Fundraising campaigner along with Brum’s Poet Laureate receive Honorary Degrees from Birmingham Newman University
Two of Birmingham’s well-known figures have received Honorary Degrees from Birmingham Newman University.
Both Jasmine and Lynne joined more than 1300 students at their graduation ceremonies at Symphony Hall, Birmingham on Monday 30th October.
Honorary degrees are granted in recognition of someone’s outstanding contribution, success and distinction within their profession or a campaign close to their hearts, with previous graduates including actors Rachel Shenton and Mark Williams as well as football referee Sian Massey-Ellis MBE.
Jasmine Gardosi – Doctor of Letters
Jasmine Gardosi is the Birmingham Poet Laureate. She is a multiple slam champion, beatboxer, winner of the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry and winner of the
Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer 2023. Her work exploring identity, LGBTQ issues and mental health has appeared on Button Poetry, at the Tate Modern, Glastonbury Festival, Symphony Hall and BBC. She was featured on Sky Arts’ BAFTA-winning show Life & Rhymes and her poem about the pandemic, filmed on a rollercoaster, was broadcast across America on PBS. She was recently invited by the British Embassy in Tallinn to headline Estonia’s historic, first ever queer poetry slam for Baltic Pride.
She is a previous Writer in Residence at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Poet in Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and BBC Arts Young Creative. Her poetry/beatbox/Celtic dubstep show ‘Dancing To Music You Hate’ explores gender identity and was commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre. After premiering to standing ovations, it won Best Spoken Word Show in the Saboteur Awards and its titular track was performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, broadcast on BBC Four. Following a sold-out show at Symphony Hall, the show toured the UK this summer.
Jasmine Gardosi said: “I am delighted to have received this Honorary Doctorate of Letters, and grateful to Birmingham Newman University for recognising my contributions towards literature. Pushing the conventions of poetry, using spoken word as a tool for social inclusion, and bringing communities together through art – this is the kind of work that might often go without formal recognition when it occurs outside of an academic context. This is why I’m thrilled to receive such an acknowledgement from an institution which, in itself, pushes convention, makes new, and brings an overwhelmingly diverse community of various people, backgrounds and experiences to one place to learn, improve and achieve dreams together. I am honoured to accept this award alongside the graduands of Birmingham Newman University. All of us have made our own diverse, multifaceted and perhaps unconventional journeys towards this day. I look forward to celebrating our achievements together.”
Lynne Baird MBE – Doctor of Education
Lynne Baird founded the Daniel Baird Foundation after her son, Daniel, was fatally stabbed on the 8th July 2017 outside The Forge Tavern in Digbeth, Birmingham.
Lynne soon learnt that a simple piece of medical equipment could have saved her son’s life that night and has made it her mission to make bleed control kits publicly available across the country. These kits have subsequently saved many lives and have now been purchased internationally. Lynne’s relentless campaigning over the past 6 years has been recognised in the 2022 New Year’s honours list in which Lynne was awarded an MBE, as well as winning a Pride of Britain award in 2020 and being awarded the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s community Thank You Award, also in 2020.
Lynne won special recognition in the 2022 Pride of Birmingham Awards. Lynne is regularly interviewed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Channel 4, Sky News as well as various newspapers including The Guardian, The Mirror and The Birmingham Mail. Lynne speaks in schools and at conferences, sharing her story and spreading the word of her life saving campaign ever further.
Lynne Baird welcomed her Honorary Degree: ” Starting and running a charity in memory of a son is something no parent should ever have to do, but sadly that was the position I found myself in. Dan was out celebrating a new job with friends and was unfortunately caught up in being in the wrong place at the wrong time which cost him his life. From that moment onwards I have dedicated my life to reduce other families being in the situation I was. I spend every hour of every day building awareness around bleed control, doing talks to numerous organisations and schools, talking to the media to raise awareness. We are not a funded charity, we get no government support, no grants, we just work day in, day out to stop families losing loved ones through critical injuries. I am very honoured to be recognised by Birmingham Newman University and to receive the honorary degree. I will continue to use my position to promote bleed control and raise awareness of the importance of bleed control kits. Thank you for all your support and recognition.”
Professor Jackie Dunne, Vice Chancellor of Birmingham Newman University said: “We are immensely proud to award both Lynne Baird MBE and Jasmine Gardosi with honorary degrees from Birmingham Newman University. Both women are proud local Brummies who have excelled in their respective roles in making a difference to the lives of others. As we celebrate the achievements of our own students who have graduated today, Jasmine and Lynne’s honorary degrees are in line with our values and the thinking of our Patron, Saint John Henry Newman of the importance of civic responsibility and duty of making a positive difference.”
The graduation ceremony took place at the Symphony Hall on Monday 30th October 2023.
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Note to Editors:
Birmingham Newman University was founded in 1968 as a teacher training college, before gaining full university status in 2013 offering numerous undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications. Newman students come from a range of social backgrounds, faiths, and cultures. The university focuses on interactive teaching and developing students with the skills they need to make a positive contribution to society. In 2023 Birmingham Newman University was named the best in the UK for student satisfaction in the most recent National Student Survey (NSS), while named first in England for social inclusion by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.