in particular to Reverend Prebendary Geoffrey Wynne in blessing me with wise counsel and spiritual guidance.”
Born in Amritsar in 1959, Sandip Verma came to Britain a few weeks before her first birthday. Educated in Leicester City, she married Ashok Verma in 1977.
Wishing to continue with her education Sandip embarked on higher education courses in psychology and then a business degree, successfully operating a high fashion hosiery business before setting up in the service sector with a care business.
Politics was always Sandip’s passion; at age 11 she had written in an essay she wanted to be Prime Minister of India. Instead, she set her sights on British politics. Following a long career in voluntary work amongst grass root issues – fighting violence against women, setting up local groups for young people - Sandip entered mainstream politics at the age of 40, about to take on her biggest challenge.
She joined the Conservative Party in 1999, and was made a peer in the House of Lords in 2006. The first woman of South Asian origin to sit on the front benches in either Houses of Parliament, she is now responsible for the departmental briefs of International Development, Equalities and Women in the Lords Government Whips office and Whip in the Cabinet office. This makes her a Baroness in Waiting and as such, a member of the Queen’s Household.
Baroness Verma was admitted to the Institute of Directors India with a distinguished Fellowship in August 2010, predominantly for her work on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), governance and raising the role of women.
The honorary award was presented on Thursday, 9 September 2010.
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