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Pulitzer Prize winner among 2015 Honorary Doctorate recipients

Marilynne Robinson Monday 15 June 2015

Pulitzer Prize winning author Dr Marilynne Robinson, Lawyer and Contact the Elderly founder Trevor Lyttleton, and Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Policy Professor Roger Brown are all set to be presented with honorary doctorate degrees by Liverpool Hope University this July. Each will be given their awards during the University’s summer graduation ceremonies, held at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral between 21-23rd July.

Dr Marilynne Robinson is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gilead and one of President Barack Obama’s favourite authors. Gilead - which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and is a known favourite of President Barack Obama’s – is set in 1956 in a small town in Iowa, and takes the form of a letter written by the dying minister John Ames to his young son. Whilst presenting Dr Robinson with the National Humanities Medal in 2013, President Obama declared that Dr Robinson’s writings had changed him for the better. Dr Robinson’s book Home also won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2009 and her book Housekeeping was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1982.

Dr Robinson is Professor at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. She will receive a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) at the University’s graduation ceremony on 21st July at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Dr Robinson is recognised by Liverpool Hope for both her fiction and non-fiction work, which explores issues of human thought-science, consciousness and religion. Dr Robinson will also mark the occasion by giving a free public lecture at Liverpool Hope University’s Hope Park campus on Monday July 20th, the evening before the graduation ceremony.  

Also receiving honorary doctorates in the same week are Lawyer and Contact the Elderly founder Trevor Lyttleton, and Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Policy Professor Roger Brown.

Trevor Lyttleton, a lawyer who founded the national charity Contact the Elderly, and who as a composer received a Grammy Nomination for his song ‘I love a Film Cliché’ in Broadway musical ‘A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine’ will be awarded with a Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) on 22nd July. Mr Lyttleton is recognised by Liverpool Hope chiefly for his role as Founder and Chairman of Contact the Elderly. The charity is dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people by encouraging regular friendship links with the local community. Liverpool Hope was the first university to partner with the charity, with students and staff running their own monthly tea parties at the Hope Park campus. Mr Lyttleton founded the charity at the age of 29, and Contact the Elderly is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year.

 Professor Roger Brown, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Policy at Liverpool Hope University and author of Everything for Sale? The Marketisation of UK Higher Education 1980-2012 (with Helen Carasso) will be awarded a Doctor of Education (honoris causa) on 23rd July. Professor Brown is an international authority on the application of market-based policies to higher education and was presented with the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Professor Brown is recognised by Liverpool Hope for his services to Higher Education in the UK.

Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor & Rector of Liverpool Hope University said: “Whilst all three of our recipients are from different walks of life – novelist, lawyer, higher education leader - each has contributed to widening the horizons of others. Their work is in harmony with our own distinctive philosophy to educate the mind, body and spirit in the quest for truth, beauty and goodness.

“As a writer, Marilynne Robinson uses her unassuming and moving style to help scores of people explore what we call the ‘big questions’. Trevor Lyttleton’s long term commitment to his charity work has seen millions of isolated elderly people re-connect to the communities from which they may have been separated. As a champion of Higher Education, Roger Brown has provided critical insights into how university policy on higher education has been formed and developed in the UK. All three are committed to serving the common good. We are delighted to welcome them into the Liverpool Hope community.”

The Liverpool Hope Hopkins Lecture: Marilynne Robinson

Monday 20th July 2015, 5.30pm drinks reception, 6pm start. The Senate Room, Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, Liverpool.

Marilynne Robinson: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Humanities Medal and the Orange Prize.

The Liverpool Hope Hopkins Lectures are named after the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who lived and worked at our Creative Campus. They are hosted by the Department of English, and focus on contemporary writing.

In this lecture, titled ‘What are we doing here?’ Dr Robinson will respond to 19th Century French sociologist and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville’s thesis that “literature was an arsenal open to all, where the weak and the poor could always find arms.”

Open to all, free admission. To book a place email



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