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From De Montfort to NASA


ACTOR: Murray Melvin

A former student who now works for NASA returned to Leicester to show new De Montfort University (DMU) graduates that the sky really isn’t the limit for their future careers.

Doug Ellison studied Multi Media Design at DMU and now creates stunning digital visualisations for NASA of the latest space discoveries and research.

When information is passed back to earth from the Mars Curiosity Rover, the Cassini space flight near Saturn or the Hubble Space Telescope, Doug and his team create the visual images which translate the data into images we can understand on our screens.

And it was his fascination with space studies and creative designs on his blog while studying at DMU that first brought him to the attention of NASA scientists, eventually leading him to a dream job in California.

Doug returned to Leicester today to be presented with an honorary doctorate at a graduation ceremony at The Curve theatre this afternoon for Art, Design and Humanities graduands.

He was made an Honorary Doctor of Design and received the award from Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard.

Doug told the graduands: "It is truly an extraordinary honour to receive this award.

“The greatest thing I’ve ever learnt is find your passion and when you’ve found it never let go. One thing stuck with me – my passion has always been space exploration since my father brought me a telescope in the 1980s – there is so much left to be discovered.

“Keep chasing your passion and it will take you to the stars. I have some very happy memeories from my time at DMU. It was really nice to come back and catch up with staff, espesically Mike Powell who was my lecturer – without him I wouldn’t be where I am today. It is where by my professional adventure began.”

Doug also took time to sign the Back the Bid board at Curve, which is collecting signatures from people supporting Leicester's bid to be City of Culture 2017. He wrote: “A great place to start exploring the universe”.

At a separate ceremony this morning, Professor Shellard also made actor, author and film historian Murray Melvin an Honorary Doctor of Arts.

Murray was one of the driving forces behind The Theatre Workshop, a collective whose productions such as Oh! What A Lovely War famously blew a wind of change through the staid West End of the 1950s.

Still acting, recently as Bilis Manger in Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, the list of actors and directors with whom he has worked reads like a Who’s Who of modern theatre and film – Stanley Kubrick, Ken Russell, Joan Littlewood and Oliver Reed.

Murray said: “You are not at the end of your journey, you are at the start of a new path and that's exciting. Keep that eternal student hammering away and as you get older, I assure you, life will become more and more interesting. Who knows where you may end up - perhaps like me, amazed where the path will take you."

Afterwards, he said: "It was a memorable morning for me but also for the graduands. It was lovely to see all those smiling faces."

Among the graduands was Kathryn Robinson, who studied Film and Media Communications. She said: "It was amazing. The best bit was the gospel choir they were incredible." Kathryn plans to go into teaching.

Graphic designer Comal Chauahan said: "DMU was brilliant. The facilities were incredible - we had Macs at our desks which for our course was very helpful, and the tutors were great. I set my own business up while I was studying and it's going well."

And Megan Rothery, who graduated in Media and Communications, said: "It's been the best three years ever."

Graphic designer Stephen Lowe, of Luton, said: "It has been amazing. I'm sad it's over, to be honest."

The graduation ceremonies for more than 5,500 students started at The Curve at the weekend and continue until Saturday, with graduands from Health and Life Sciences tomorrow, and from Technology on Saturday.

Honorary degrees are also due to be presented to Kanwar Sumer Singh, principal of Daly College in India, and to sports presenter and broadcaster Clare Balding.

Photos of the graduation ceremonies will be posted on the DMU Facebook page and you will be able to find further reports about each day’s ceremonies on the DMU website.

Posted on Thursday 18th July 2013

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