Elite sportspersons to be honoured at graduation ceremonies

Three elite sportspersons are amongst the honorary graduates to be celebrated during Loughborough University’s summer graduation ceremonies.

National Centre Lead Coach for British Swimming Melanie Marshall – who has helped the likes of Adam Peaty reach success, Paralympic gold medallist Dan Greaves, Olympic gold medallist Liam Heath and Jim Murphy, an alumnus that has been foundational to the University, are the four distinguished individuals that are to be recognised this week (17-20 July).

Melanie, who joined the University to study Applied Sport Science in 2000, has an outstanding list of sporting accolades.

She is a double Olympian, five-time Olympic finalist, the second most decorated female at the Commonwealth Games and, in 2004, she was ranked number one in the world when she broke the British 200m freestyle record.

Melanie announced her retirement from swimming following the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She joined City of Derby Swimming Club as Head Coach, before joining Loughborough as the National Centre Lead Coach for British Swimming. 

Today she is a world-leading elite coach – having been named British Swim Coach of the Year three times in a row, and the 2014 International Swim Coach of the Year – and she has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Discus thrower and Loughborough alumnus Dan Greaves will also have his achievements recognised this week.

Dan, who is from Leicestershire, has trained on campus for many years and has competed in five consecutive Paralympic Games since the age of 18.

Over the years he has collected an array of records and medals; he holds a quintet of Paralympic medals and maintains an impressive record of a medal in every Games he has competed in.

In 2001 Dan became the first Paralympian to represent Great Britain in an able-bodied event with selection for the GB junior team.

He has been an inspirational role model in both sporting arenas and has spoken about the importance of increasing access to sport.

Liam Heath MBE will also be honoured during this week’s ceremonies. In 10 years, Liam has gone from Loughborough graduate to Britain’s most successful canoeist.

His Olympic success began at London 2012 when he secured bronze in the K2 200m with fellow Loughborough alumnus, Jon Schofield.

The individual race in Rio sealed Liam’s fate as an Olympic champion. He achieved Gold in the K1 200m – making him the most successful British canoeist at an Olympic Games – and he currently holds the record for the world’s fastest time in this event.

The final alumnus that is to be celebrated is Jim Murphy, who graduated from Loughborough with a degree of BTech Ergonomics and Cybernetics in 1969 and an MSc in Human Sciences Research in 1972.

Jim is someone who has dedicated a huge amount of time and effort to the University and has taken on a number of vital roles, including as a Lay Member of Council, Chair of the Imago Board, Chair of the Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee of the University and its trade unions, and a member of the School of Business and Economics’ Strategic Advisory Board.

The former Retail Director of Debenhams Plc has given an industry dimension to the teaching and research in Business and Economics and he also has acted as a mentor to individuals and their personal development, encouraging them to pursue new avenues of research.

More information on Loughborough University’s graduation ceremonies can be found on the dedicated webpage.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 18/105

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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 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2019, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

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.