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University Relations

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Feb. 15, 2005
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

Queen Elizabeth grants knighthood to 1955 KU graduate Robert Worcester


PRONUNCIATION: Wooster. A photo of Sir Robert Worcester and Lady Worcester is available via e-mail from

LAWRENCE -- When Robert Worcester returns to the University of Kansas in April for his 50th class reunion, he will not only be a successful pioneer in market research and the top British political commentator but will have British knighthood as well.

Queen Elizabeth II has named the 1955 KU graduate and Kansas City, Mo., native a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of exceptional achievements and services to Britain. The traditional knighting ceremony in which the queen taps the kneeling recipient on the shoulder with a sword will take place later this year.

" Bob Worcester has been a leader and innovator in his field and an extraordinary friend of the university," said KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "The university is extremely proud of his achievements and of this great honor."

Sir Robert, who last visited KU in 2001, is expected back on campus April 15 and 16 for the Class of 1955's Golden Anniversary weekend. He earned a bachelor's degree in business at KU after graduating from Southwest High School in Kansas City.

He lived in Leawood before moving to Britain in 1969 and founded Market & Opinion Research International (MORI), best known for public opinion polling, though it specializes in sociocultural and demographic trends. Based in London, MORI is one of the 20 largest market research firms in the world and is the largest independently held market research company in Great Britain with associated companies in Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America.

Sir Robert, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Britain, and his wife, Lady Margaret Worcester, live at Allington Castle, Kent, on the Medway River. A 13th-century stone-walled castle, during the Tudor period it was the home of the Wyatt family, advisers and courtiers to Henry VII and Henry VIII.

Sir Robert is a governor of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a governor of the University of Kent and is now honorary professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent and in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick University. He has previously been a visiting professor of government at LSE, visiting professor in the Graduate Centre for Journalism at City University, London, and visiting professor in the Department of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

He holds four honorary degrees: doctor of science (University of Buckingham), doctor of letters (University of Bradford), doctor of the university (Middlesex University) and doctor of laws (University of Greenwich).

He is chairman of the Pilgrims Society, a governor of the English-Speaking Union and a trustee of the Magna Carta Trust. He is a freeman of the City of London and a governor of the Ditchley Foundation, and he was a member of the Fulbright Commission.

As past-president of the World Association for Public Opinion Research, Sir Robert is a deputy lieutenant of the County of Kent and a Kent County Council appointed Kent Ambassador. He is a non-executive director of Kent Messenger Group and Maidstone Radio, CTR 105.4 FM, and was a non-executive director of the Medway Maritime Hospital NHS Trust until 2004, and is on the Board of Locate in Kent. He is a member of the Advisory Councils of the South East England Development Agency, the National Consumer Council and Forum for the Future.

He is president of ENCAMS, an environmental charity, a vice president of Royal Society for Nature Conservation/Wildlife Trusts, of the United Nations Association and of the European Atlantic Group. Sir Robert is a trustee of Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and a former trustee of Worldwide Fund for Nature.

He is a frequent contributor to the Financial Times and Observer and other newspapers and magazines and to radio and television, including as an elections night analyst for Independent Television Network's coverage of American and British elections. He is author/co-author, co-editor and editor of more than a dozen books and many articles in newspapers, magazines and in professional journals. His most recent book, with Roger Mortimore, is "Explaining Labour's Second Landslide" (Politico's, 2001).


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