New Year Honours for two influential members of the DMU family


Two significant contributors to life at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been recognised in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Ian Blatchford, Chairman of the DMU Board of Governors and Director of the Science Museum Group, has received a knighthood for services to cultural education.


Sir Ian Blatchford led the ceremony welcoming Baroness Lawrence as Chancellor

While Dr Vijay Patel, an alumnus of the university after whom DMU’s Vijay Patel Building is named, has been awarded an OBE for services to business and philanthropy through his position as CEO of Waymade Pharmaceuticals.

As Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group, Sir Ian oversees five institutions including London’s world famous Science Museum, which reaches an annual audience of more than five million people.

His Vision 2025 campaign aims to create the cultural heart of an ambitious development scheme in York by turning the site into the world’s greatest railway museum by 2025.

Sir Ian has previously called culture a “powerful bridge between nations and Britain is fantastically placed to use it to create global impact, both in terms of its individual talent pool and its wealth of great institutions.”

Years after graduating from DMU’s Leicester School of Pharmacy, Dr Vijay Patel and his wife Smita – herself a DMU graduate - returned to the university in 2016 to make the single biggest donation by individuals in DMU's history, providing a series of bursaries and paying for cutting-edge equipment for the university's Pharmacy department.


Dr Vijay Patel and his wife Smita in front of the Vijay Patel Building

The couple donated money to help financially-disadvantaged students and to pay for an extruder, a specialist machine capable of producing medicine at a very high rate.

In recognition of this, the award-winning home of DMU's art and design courses - which was completed in 2016 - was named the Vijay Patel Building; and a Pharmacy facility was also named the Smita Patel Laboratory.

Dr Patel is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK and has formed extensive high level business links in the UK and abroad.

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, said: “Sir Ian Blatchford has made a significant contribution to the cultural life of this country and this honour is richly deserved. 

“We at DMU have particular cause to be grateful for his unstinting and visionary contribution to public life since so many of DMU’s successes in recent years are attributable to his chairmanship of our Board of Governors and the skill, insight, dedication and leadership he brings to that critical role. 

“Along with students, staff and alumni of DMU, I add my congratulations to the many he is rightly receiving from well wishers around the world. 

“Vijay Patel is not only a distinguished and highly successful alumnus of DMU but also a staunch friend, wise counsellor and generous benefactor. 

"His philanthropic work transforms the lives of so many in this country, India and elsewhere and we pay tribute today to his dedication and generosity.”

Also named on the New Year’s Honours list was Carol Leeming, poet, playwright and alumni of DMU, who received an MBE for services to the Arts and to Culture in Leicester.

Posted on Saturday 29th December 2018

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