More honoraries: serious or celeb 2013

Who are the lucky stars this year?

A previous post on Honorary Degree recipients noted that almost all of them fall clearly into one of two categories: they are either serious or celeb. The former really don’t get much press coverage so it doesn’t really matter if you have won a Nobel prize, discovered a new element or are a great writer or artist you really aren’t going to get noticed for your Honorary if you don’t feature regularly in the tabloids. So who are this year’s celeb graduates and who are the serious stars?

First up is Emma Thompson who collected an honorary degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow along with her mother Phyllida Law.

Sir David Attenborough has been given yet another honorary degree from Queen’s University in Belfast, adding to his huge pile of scrolls. This is allegedly at least his 31st honorary. He’s always been a bit of a collector.

Birmingham chose to honour Mock The Week panellist Chris Addison. The press release notes that “the funny man first graduated from the university with a degree in English literature in 2004.”


Birmingham is also awarding an honorary to Michael Acton Smith, founder of Moshi Monsters, together with media star and former Midlands Today presenter Kay Alexander.

Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Jason Kenny has been award an honorary doctorate of science by the University of Bolton.

The ubiquitous Emeli Sande was awarded a Doctor of the University by Glasgow for her “outstanding contribution to the music industry”.


UCD has honored Sinead Cusack who was once a student there but quit to be an actor.

Barbra Streisand received an honorary doctorate of philosophy degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Glenn Close received a Doctor of Laws from Canada’s Queen’s University

Bowie State University awarded Ashford and Simpson, singing duo, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree (or possibly one each).

Warwick honoured Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones. who was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters along with Adrian Lester, who appeared in BBC series Hustle.

Judy Dench picked up yet another Honorary from Stirling.

Bill Clinton popped into the University of Edinburgh to pick up his latest award.

St Andrews awarded Terry Jones an Honorary.

And finally, my personal favourite, Richard Jobson, formerly of the popular beat combo The Skids, was awarded the world’s biggest ever Honorary Degree by Napier University.


News just in that this year’s most inspired Honorary Degree award has been made by Salford University. Step forward Dr John Cooper Clarke who is quoted thus in the Manchester Gazette:

The Doc

The Doc

John said: “I am very proud to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Salford University.

“The city where I was born and grew up.

“I am very much looking forward to using the title ‘The Doc’.

“There have been lots of positive changes since I worked at Salford Tech, in the 70s.

“I am pleased to be known as Salfords’ Bard and to have helped put it on the map.”


Great one this – another inspired choice – Leeds Met give an Honorary to Barry Cryer. “My CV is now one line. BA Eng Lit. Failed. Honorary Doctor of Arts.”

9 thoughts on “More honoraries: serious or celeb 2013

  1. There’s Glasgow Caledonian giving an honorary degree to Lily Cole. probable winner of award for the honorary given to the youngest person this year?

    • You might try being patient. Perhaps extraordinarily patient. Although very few Honoraries are awarded just for patience. You might want to get famous instead therefore.

  2. Just noticed that gravel voiced Eurovision star Bonnie Tyler is picking up an honorary from Swansea University. Possibly for celeb credentials?

      • Absolutely. As regards suggestions- Kate Beckinsale? Just returned to Chilwell to unveil a plaque to her dad and brought Mark Walliams et al. With her. I thought we had some amazing honorary graduates this year but best speech was Gary Rydstrom

  3. Pingback: Honorary Degree: serious or celeb 2014 | Registrarism

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