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Graduation 2016: Inspiring individuals to receive Honorary Doctorates

Graduation 2016 Monday 11 July 2016

During a week of graduation celebrations, two inspiring individuals will be receiving Honorary Doctorates. The first female Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside and an academic who has furthered the teaching of Geography in Malta and the UK will be awarded honorary degrees by Liverpool Hope University.

On Tuesday 19th July 2016, Dame Lorna Muirhead, Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) in recognition of her outstanding service to Merseyside during her time as Lord Lieutenant.

On Wednesday 20th July 2016, Professor John Schembri, Head of the Department of Geography at the University of Malta, will receive the Doctor of Education (honoris causa) in recognition of his contribution to Geography education at both university and school level.

Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University said:  

“We are recognising two people who demonstrate what it truly means to be of service to others. They each reflect the mission and values of the university and will no doubt provide inspiration to our graduating class of 2016. Dame Lorna has served Merseyside tirelessly for more than fifty years as both a midwife and as Lord Lieutenant. Professor Schembri is passionate about his subject and has assisted generations of Liverpool Hope staff and students in deepening their knowledge of the world around them. We look forward to formally welcoming all two into the Liverpool Hope community.”   


Dame Lorna‌Dame Lorna Muirhead was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside in 2006. Born in Shropshire, Dame Lorna trained as a nurse and then as a midwife in Birmingham before coming to Liverpool in 1965 with her husband, who was engaged in Postgraduate studies at the University of Liverpool. For most of her working life Dame Lorna was a clinical midwife, first at the Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Oxford Street and latterly at the Liverpool Women's Hospital. Her passion was the care of labouring women and during almost 40 years she delivered thousands of Liverpool's babies. In 1992 she became a member of Council at the Royal College of Midwives, which is the oldest and largest Midwifery organisation in the World, and in 1995 she was elected President and served 8 years as a National and International Ambassador for midwives.

During that time she sat on many national and international committees and she was an adviser to five Secretaries of State on the strategy and delivery of the maternity services in the UK. Her contribution and passion for midwives, midwifery, women and their families was acknowledged in 2000 when she was awarded Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for service to midwifery.

Dame Lorna said: “One of my first engagements as Lord-Lieutenant was to deliver the Letters Patent from Her Majesty confirming university status on Liverpool Hope University. It was a memorable occasion and the beginning of a long and happy involvement with this unique ecumenical institution. How very proud I am that Liverpool Hope University should honour me by the award of an Honorary Doctorate.”‌

Prof SP‌rofessor John A. Schembri is Head of the Department of Geography within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malta. His primary school education took place at the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition and he attended The Lyceum and the Junior College for his secondary and post-secondary education respectively. He has a BA from the University of Malta in Contemporary Mediterranean Studies and History and later obtained an MA in the Geography of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, followed by a PhD, both through Durham University’s Department of Geography. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and is also a Chartered Geographer. He lectures mainly in Human Geography with particular reference to the Mediterranean. Professor Schembri is essentially a coastal geographer with interests in development in ports and harbours and historical heritage along urban coastal areas. The latter includes early 20th century Ordnance Survey cartography of the Maltese Islands. Professor Schembri is a regular contributor to courses organised by the International Ocean Institute in Malta.

Professor Schembri said: “I am delighted to accept this award. It came as a huge surprise, as I always considered Conferment was for others. I am grateful to Liverpool Hope University for this and for having maintained relations with the University of Malta for more than a decade through a number of research, pedagogic and publication initiatives from the initial Erasmus Exchange Programme. The joint field sessions, held annually in Malta, cement these relations, assist in giving both sets of students an international dimension to their studies, and provide cultural bridges between the young geographers. I dedicate this award to my seniors, tutors, and colleagues in the faculties, departments and administration of the Alma Maters where I worked and studied in Malta and the UK, to the members of the geography department at Liverpool Hope University, soon my additional Alma Mater, and my friends and family for encouraging me to follow the academic pathways. The moral support I received from my son and my late wife was crucial in following my career.”

Watch the live stream of Graduation on the Liverpool Hope University You Tube Channel 

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