University of Warwick: Queen of Ska Pauline Black to receive honorary degree from University of Warwick

The highly acclaimed singer, known as the ‘Queen of Ska’, released five top 40 singles in the UK with the Coventry-based group, including iconic hits “Too Much Pressure” and “On My Radio”.

The Selecter, alongside The Specials and Madness, were part of a new wave of ska bands, which burst onto the British music scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s, fusing reggae with punk and highlighting issues such as racism, sexism and poverty.

The singer released her autobiography ‘Black by Design’ in 2011 and has collaborated with artists including Blur frontman Damon Albarn during her career. She continues to perform live with The Selecter and record new music.

Outside of music, Pauline has been a long-standing champion for racial equality, and played a pivotal role in the Coventry 2021 City of Culture bid, which included performing in the Opening Ceremony. She has lived in the city for more than 50 years.

The University of Warwick list of honorary doctorates includes Charles Adeogun-Phillips, the former head of special investigations at the United Nations, who worked as a lead prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Between 1998 and 2010, Charles successfully led teams of international lawyers in the complex and pioneering prosecution of perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which around 800,000 civilians were killed.

He prosecuted at 12 high-profile international criminal trials before an international court, championing the cause of the victims of genocide and war crimes. Charles was awarded his Bachelor of Laws in 1992 from the University of Warwick, and now runs a private practice specialising in international human rights.

His lasting impact on international law and human rights through his work on behalf of the victims of the Rwanda genocide has been the subject of several books.

Other outstanding figures receiving honorary doctorates this year include:



Mathematician Ian Stewart who gained his PhD from Warwick in 1970, and engineering and leading motorsport figure Mike O’Driscoll, who gained an MBA at Warwick in 1989.


Keith Bedell-Pearce CBE has been connected with the University of Warwick for more than 50 years, having gained an MSc as part of the second-year intake of the fledgling Warwick Business School in 1969. He will receive the Chancellor’s Medal.


Baroness Warwick, General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers from 1983-1992, Chief Executive of Universities UK from 1995-2009, and current chair of trustees for International Students House will receive her honorary doctorate on 21st July.


John Witcombe, the Dean of Coventry Cathedral will be handed an honorary doctorate to add to his Master’s in Philosophy in Practical Theology. John’s work at Coventry Cathedral has included navigating significant challenges in moving the Cathedral towards financial sustainability. He also played a key role in Coventry’s City of Culture 2021 bid and delivering the programme of events.

Andrew Morris’s extensive work in medical science, public health and chronic diseases sees him become an Honorary Doctor of Science, along with automotive and aerospace expert Allan Cook CBE, as well as Cindy Rose OBE, President of Microsoft Western Europe.


Further honorary doctorates will be awarded to filmmaker Mike Downey, economist and former Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White, immersive technology expert Catherine Allen, and mobile telecommunications leader Mike Short CBE.


The awarding of honorary doctorates forms part of the Warwick Celebrates graduation ceremonies, which sees 40,000 graduates, graduands and their guests come to the University of Warwick campus for degree ceremonies.

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick, said: “All those being awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Warwick this year have made immense contributions to public life in a range of fields, from prosecutors of international war criminals, to science and engineering innovators, leaders of multinational businesses, cultural and music pioneers, and experts in education and public policy.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to honour these figures, who have had a vast and valuable impact both internationally and at home.”

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