Belfast Telegraph

University chief knighted by Queen

The vice-chancellor of Queen's University Belfast has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Professor Peter Gregson oversaw the university's development as a member of an elite group of institutions committed to research.

He was awarded the accolade for services to higher education in Northern Ireland and was among a total of 53 people from Northern Ireland to receive some form of recognition.

Others on the list included film and television producer Mark Huffam CBE and the founder of Co Antrim bus builder Wrightbus, William Wright, also awarded a CBE for services to the bus industry after a career which has seen his company become one of the UK's leading manufacturers.

Sir Peter said: "It is enormously humbling to receive this honour. Throughout my career I've been inspired by successive generations of students and by my peers around the world. Any contribution I have made has been through the magnificent teams of people with whom I have been privileged to work, and with the support of my wife and family."

Around 60% of recipients of the honours were men and the list includes civil servants and members of the voluntary sector. The oldest was William Wright, 83, and the youngest Brian Wilson, 40, a drum major from Armagh who has won the World Drum Major Championships twice and becomes an MBE.

Sir Peter, who is married with three daughters, was appointed vice-chancellor of Queen's in 2004. The institution joined the Russell Group of 20 leading UK universities in 2006 and is committed to pioneering research across a diverse range of subjects.

Mr Wright founded Wrightbus in 1946 and was awarded the OBE in 2001. Since then the company has grown significantly and exploited new export markets, including Hong Kong. Wrightbus has taken the lead in the development of the UK's first hybrid electric bus. Mr Wright stood down as company chairman in 2007 to pursue the development of hybrid technology.

Mr Huffam was awarded the CBE for services to the film and television industries. Having begun his career in Northern Ireland working on local election programmes, he has been active in the industry since 1983 and worked as a film producer for more than a decade.

Currently working in London, he was involved in the production of Saving Private Ryan. In 2000 he co-produced Quills, which was nominated for three Oscars and four Baftas. He also produced Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Mamma Mia and Killing Bono.

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