Development & Alumni Relations Office 


09 January 2018

A Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, one of the University’s Pro-Chancellors who is the current Chair of Senate, plus two honorary Queen’s graduates were among those recognised in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list, along with over a dozen other Queen’s alumni from different walks of life across Northern Ireland.  

Professor Richard English, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement and Professor of Politics, Professor of Politics, and Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the understanding of modern-day terrorism and political history.

Born in Belfast in 1963, Professor English read Modern History at Keble College, Oxford (MA, 1985) and studied for his PhD with Professor Charles Townshend at Keele University (1990). He is a frequent media commentator on terrorism and Irish politics and history including work for the BBC, NPR, the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, and the Financial Times.

He is the author of a number of books among them Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (2003), which won the politics book of the year award from the Political Studies Association and was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize and Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006), which won the Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize in 2007.

Professor English recently delivered a lecture to Queen’s alumni in New York entitled ‘Twenty-First Century Terrorism: How Should We Respond?’

Stephen Prenter received an MBE for services to the arts, business and education. Mr Prenter was founding partner of BDO chartered accountants and business advisers and served as the firm's Managing Partner for 19 years, retiring as Chairman in 2009. He is currently a business director and advisor, an elected council member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and Chairman of the Belfast Grand Opera House Trust.

A BSSc (1975) graduate, Mr Prenter is Pro-Chancellor of Queen’s University and Chair of Senate, the University’s governing body. From 2006-12 he served as the University's Honorary Treasurer.


Television presenter Eamonn Holmes, who was awarded an honorary DUniv by Queen’s University in 2006, received an OBE for services to broadcasting.


William Wright of Co Antrim coach-maker Wrightbus was awarded a knighthood for services to the economy and the bus industry. Mr Wright, after whom the William Wright Technology Centre Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was named in 2016, received an honorary DSc (Engineering) from the University in 2010. 


Among a number of other Queen’s graduates recognised in the 2018 Honours List are Jayne Brady, MEng (1995) who received an MBE for services to economic development in Northern Ireland; (1998) BMus graduate, Daryl Simpson who gets a BEM for services to community relations and peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland; and Christine Collins BSc (1976), who was awarded an MBE for services to people with rare diseases in Northern Ireland.


Other Queen’s alumni honoured included:


  • Elizabeth Atkinson, MPhil Medicine (1994) – MBE, for services to cancer patients and their families
  • Jack Beattie, DipEd (1956) – BEM, for services to the development of sport in Lisburn, Northern Ireland
  • Norman Black, former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at Ulster University, PhD (1978) – CBE, for services to higher education, science and the voluntary sector
  • David Canning, BEd (1979) – OBE, for services to children, young people and education
  • Samuel (Ricky) Caruth, BSc (1968) – BEM, for services to rowing in Northern Ireland
  • Jonathan Heggarty, PhD (1994) – MBE, for services to further education in Northern Ireland
  • Olive Maybin, BA (1979) – OBE, for public service
  • Thomas McBride, BSc Econ (1976) – MBE, for services to further education in Northern Ireland
  • Alison Moth, BEd (1986) – MBE, for services to education in Northern Ireland
  • Grace Nesbitt, BA (1978) – OBE, for services to government in Northern Ireland and for voluntary and charitable services.                                   

In all, over 100 people from Northern Ireland were honoured in the Queen's New Year Honours list for 2018. Awards will be presented later in the year.


The honours system recognises those doing extraordinary things to support local communities across the UK and relies on nominations put forward by members of the public.


General inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.


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