Pictured from the left is the University's Chancellor, Lord Sebastian Coe, Professor Mark Thurston, and Loughborough's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings.

Chief Executive of HS2 awarded honorary degree

The Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, Visiting Professor and Loughborough alumnus, Mark Thurston has been awarded an honorary degree by the University.

The award – in recognition of his contribution to the rail industry – was presented at the University’s winter degree ceremony on Monday 20 December.

With more than 25 years’ experience in project and programme management, Mark Thurston has worked in both the public and private sectors on some of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects.

Before joining HS2 Professor Thurston was the Regional Managing Director, Europe, for CH2M and spent time in leadership roles on both London 2012 and Crossrail.

In February he joined the University’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering as Visiting Professor of Complex Project and Programme Leadership, and has been instrumental in several research collaborations between Loughborough and HS2.

Speaking about his honorary degree, Thurston said: “I’m both humbled and delighted to receive this honorary degree. The research at Loughborough is at the forefront of the work in both the construction and rail sectors, and I look forward to maintaining my close connection with the University and supporting their activity in these areas.”

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings, added: “We are delighted to be able to recognise Mark’s success and the contribution he has made to the rail industry over the last 30 years. As an alum he has been a great supporter of the University and continues to pass on his significant knowledge to our students.”

Mark Thurston joins a long line of distinguished Loughborough alumni that have received honorary degrees. These include TV presenter and broadcaster Ore Oduba, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University in 2017 in recognition of his contribution to British television; Richard Joseph, the co-founder of kitchenware company Joseph Joseph Ltd, who was made Honorary Doctor of Technology In 2014 in recognition of his contribution to design innovation and business success; and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson, who in 2001 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Technology in recognition of her inspirational role as an outstanding Paralympian.

Other well-known honorary graduates of the University include Dame Judi Dench, Gary Lineker, and Richard Branson.

For further information on all our honorary graduates click here.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 21/267

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022, and 10th in both the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.