The University of Huddersfield will welcome four notable recipients of honorary doctorates at this July’s graduation ceremonies.
The quartet, honoured for their contribution across a wide range of areas, are Huddersfield alumni, actor, writer and TV presenter Adil Ray; Zenebu Hailu Dubale for her outstanding work with refugees; Graham McKenzie for his contribution to the world-renowned Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Aonghus Gordon for his charitable work for people living with disabilities.
Adil Ray OBE
Adil graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a BA (Hons) in Marketing in 1997, and is best known for writing and starring in the hit BBC sitcom ‘Citizen Khan’. He has presented Have I Got News For You and Good Morning Britain, adding to a varied portfolio that takes in TV, radio, acting, writing and factual programming. His 2010 BBC3 documentary, ‘Exposed: Groomed for sex’, won the Royal Television Society’s award for Best Current Affairs.
‘Citizen Khan’ premiered in 2012, with Adil collecting five RTS awards during its five-series run. He has also starred in Channel 4’s award-nominated drama ‘Ackley Bridge’, as well as ‘Stephen’, the acclaimed 2021 ITV drama about the conviction of Stephen Lawrence’s murderers. He was honoured with an OBE for services to media and broadcasting in 2016, and launched Cornered Tiger, his own production company, in 2021.
Zenebu Hailu Dubale
Zenebu Hailu Dubale is a refugee from Ethiopia who has made Huddersfield her home. Since 2010, she has been a Trustee and the Chairperson for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the UK. This national role has included the trustees purchasing a church in Huddersfield which will be used for community worship and wider community activities for people from across the UK.
Zenebu has made a distinctive and outstanding difference to the lives of refugees in the town. Dedicated to building on the benefits that migration brings to the area, she actively creates opportunities to ensure that Huddersfield continues to be a welcoming community.
Most recently, Zenebu has been part of the rapid response to the war in Ukraine, supporting women and child refugees following their arrival in Kirklees. She was recruited as a local leader as part of the ‘Every Vaccination Matters’ programme to combat COVID-19. She helped with information to dispel fears and delivered culturally sensitive workshops for which she received a Community Champion award.
Zenebu has worked in Huddersfield town centre as a mental health and wellbeing worker for WomenCentre Kirklees, offering peer support for women seeking asylum, refugees and new migrants. She plays a substantial role in helping transform women’s lives and outcomes for their families.
Graham McKenzie has been Artistic Director & Chief Executive for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival since 2006 and an Honorary Research Fellow University of Huddersfield since 2008.
Prior to his arrival at the University, Graham was Director of the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow from 1997 to 2006 where he oversaw the £10.2 million redevelopment of the building.
Graham is a curator and writer in the field of experimental and new music. He is Programme Advisor to the Glasgow Jazz Festival and an Associate Member of Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield.
He is a published playwright and regularly contributes to professional development and mentoring programmes for composers and artists, for a wide range of cultural organisations, universities and conservatoires throughout the UK and Europe.
Aonghus Gordon OBE
Aonghus Gordon has a distinguished track record of development and leadership of several ground-breaking charities that provide high quality environments and opportunities for people with disabilities.
He is the founding Trustee of Ruskin Mill Trust and Ruskin Mill Land Trust, which acquire and restore redundant iconic industrial buildings and transforming them into educational and cultural centres, winning many awards and commendations.
After training as a potter, Aonghus started Ruskin Mill Trust in 1981 as a centre for cultural development, a small project linked to a nearby specialist school in Gloucestershire. It is now one of the UK’s leading educational charities working with learning disabilities, with 12 centres across England, Wales and Scotland. Aonghus has pioneered its unique method of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, inspired by Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris’s ideas about social renewal, healthy human development and the importance of art, crafts and land work. Thousands of young people have benefited from this integrative education method.
In 2022, Aonghus was awarded an OBE for his work in cultural heritage and education.