Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Dame Stephanie Shirley awarded an honorary degree

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    22 June 2017
    Dame Stephanie Shirley pictured with Sir Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
    Dame Stephanie Shirley pictured with Sir Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

    We’re delighted to offer double congratulations to Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley, Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, for the well-deserved recognition of her outstanding commitment to industry and philanthropy this week.

    Named as Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her work as an information technologist, businesswomen and philanthropist, she has also received an Honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of Cambridge this week.

    Arriving alone in Britain as a child refugee on Kindertransport at the onset of World War 2, Dame Shirley went on to build a multi-million pound software company.

    Freelance Programmers Ltd (later renamed Xansa and acquired by Steria) began by outsourcing software development to women with children and other dependents working from home. She pioneered employment opportunities for the female programmers and allowed them to continue their education and professional development.

    Through the Shirley Foundation, she has given over £67million to various charities that support autistic people and emerging technology. She received an OBE in 1980 and became Dame Commander of the British Empire in the year 2000. Between 2009-10 she served as the UK’s Ambassador for Philanthropy.

    She joined the British Computer Society as a student member and was later its President.

    For more information about Dame Stephanie Shirley:

    • Visit her website here
    • Watch her Ted Talk 'Why do ambitious women have flat heads?' here