Being proud of your achievements, having a curiosity about how to solve problems in the wider world and having empathy for people were among the messages from the University of Huddersfield’s cohort of honorary doctorates awarded at its November graduation week.

The doctorates were given to GP and healthcare expert Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE, engineers Nigel Fine and Dr Paul Needham, and composer and music academic Richard Ayres. The latter pair are Huddersfield alumni, but the entire quartet were delighted to receive their recognition in front of the week’s graduates and their families.

Dr Jarvis is Visiting Professor in General Practice at the University of Huddersfield, and is patron of the University’s Institute of Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention (ISIaIP).

“To receive this honorary doctorate feels particularly exciting, but especially because I have worked so closely with Professor Karen Ousey at the ISIaIP,” says Dr Jarvis. “She is such an inspiration, I have heard so much about the University of Huddersfield and its work so I feel very privileged and very honoured.

Regarding the National Health Innovation Campus which will become an integral part of the University in the next few years, she added, “We are in a position where we have never needed innovation more in the NHS. Science has moved on dramatically, but new developments mean that we have to think differently. We have to think innovatively on how we can help people to help themselves.

“Obesity is presenting huge challenges. We need to help people to help themselves, because as well as alcohol, drugs and tobacco, food can be really addictive too.”

And advising recent graduates, she said, “I say follow your dreams but be aware that your dreams might change. I wanted to be a GP from the age of eight, I have never regretted going into general practice – it is an extraordinary profession, but it is not at all what I expected it to be.

“Be very proud about what you are doing. You’ll change lives, you’ll save lives and you will make a huge difference.”

Nigel Fine, the former Chief Executive of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, said, “There are some simple lessons from my career experiences. There is no substitute for hard work, seize opportunities for development and learning, and develop good collaborative working and people skills. Show kindness and empathy. Your new skills are in great demand all over the world, you have an amazing opportunity to engineer a better world.”

Musician and composer Richard Ayres, who graduated from Huddersfield Polytechnic in 1989, advised his fellow Huddersfield graduates to enjoy the moment.

“Enjoy the journey, don’t worry about where it is going. If you enjoy a subject, you will never be lost. There is no such thing as ‘getting there’. I have been sat in opera houses, listened to my compositions being played but I still think that I have to get up in the morning and that this is not the end of it. There is always the next day.”

Professor Paul Fine, another Huddersfield alumni and now Head of Engineering for Air and Space at BAE Systems, added, “I honestly believe there has never been a better time to be an engineer. With the products we are going to develop, it is a great time.

“My advice is to work hard – put the hours in when needed. Keep learning – whether that is academically or industrial placement or professional accreditation. And it is important to know what you do not like more than what you do, as that will help you achieve. If you work hard and keep learning, you will find the areas you want to work in.