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Now that’s what I call an Honorary Graduate §6 – Sports edition

Our latest review of universities' generous bequeathals of honorary degrees looks at the men and women of sport.
This article is more than 7 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

Sporting Honours

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.

Dr Savage and friend
Dr Savage and friend

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:

It’s not just players and athletes though, football and rugby managers too have been recognised for their achievements:

Drs Gatland and Williams sharing some rugby yarns

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:

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.)

2 responses to “Now that’s what I call an Honorary Graduate §6 – Sports edition

  1. Maybe you were leaving them for the seventh in this series, but I reckon cricketers do pretty well for honorary degrees. In fact, you can get a pretty good team out of the holders of honorary degrees from English universities…

    G A Gooch HonDArt East London
    A N Cook DUniv Essex
    B C Lara LittD Sheffield
    I R Bell DBA Coventry
    I T Botham LLD Bath
    M S Dhoni DLitt De Montfort
    S K Warne DBA Southampton Solent
    J N Gillespie DSportsSci Leeds Beckett
    S C J Broad LLD Nottingham
    D Gough DSc Bedfordshire
    M A Holding DCL East Anglia

    Perhaps a slightly long tail, but I’ve left out Boycott, Brealey, Tufnell, Collingwood …

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