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Bishop Stephen Venner awarded first Christ Church honorary degree

07 June 2010

Canterbury Christ Church University has conferred an honorary degree upon Bishop Stephen Venner. This is the first occasion on which an Honorary Doctorate has been awarded.

Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Body, Mr Peter Hermitage, Bishop Stephen Venner and Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Wright
Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Body, Mr Peter Hermitage, Bishop Stephen Venner and Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Wright.

Rt Revd Dr Stephen Venner received the honour for his significant contribution to the University and community.

He is the former Bishop in Canterbury and Bishop of Dover and was the first Pro-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, before retiring last year.
He was officially conferred the title Doctor of the University at Canterbury Christ Church University’s graduation ceremony on Friday 7 May, 2010.

Bishop Stephen, who lives in Rochester, said: "For ten years I have been closely associated with Canterbury Christ Church University as Governor, as the local Bishop, and as a representative of the Church of England nationally. It has been a matter of great pride to see it grow not simply in size but in reputation nationally and internationally, and particularly in our County of Kent.

“Ten years ago it was a good Church University College. Today, thanks to the inspired work of hundreds of staff and students under Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Wright's leadership, it is probably the outstanding Church University in our country.

“The granting of research degree awarding powers last year was a fitting climax, and so to receive the first ever honorary doctorate from the University is a unique honour and privilege of which I am humbly very proud.”

Vice Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Michael Wright, said: “This is the first honorary degree the University has conferred so is a particularly significant accolade.

“It is important for the University to bestow the title Doctor of the University on individuals who merit special recognition for outstanding achievement, particularly in areas which lie at the heart of our mission and values.

“In view of that, the University is delighted to confer an honorary degree upon Bishop Stephen Venner.”

Canterbury Christ Church University has also conferred an honorary fellowship upon The Very Revd Adrian Newman.

Revd Newman, who is the Dean of Rochester, was officially welcomed into the University’s Honorary Fellowship at Canterbury Christ Church University’s Medway Campus graduation ceremony. The ceremony took place at Rochester Cathedral on Wednesday 12 May, 2010.

Notes to Editor

Bishop Stephen Venner

Bishop Stephen Venner was a parish priest for 25 years serving in inner city South London, on a large housing estate in Wiltshire, and in an established civic church in Dorset.

In 1994 Bishop Stephen was ordained Bishop of Middleton, responsible for the Metropolitan Boroughs of Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside in the Diocese of Manchester.

For ten years until retirement, he was Bishop of Dover, which meant in practice that he was the Diocesan Bishop for Canterbury, exercising that ministry on behalf of the Archbishop.
Bishop Stephen is a trained teacher. He has been Vice-Chairman of the Church of England’s Board of Education, served on a range of national education committees, chaired three diocesan Boards of Education, and was the first Pro-Chancellor (Chairman of Governors) of Canterbury Christ Church University.

Rt Revd Stephen Venner is currently Bishop to the Forces and Bishop to the Falkland Islands.

The Very Reverend Adrian Newman

Adrian worked as an economist before ordination in 1985.  He served parish communities in East London, Sheffield, and central Birmingham (the Bullring) before taking up his present post as Dean of Rochester in 2005.

He is responsible for leading the Cathedral in its mission and ministry, representing the Cathedral in its engagement with the wider community, and has a variety of responsibilities across the diocese.

Canterbury Christ Church University


Canterbury Christ Church University has, since its foundation by the Church of England as a teacher training college in 1962, developed a wide range of taught programmes, research and educational services. It continues to be the largest centre of higher education in Kent for the major public services.

The University now has approximately 16,700 students based in five Faculties: Arts and Humanities, Business and Management, Education, Health and Social Care, Social and Applied Sciences.  Our 1,500 staff contribute to the University’s work at our five campuses: Canterbury, Broadstairs, Folkestone (in partnership with the Creative Foundation and the University of Greenwich), Medway (in partnership with the Universities of Greenwich and Kent with Mid-Kent College) and Tunbridge Wells.

In so doing we seek to sustain the University’s Mission: ‘Inspired by the University’s Church of England Foundation and the aspirations of our students and staff, our mission is to pursue excellence in academic and professional higher education thereby enriching both individuals and society.’

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Lucy Marsden
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