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23rd September 2021

Exeter welcomes University honorands

Exeter College welcomed distinguished members of the University of Oxford plus the University’s honorands yesterday ahead of the Encaenia ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre.

The College once again hosted Lord Crewe’s Benefaction, where members of the University gather to meet with the honorands in Exeter’s Fellows’ Garden before processing into Brasenose Lane, through Radcliffe Square and into the Sheldonian.

Due to the pandemic, the degree ceremony was postponed from June 2020. All recipients of honorary degrees this year were women, in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of women first being awarded degrees by the University of Oxford.

The six eminent figures who received honorary degrees this year were: 

Professor Linda Colley CBE, an award-winning historian and Princeton’s Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History. Her seven books span British, imperial and global history since 1700 and have been translated into 15 languages.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, a distinguished clinical academic and public servant. She has provided scientific leadership on both the local and global stage, including roles with the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the UK government. 

Professor Anna Deavere Smith, a renowned actress, playwright, teacher, and author. Her ground-breaking work pioneering the style of ‘verbatim theatre’ – looking at current events through interpreting and performing the text of interviews – earned her a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and nominations for Tony Awards.

Baroness Ruth Lister CBE, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University. Her career has seen her fight poverty and inequality as an academic, a peer and in the charity sector.  

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has spent five decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, activist, and volunteer, First Lady of the United States, First Lady of Arkansas, the 67th United States Secretary of State, and presidential candidate.

Jeanette Winterson CBE, a British writer. Her work includes novels, short stories, essays, and books for children. She is published in 19 countries and has won numerous awards. 

Read more about this year’s honorands and Encaenia here.


The University’s honorands after the Encaenia ceremony with Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor Oxford University. From L-R the recipients are: Professor Anna Deavere Smith, Baroness Ruth Lister CBE, Professor Linda Colley CBE, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Professor Dame Sally Davies and Jeanette Winterson CBE. Image credit: Ian Wallman

Encaenia 2021

Members of the University gather to meet with the honorands in Exeter’s Fellows’ Garden before processing into Brasenose Lane. Image credit: Ian Wallman 

Encaenia 2021

The procession outside Exeter’s Fellows’ Garden heading towards Radcliffe Square. Image credit: Ian Wallman

Encaenia Exeter alumnae

It was lovely to welcome Exeter alumnae Christina Blacklaws (1985, Law), Lucinda Bell (1983, Law) and Tina Cook QC (1984, Law) back to College for the ceremony. 

Encaenia Exeter alumnae

Alumnae Lucinda Bell (1983, Law), Christina Blacklaws (1985, Law) and Tina Cook QC (1984, Law) with Exeter’s Rector, Professor Sir Rick Trainor and his wife Professor Marguerite Dupree. 

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