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Brunel remembers two great honorary graduates

Brunel University London is celebrating the lives of honorary graduates Sir Roger Bannister and Trevor Baylis, who both sadly passed away this week.

Sir Roger Bannister, Doctor of the University (DUniv), 2008
23 March 1929 – 3 March 2018
Sir Roger Bannister edit
©Tempest Photography

Sir Roger Bannister, who received his honorary doctorate in 2008, entered the history books on 6 May 1954 when he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, setting a time of three minutes 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford.

So impressive was the feat, its 50th anniversary was commemorated in 2004 with an officially minted 50p coin.

Bannister 50p

After only taking up running at the age of 17, Sir Roger athletics career saw him take 1500m Commonwealth Gold in 1954, after narrowly missing out on the podium at the 1952 Olympics in the same event. 

At the end of 1954, Sir Roger left athletics for a career in medicine, completing his medical studies at Oxford, before going on to become one of the country’s leading neurologists.

Sir Roger was knighted in 1975 for his services to sports and medicine.


Trevor Baylis CBE, Master of the University (MUniv), 1998
13 May 1937 – 5 March 2018

Trevor Baylis edit

©Tempest Photography

Over a storied career, Trevor Baylis CBE variously spent time as a stunt man, a lab worker, a salesman and a swimmer, but it was as an inventor that he really found his niche. 

He shot to fame in 1994 when the BBC science programme Tomorrow’s World ran a segment on his BayGen clockwork radio – a wind-up radio Trevor had been inspired to build after learning about the value of educational radio programmes in tackling HIV in Africa.

The radio, which was manufactured by disabled workers in South Africa, is credited with giving millions access to potentially lifesaving information.

He was awarded a CBE in 2014 for services to intellectual property. 

Reported by:

Tim Pilgrim, Media Relations
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