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Justice campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence becomes a DMU Doctor of Laws


The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has been awarded an honorary doctorate from DMU in recognition of her long fight for justice and commitment to human rights.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence – hailed as “an example to us all” by Home Secretary Teresa May – became an Honorary Doctor of Laws at De Montfort University Leicester this week.


She was praised for her bravery, courage and unstinting campaigning to ensure justice for Stephen, who was murdered in a racist attack in London in 1993. An inquiry found that institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police was the reason it failed to solve the case.

Accepting the award on stage at Curve theatre, Baroness Lawrence said: “I see education as the most precious gift we can give to our children.” Turning to graduates she told them: “Savour your accomplishments. I wish you every success for the future.”

Baroness Lawrence founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into a career in architecture and the built environment. Her son had dreamed of becoming an architect.

It has helped hundreds of young people to gain qualifications and now the trust aims to branch out into other disciplines such as law and journalism. Since 2013, she has been a Labour peer in the House of Lords as Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon.

After the ceremony, she took part in a moving Q&A in conversation with DMU’s chief operating officer Ben Browne.

In a wide-ranging conversation, she spoke of her inspirations, her determinations and her belief that the world could be a better place. After the talk, students spoke of how much they admired her.

* Read what Baroness Lawrence had to say in a moving In Conversation talk
* Renowned poet Benjamin Zephaniah receives honorary doctorate
* See our Facebook galleries of winter graduations

Lucie Adewusi, sociology student and a member of DMU Steppers, said: “It was insightful to hear somebody who has been through something so tragic still have so much faith in society. As a black female, to hear that was very powerful.”

Final year law student Claudia Biriwaah-Yeboah said: “It’s good to have someone preaching the message of ‘push on’. It’s really encouraging. I have ever really had a role model and now, I think I do. Baroness Lawrence is an inspiration.”

Posted on Friday 23rd January 2015

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