UK (Newman University) Newman University honours Jeevan Singh Chagger and Her Honour Judge Carole Burgher

At Newman University we believe that education enables students to develop new ways of understanding the world, to help make a positive impact within it.

Each year, Newman awards Honorary Degrees to individuals who are deemed to have made a significant impact on society, and Birmingham in particular. Honorary Graduates are nominated by staff and students across the University.

On Monday 31st October, graduates along with their friends and family gathered at Symphony Hall, Birmingham for Newman University’s annual graduation ceremony.

This year’s Honorary Graduate nominees have made an outstanding contribution to society and the West Midlands area.

Born in Birmingham and raised a stone’s throw away from the University in Weoley Castle, Her Honour Judge Carole Burgher has had an extensive career dedicated to challenging social-inequalities and providing solutions and specialist support.

After studying for her degree in English with Drama from King Alfred’s College, Winchester (now the University of Winchester), Carole Burgher worked for the Newham Monitoring Project, supporting the victims of racial harassment and on issues of the policing of young black men and women. The Newham Monitoring Project worked with some of the East End authorities on developing their housing policy in respect of racial harassment.

It is this work that made Carole Burgher decide to become a lawyer. After completing professional training in Law, Carole returned to the West Midlands as a solicitor, becoming a highly respected member of the Law Society Children’s Panel and the first black member of the Children’s Panel in Birmingham. In 2008, Carole Burgher became a Deputy District Judge and then a District Judge and was one of the first two District Judges appointed to sit in the new Family Drug and Alcohol Court in Milton Keynes. In February 2018, she became the first African-Caribbean Circuit Judge on the Midland circuit and then worked to create the Birmingham and Solihull Family Drug and Alcohol Court which opened in March 2021.

Carole Burgher is now the Lead Family Drug and Alcohol Court Judge. The court is concerned with finding solutions to family problems and working with parents to care for their children. This work has changed the lives of struggling parents, those in the wider family and – most importantly – vulnerable children.

Earlier this year, the University hosted an event in celebration of International Women’s Day, which included a panel discussion where Her Honour Judge Carole Burgher was invited to speak about female empowerment and how to #Breakthebias in society.

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature is being conferred by Newman University on Her Honour Judge Carole Burgher in recognition of her significant contribution to the legal profession.

           Jeevan Singh Chagger

At Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games earlier this year, Jeevan Singh Chagger was recognised for his commitment to social justice and inclusivity. Jeevan has used sport as a vehicle to connect and empower people of different ethnicities, irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances, whether differently abled or not to overcome economic or cultural barriers to participate and achieve success.

Jeevan himself has achieved considerable academic success since graduating Newman University, having previously studied a short course for health mentors and his masters’ degree in Work-Based Learning at the University. After his studies, and alongside his continued engagement with the sport of hockey, Jeevan has worked as a health mentor in schools, transforming the lives of young people in our communities. His contribution was recognised in 2019 when social enterprise Evolve named Jeevan as their National Health Mentor of the Year.

Jeevan became the Chairman of Yardley Hockey Club and has transformed the club in just four years. The club has grown to become the City of Birmingham Hockey club, with a significantly increased membership driven by the connections that Jeevan has forged with schools, colleges, universities, and community organisations. There are now two men’s and ladies’ teams as well as a thriving junior section. But more significantly there is active participation from across the diverse communities of Birmingham, breaking down barriers and encouraging young people including children with Special Educational Needs and disabilities and participants from socio-economically deprived areas.

Moreover, Jeevan is the holder of two world records as both the youngest Chairman in English hockey and the youngest person to have received four national awards including recognition by the British Indian Awards, National Mentoring Awards, and from England Hockey.

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Sport is being conferred on Jeevan Singh Chagger for his ground-breaking work in bringing the sport of hockey to young people from all backgrounds across the region.