UEL honours Doreen Lawrence, Dr Muhammad Bari, and Tom Canning with doctorates

A tireless campaigner for justice, a Muslim leader, and a pioneering local headteacher collected doctorates from the University of East London (UEL) this week.

The Honourary Doctorates from the Cass School of Education were awarded to the three extraordinary individuals over two days at the 02 Arena in North Greenwich.

On Thursday (Nov 29), Doreen Lawrence OBE was honoured for founding the Stephen Lawrence Trust with her husband Neville in memory of her son who was killed in a racist attack in 1993.

Doreen said: “This is recognition of all the work our trust has done in helping young people achieve their dreams and ambitions.

“We have already supported over 100 students – eight of whom who have gone on to successful careers in architecture.”


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Professor Patrick McGhee, UEL vice-chancellor, said: “Doreen Lawrence’s tireless efforts to deliver sweeping reforms to the Metropolitan Police Service and criminal justice system in the face of great adversity - and in the wake of her own personal grief - are a shining example to us all.”

On Wednesday (Nov 28), a doctorate was awarded to Tollgate Primary School headteacher Tom Canning OBE who turned the failing school in Beckton into an outstanding one in Ofsted reports and one of the top 200 schools in the country.

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Tom said: “East London lost teacher training in the 80s and we had to fight hard to bring it back, so to be here twenty years later, graduating from the Cass School of Education, makes it feel as though my life’s work has come full circle.”

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE also received an award on Wednesday for his work as secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain from 2006 to 2010 and for his contribution to the cultural life of east London.

Dr Bari said: “I am excited about local communities, with which UEL has phenomenal links. The Olympic and Paralympic Games left a huge legacy of optimism and hope within the local community, with 2012 nearly over, let’s work together to make these promises a reality.”

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