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Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE receives Honorary Doctorate

Dr Margaret Ashwell at Graduation

Proud scientist and Registered Nutritionist Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE encouraged Liverpool Hope graduates to remember the importance of ‘repetition, hesitation and deviation’ as they embark on their careers.

Dr Ashwell, who was conferred with the title Doctor of Education (honoris causa) at Tuesday’s Graduation ceremony, explained how these three qualities are important if people are to get ahead and succeed.

She explained: “The three terms will be well-known to BBC Radio 4 listeners familiar with the panel show Just a Minute, as the contestants are not allowed to repeat, hesitate or deviate when talking about a specific topic for one minute. 

“However, in life, and particularly work, I think these are all things it is important to do to ensure success.”

Dr Ashwell described how graduates who are going on to work in the science, technology or even teaching fields, can benefit from taking the time to repeat their work, as this helps to clarify results are accurate, that teaching is understood and that inventions progress to new prototypes. 

With hesitation comes the opportunity to consider ‘what you’re doing and how it relates to others’, which Dr Ashwell believes to be a key way to prevent a single-track mind.

Finally, by deviating from a set path, one can employ lateral thinking to situations, which fosters an environment of ‘modifying and problem solving’.

Dr Ashwell has a long and prestigious career within the sciences, having served as the Past President/Chair of the Association for Nutrition, the Honorary Secretary of The Nutrition Society, and on the UK Government’s Food Advisory Committee.

She was among the first to advocate the use of the waist-to-height ratio as an indicator of early health risk and was presented with an OBE for her work in government in 1995. 

In her closing remarks to graduates, Dr Ashwell reminded them that she faced career highs and lows, and that the difficult times can help in the long term. Quoting Nelson Mandela, she reflected that rather than being judged by achievements and awards, people should be judged by how they come back from hardship.

Published on 20/07/2022