Dame Carol Black and Professor Penny Endersby recognised in New Year’s Honours List

Newnham’s former Principal, Professor Dame Carol Black, and Met Office Chief Executive, Professor Penny Endersby (NC 1988), have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

Honorary Fellow Dame Carol Black was awarded the rare Dame Grand Cross – the highest rank in the Order of The British Empire. Dame Carol received this in recognition for her work on the impact of illicit drugs on society. She produced a hard-hitting review on drug abuse for the Government in 2020 and 2021 and secured record government funding – £780m over three years – to tackle drugs misuse in the UK.

The highest level in the order, a Grand Cross is awarded rarely and recognises only the most exceptional and sustained service to the UK. Fewer than 80 women have received the honour and Dame Carol is the first female doctor to be made a Dame Grand Cross. Previously Principal of Newnham College from 2012-2019 and formerly a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, Dame Carol is Chair of the British Library, the Centre for Ageing Better and Think Ahead, the Government’s training programme for mental health social workers.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been made a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire,” she said. “This award comes almost 20 years after I received a DBE for services to medicine and recognises the progress being made to tackle some of the most entrenched and interrelated problems in society – poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and drug dependency.

“Drug dependency is still stigmatised but it needs to be recognised as a chronic health condition. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who has helped and supported me, and to those individuals doing great work on the frontline to change culture and practice.”

Suffragist Millicent Garrett Fawcett, co-founder of Newnham College, was also made a Dame Grand Cross in 1925.

Professor Penny Endersby, chief executive of the Met Office, becomes a Commander of the British Empire for services to meteorology, defence science and technology. She previously led the cyber and information division at the Defence Science and Technology Lab (Dstl).

The Met Office’s first female chief executive, she has worked to expand the horizons, reach and development of its science, technology and life-saving services and advocate for STEM education, outreach and diversity in science. She studied Natural Sciences at Newnham and is a Newnham Associate.

“The Met Office is a fantastic organisation, and leading it is a joy and a privilege,” said Professor Endersby CBE. “It is a huge honour to be recognised for my work here. Every achievement has been by standing on the shoulders of giants: the superbly talented and dedicated team of Met Office staff who work round the clock to create the weather and climate predictions which help you make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.”

(Photo of Dame Carol Black by Richard Bailey)