Individuals receive Honorary Degrees for many different kinds of achievement – intellectual, political, artistic. This time we’re looking at those who have excelled in sport.
We’ve noted several such sporting heroes here before.
In the world of football, Robbie Savage, former player and now prominent pundit picked up an Honorary at Glyndwr. Kevin Phillips, former Sunderland footballer, was honoured by Sunderland University, at least in part for being a Sunderland footballer. For his outstanding and lengthy football career (rather than his temporary stint as manager at Old Trafford presumably), no writs can prevent us knowing that Ryan Giggs has been awarded a degree by Bolton.
Also in the great world of football the legendary Kenny Dalglish was honoured by Ulster University and Bishop Grosseteste University made sure that former goalkeeper Ray Clemence held on to an Honorary there. Back in 2014 Hofstra University chose to honour the extraordinary achievements of Pele.
Some other sporting honoraries of note:
- Olympic swimming medallist Adam Peaty was honoured by the University of Derby.
- Jockey AP McCoy was honoured by the University of Ulster.
- Athlete Sally Gunnell ran off with an Honorary Degree from Exeter.
- Britain’s top wheelchair tennis player and paralympic medal winner Jordanne Whiley netted an Honorary Doctorate from Wolverhampton.
- Mark Cavendish rode into the sunset with his degree from Chester.
- Colin Jackson leapt a number of hurdles to collect an Honorary from Glyndwr University.
It’s not just players and athletes though, football and rugby managers too have been recognised for their achievements:
- Sir Alex Ferguson was awarded an honorary by the University of Ulster.
- Mid-Sweden University honoured Sweden’s national coach Lars Lagerback.
- The former England manager Roy Hodgson was honoured by the University of York. That was before England’s less than stellar performance at Euro 2016.
- The University of South Wales awarded an Honorary to Warren Gatland, Welsh Rugby Coach.
- Brendan Rogers, the current Celtic but then Liverpool manager, picked up a doctorate from sport-focussed Ulster.
And in a different kind of football altogether, two Rooneys (not Wayne and Coleen) received honorary degrees for their contributions over many years including to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Punching well above their weight boxers Carl Froch and Nicola Adams were honoured by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Leeds respectively. Meanwhile Amir Khan fought his way to an Honorary Degree from the University of Bolton.
In other Honorary Degree news:
- Ireland’s record try scorer Brian O’Driscoll was awarded an Honorary Degree by Queen’s University.
- Andy Murray, currently at the top of his game, was honoured by Stirling University while his mother, Judy, was rewarded by Glasgow University for her very different contributions to tennis.
- Whilst we’ve noted here before the award of a professorial title to a horse UC Davis has taken a different course and awarded an Honorary Degree to one of its veterinary team, a horse called Teddy.
And just to add to the confusion I spotted a horse called Honorary Degree. Now that’s what I call an honorary degree. Perhaps it’s worth a flutter.
(Note article amended 16/11/16 to reflect the fact that the Honorary Degree for Ray Clemence was awarded by Bishop Grosseteste University and not Lincoln University as was previously stated in error. Many apologies for the mistake.)