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Leveraging the power of honorary graduates

The brief

The University of Wolverhampton (UoW) sought to leverage relationships with its honorary graduates to maximise their potential as key, influential stakeholders. The UoW held a database of around 120 people who had received honorary degrees in recent years. However, for the most part, these relationships had not been developed. UoW sought ideas for mobilising this dormant pool of talent for the benefit of the University.

Our response

We categorised the honorary graduates according to their influence and their potential for supporting the strategic ambitions of the UoW. We then devised an engaging, intimate, lecture programme – The Leading Lights series – in which six honorary graduates spoke on their area of expertise to an audience of staff, students, stakeholders and media. Speakers included UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook and Chief Information Officer of Egg, Tom Ilube.

A drinks reception and piano recital for invited honorary graduates was organised at Steinway’s function room in London, and networking workshops for deans to provide them with the skills to individually manage relations with key honorary graduates.

The outcome

The Leading Lights lecture series brought the six key honorary graduates closer to the University while also attracting scores of new stakeholders to the events. The lectures attracted extensive media attention and helped to re-position UoW as a university addressing and debating some of the most challenging issues of our time – glass ceilings in the workplace, the threat of cybercrime and globalisation.   

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