News and events


Lord Bilimoria, Dame Rita Bellamy-James and Peter Kyle OBE celebrated with honorary doctorates

1 December 2017

Dame Rita Bellamy-James and Peter Kyle OBE receive their Honorary Doctorates

Entrepreneur Lord Karan Bilimoria, Barrister and Deputy Chair of the University’s Court of Governors, Dame Rita Bellamy-James, and Peter Kyle OBE, former Chair of the Court of Governors, received Honorary Degrees at Westminster’s winter graduation ceremony.

The awards were presented at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 27-28 November alongside Westminster students receiving their degree certificates.

The University of Westminster recognised Lord Bilimoria’s inspirational career that has taken him from Hyderabad to Harvard Business School. He is the co-founder and director of Cobra Beer and the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council. As well as his stellar business career Lord Bilimoria was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London). In 2014, he was appointed 7th Chancellor of the University of Birmingham becoming the first Indian born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain. He is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge. In 2006 he was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. Lord Bilimoria’s exceptional career and experience makes him a man of many parts.  Entrepreneur, Leader, Diplomat, Friend and Champion of International Students: Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Acting Vice-Chancellor.

Lord Bilimoria receives his honorary doctorate
Lord Bilimoria receives his honorary doctorate. Photo courtesy H Tempest

Dame Rita Bellamy-James and Peter Kyle OBE received Honorary Doctorates for their distinguished careers and commitment to education. Barrister Dame Rita Bellamy has a stellar record of public service and service to the University of Westminster. She has served on the Court of Governors since 2006 and as Deputy Chair to the Court from 2015-17. Over her career Rita has made substantial contributions in the areas of education, women’s achievement and in diplomacy. She was nominated as one of the UK Women of The Year in 2005 and 2006.

Peter Kyle OBE’s extensive career in creative arts and education has taken him from his positions as a soloist dancer to Chief Executive of The Scottish Ballet, Chairman of the Centre for Contemporary Arts and Dean of the Arts Educational Schools, London, and for 12 years he was Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe. As well as serving on the Boards of numerous charitable organisations, he is the former Chair of the Court of Governors and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Westminster. He received the OBE for services to drama in the 2011 New Year’s Honours.

The University of Westminster is proud to welcome each of this year’s Honorary Doctorates to our alumni family. Their individual work reflects the University’s values which we look to encourage in our students, such as enterprise and entrepreneurship, a commitment to help others, and a shared understanding of the importance of education.

Photo credit: H. Tempest

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

For the media

For the media

Here we hope you find everything you will need to research, write and publish your story or blog post.