Royal Holloway bestows honorary awards each year in recognition of outstanding contributions to the life and work of the university, or to the wider cause of education.
In this year’s winter graduation ceremonies, we welcomed three new honorary graduates to the Royal Holloway community;
- Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE, first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge
- Vice Admiral Ben Key CBE, Fleet Commander in the Royal Navy
- Dame Angela Strank DBE, Head of Downstream Technology and Chief Scientist at BP
Read more about these inspiring individuals and their work below.
Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, (Honoris Causa), for her continued work in the engineering industry.
Professor Dowling is the first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and is also Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she was Head of the Department of Engineering from 2009 – 2014.
Professor Dowling’s research focuses on efficient, low emission combustion for aero and industrial gas turbines and low noise vehicles, especially aircraft and cars. She led the Silent Aircraft Initiative, a research collaboration between Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT), and ran the University Gas Turbine Partnership with Rolls-Royce from 2001 – 2014. She has held visiting posts at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology and the California Institute of Technology.
Professor Dowling is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and is a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the French Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and a non-executive director of BP and of the Smiths Group. She was appointed CBE for services to Mechanical Engineering in 2002, DBW for services to Science in 2007 and was appointed to the Order of Merit by the Queen in December 2015.
Speaking of her award, Professor Dowling said: “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to receive this award, and I am very grateful to Royal Holloway for recognising me in this way.
“As an institution invested in the education of women, it feels particularly special to be granted this award by Royal Holloway on the centenary of women’s suffrage.”
Royal Holloway alumnus, Vice Admiral Ben Key has received the honorary award of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa).
Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Key was educated at Bromsgrove School and joined the Royal Navy in 1984, before enrolling at Royal Holloway to read Physics a year later. As a junior officer in the Royal Navy, he saw service in six of the seven oceans of the world in a variety of frigates and destroyers.
During his career, he has commanded four ships; the mine hunter HMS Sandown, the frigates HMS Iron Duke and HMS Lancaster, and the aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious.
From 2013 – 15, Ben Key was Flag Officer Sea Training, responsible for recruiting, individual and operational training across the Navy. He took up his current position as the Fleet Commander in February 2016. He is responsible for ensuring that the ships, submarines, Naval Air Squadrons and Royal Marine Commando units of the Fleet are ready for operations around the world, and was appointed CBE in the 2016 New Year Honours.
Speaking of his award, Ben said: “What an honour to be presented with this award by an institution that holds so many fond and special memories for me.
“I am humbled to be here, and grateful to Royal Holloway for recognising me in this way.”
Dame Angela Strank, DBE, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, (Honoris Causa).
Dame Angela joined British Petroleum (BP) in 1982 as a PhD geologist in Exploration and Production. She has since held various technical and commercial leadership roles including: Chief Financial Officer Lubricants for the Americas, BP/Statoil Alliance Manager for Nigeria, Business Development and Reputation Manager for Angola, and Technology Vice President, Fuels and Lubricants. In 2013 she was appointed to the role of Vice President, Head of BP Group Chief Executive office.
In April 2014 Angela was appointed to the role of BP’s Chief Scientist, with responsibility for developing strategic insights for the company arising from advancements in science and technology. In addition to being Chief Scientist, in 2015 Angela was appointed Head of Downstream Technology for BP. In 2018 she became a member of BP’s Executive Leadership Team.
Dame Angela won the UK First Women’s Award in Science and Technology in 2010, recognising pioneering women in business, and in 2018 was the first woman to receive the UK Energy Institute’s prestigious Cadman Award for outstanding services to the energy industry.
Dame Angela was awarded a DBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2017, for services to the oil industry and for encouraging women into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) careers.
Angela is a Non-Executive Board Director at Severn Trent Water plc, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers, a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, and an Honorary Fellow of the UK Energy Institute.
Speaking of her award, Dame Angela said: “I am extremely privileged to be awarded this degree by Royal Holloway.
“I am especially proud, as a woman in STEM, to be awarded this honour by an institution that has always championed women’s education.”