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Turner Prize Founder Honoured By Warwick

The man who founded the Turner Prize and gave the University of Warwick one of its most famous sculptures is to be given an honorary doctorate.

Oliver Prenn is one of three people who will be given awards at the Winter Degree ceremony on 12 January, where he will be presented with an Hon DLitt.

Also selected are Sir John Browne, Group Chief Executive of BP Amoco, who will get an Hon DSc and Lord Bhikhu Parekh, chair of the Committee of the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, who receives an Hon LLD.

A businessman and patron of the arts, Oliver Prenn is Chairman of the Contemporary Arts Society, an independent charity committed to supporting innovative artists which has given over 4,000 works to museums throughout Britain.

In 1984, he founded the Turner Prize, and financed it for its first three years. He is also involved in a variety of arts organisations, including the National Theatre Development Council and the Amadeus Scholarship Fund.

Mr Prenn has strong links with the University of Warwick: the Prenn Foundation, which he founded with his wife Nyda, presented to the university the Richard Deacon sculpture Let’s Not Be Stupid, situated on campus opposite the bookshop, which was recently exhibited at the Royal Academy’s ‘Art Treasures of England’ survey.

The university also has a number of works owned by Mr Prenn on long-term loan, including works by Theresa Oulton, Bruce Irwin and Tricia Gillman.

Group Chief Executive of BP Amoco. Sir John joined British Petroleum Company in 1966, becoming group Treasurer and Chief Executive of BP Finance International, 1984-86; Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Standard Oil Company, 1986-87; Chief Executive Officer, Standard Oil Production Company, 1987-89, and Chief Executive BP Exploration Company 1989-95.

He was appointed an executive director of BP in 1991, and Group Chief Executive in 1995. BP and Amoco merged in 1998, and in July 2000 acquired Burmah Castrol.

Sir John is also a Trustee of the British Museum and a member of the governing body of London Business School. He received his knighthood in 1998.

BP’s historical archive is sited at the University of Warwick alongside the Modern Records Centre.

Lord Bhikhu Parekh has been Professor of Political Theory at the University of Hull since 1982. He also chaired the Committee on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, which began work in 1998 and has recently produced its report.

Educated at the University of Bombay and the University of London, he taught at the London School of Economics and the University of Glasgow before moving to Hull as Lecturer in 1964.

He has held visiting professorships at universities in Europe and North America. From 1978-82, he was a member of the Rampton – Swann Committee of Inquiry into the Educational Problems of Ethnic Minority Children.

He was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality from 1985 to 1990, and since 1996 has been Vice- President of the Gandhi Foundation. In 1991, he was British Asian of the Year. Lord Parekh’s extensive publications include The Decolonisation of Imagination, 1995, and Gandhi, 1997.
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CWN / Education / University of Warwick / 30 Nov 00

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