IT’S A time of “celebration and excitement” at The University of Bradford as eight national and international figures will receive honorary degrees at its forthcoming graduation ceremonies.

The event will take place on Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5 - in the Great Hall of the city campus, where Chancellor Kate Swann and Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon will present the honorary degrees.

A University of Bradford spokesperson said: “Our graduation ceremonies are always a time of celebration and excitement. We look forward to welcoming back not only our graduates, but friends and family who join them on their special day.

“It’s also an opportunity for us to honour inspirational figures of the community and beyond as they are awarded honorary degrees and become part of Team Bradford.”

The nominated honorary graduates include David Wilson, director at Bradford UNESCO City of Film; Ian Beesley, an award winning and internationally acclaimed artist and photographer; Shafi Ahmed, a consultant laparoscopic colorectal surgeon; Sir Nick Weller, a national leader of education, the chief executive and accounting officer of the Dixons Academies Trust; Roland Clark, governor at Belle Vue Girls Academy and Bradford YMCA chair; Ram Saroop, a solicitor and heads the dispute resolution department of the legal firm RDC Solicitors in Bradford and Dr. Josephine Borchert-Ansinger, European higher education expert and expert advisor in European graduate development for IVA Driebergen.

Mr Wilson, a proud Bradfordian, described the whole announcement as “humbling” especially as this year marks a decade since Bradford became the world’s first UNESCO film city.

The creative, who will be crowned a Doctor of Technology next Wednesday, is an expert advisor to the UK Commission to UNESCO on the development of creative cities and has provided mentoring and support to many candidate cities applying to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

He is also an international ambassador for the creative cities programme, and a regular speaker at film, business and community events on culture and sustainable development.

Mr Wilson, already a fellow of film at the university, said: “It was a complete surprise and such an honour. As somebody born in Bradford to get such an honour from your hometown university first and foremost.

“To get that recognition from the university in my hometown, it really does feel very special. I’m very nervous but I’m looking forward to it.

“Hopefully some of the work that I do will go onto inspire people to go into creative industrys. We’re based on campus so we’re already connected in a way with students studying film and TV.

“There’s never been a better time to work in this industry - where lots of jobs are becoming automated it’s still a growing industry.

“My role is about promoting Bradford to the world. I speak very proudly of where I’m from.”

He added: “It’s a thanks for doing what we do. Sometimes you do need to be told. It’s been our tenth anniversary. It’s been quite an exhausting year and fulfilling.”

Since 1966, the university has awarded honorary degrees and fellowships to outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic work and endeavour, their contribution to their chosen profession or field of activity, their contribution to the University, City or wider region, and their ability to act as a role model reflecting the University’s values.

One honorary graduate, Ram Saroop, said the recognition was “brilliant”.

In 1998, he was appointed as a conciliation officer by the Law Society to assist with complaints against solicitors. After ten years as a Conciliation Officer he was appointed as a consultant advising solicitors regarding complaints and client care procedures.

Ram, who is currently an external trustee on the board of the University of Bradford union of students, said: “I’ve been working assisting university studentsfor about 27 years so when I discovered I’d been nominated it was satisfying.

“I was informed last year. It’s brilliant.”

There’s a mix of stories among the honorary graduates which led to their success.

Dr. Josephine Borchert-Ansinger single-handedly developed a leading European business school that developed strong ties and relationships with a number of global partners including close links with the School of Management, University of Bradford.

While Sir Nick Weller spent the first 25 years of his career in London, as an English Teacher, middle and senior leader, and then Head teacher. In 2006, he moved up north for a Dixons City Academy role.