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Over 1200 postgraduate students set to graduate next week

Graduation will take place from 22 to 25 April, with ceremonies also being live-streamed.

Two graduands, one male and one female, are wearing academic gowns and caps and smiling at each other.

Next week 1,245 postgraduate students are poised to graduate, marking a significant milestone in their academic journey. Spread across ten ceremonies spanning four days, from Monday 22 to Thursday 25 April, the celebrations will unfold at Senate House, the esteemed headquarters of the University of London, located in Bloomsbury, adjacent to Birkbeck's campus. The graduands, accompanied by their loved ones and Birkbeck staff, will convene for the celebrations, which will also be broadcast via live stream.  

Professor Sally Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of Birkbeck, commented: “I would like to convey my warmest congratulations to all students graduating next week, who have shown such dedication to their education and personal development. I am immensely proud and wish you all the best in the future as you become part of our community of alumni.“ 

In addition to being addressed by Baroness Joan Bakewell, President of Birkbeck, the graduating students will hear insights shared by esteemed guests and speakers 

Anne-Marie Huby 
A Birkbeck alumna who co-founded and led the UK arm of the humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontieres and who also co-founded the well-known fundraising site, JustGiving. She is now chair of, the UK's leading online platform for one-to-one learning. 

Dr Lauren Barnett
A Birkbeck alumna best known for her non-fiction book Death Lines: Walking London’s Horror History and her short stories Error 404, which won a Spectrum award, and The Fog, which was shortlisted for the WriteHive Horror Fiction prize. Lauren is also a dedicated advocate for life-long learning. As co-trustee of the charitable foundation, Tristarr LLC, she supports institutions, programs, and grants for later-life and ongoing learning in the US and the UK. 

William Sarenden
Chair of Birkbeck’s Students’ Union and currently studying BA Philosophy, in his role William acts as an ambassador for the welfare of Birkbeck Students, giving them a voice.  

There will also be several orations, recognising the contribution of four Fellows. Elected annually by the Governors, the award of a Birkbeck Fellowship recognises individuals who have either given outstanding service to the university or who have attained distinction in their fields or in connection with Birkbeck.  

The Fellows being formally recognised at this April’s ceremonies are: 

Professor Susan James
Susan James is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at Birkbeck, and well known for her work on the history of seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophy, including the history of women philosophers.   

Before joining Birkbeck in 2000, Susan taught at the University of Connecticut and the University of Cambridge. From 2003-2006 she served as Chair of the Birkbeck Philosophy Department. Since she retired from Birkbeck, she has been made a Visiting Professor at King’s College London.  

Susan has published seven books and more than 50 journal articles, covering the history of seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy, political and social philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Her research aims to relate early-modern conceptions of what is involved in living well to contemporary ethical and political problems.     

Dr Hazel Willis
Hazel Willis is a Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, one of the first Principal Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, and an accomplished senior leader with experience in both business and higher education sectors   

After finishing school, Hazel worked for Barclays Bank whilst raising her family and came back to education in her late thirties to study additional A-levels, followed by a degree and PhD in her forties. Her first academic post saw her seconded onto a variety of strategic projects at leadership level, which led to much of her career in higher education focused on design, leadership and strategy alongside both working for, and studying for an MBA with, the Open University  

Hazel joined Birkbeck’s executive leadership team in late 2021, where she supported the development and implementation of strategic adaptations and changes required post-pandemic   

Dr Kate Mackenzie Davey
Kate Mackenzie Davey joined Birkbeck in 1994, bridging commercial and academic sectors as the Career Research Forum Research Fellow. She retired as Dean of College and Senior Lecturer in Organizational Psychology in 2020  

After a Psychology BSc and various non-academic diversions, including ten years teaching apprentices liberal studies, she returned to academic learning with an MSc and PhD in Occupational Psychology from Manchester  

Before joining Birkbeck she worked in consultancy, first on health and quality of life, and then in senior management assessment and selection. Her research focusing on careers across boundaries began with large scale, quantitative surveys and developed to qualitative studies with women, refugee doctors, multi-national teams, taxi drivers and museums. Kate’s experiences of teaching working people, returning to study in mid-career, commercial consultancy and academic research, found a home in Birkbeck’s Organizational Psychology Department.  

Robert Allison
Robert Allison is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and was an Independent Governor at Birkbeck from 2008 to 2023. Following completion of a BSc in Mathematics from Manchester University, Robert joined Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co, a predecessor of KPMG, one of the largest providers of global professional and accounting services   

He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1972 and became a partner with KPMG in the mid-1980s. Subsequently he developed a specialism in the transportation sector, ultimately heading up KPMG’s transportation practice globally. He also sat on KPMG’s Client Service Board in the UK   

Alongside his governor role at Birkbeck, Robert has been involved in a range of charities, both as trustee and a volunteer. In 2002, he and his wife took on the running of a hill farm in the Yorkshire Dales, where Robert was brought up.  

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