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Colleges and wider student experience

Student news

Congratulations to all our students graduating

(23 June 2017)

Internationally acclaimed poet Sir Andrew Motion has been awarded an honorary degree as thousands of students graduate from Durham University.

The University held 15 Summer Congregation ceremonies with around 4,000 students from nearly 100 countries graduating, celebrating their hard work and achievements together with relatives and friends in the 11th Century Norman splendour of Durham Cathedral, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sir Andrew Motion was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters. 

A renowned poet, novelist and biographer, Sir Andrew served as the UK’s Poet Laureate, an honorary position appointed by the Queen, between 1999 and 2009 and was knighted by the Queen for his services to poetry in 2009. He was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) from 2010 to 2015 and is now Homewood Professor in The Writing Seminars at John Hopkins University, USA.

Links to Durham

He has close links to Durham, as a regular visitor to the University, a member of the University’s Institute of Advanced Study Steering Group and having been the inaugural Durham Book Festival Laureate in 2009.

Sir Andrew said: “It’s a deep honour to receive this, partly because it confirms and validates the role that poetry can play in a life and partly because it strengthens the ties of affection that already connect me to Durham University - which, among its myriad other contributions to the country and the world, has always shown that the life of the mind cannot be separated from the life of the imagination.”

Dr Rob Catty

Also honoured is Dr Rob Catty, made an Honorary Master of Science.

Before his retirement, Dr Catty was a partner in the Claypath and University Medical Group in Durham City.

He enjoyed a long and varied career in medical practice, beginning in Antarctica and taking in Africa. He now serves on the Ethics Committee of the University’s Anthropology Department.

Dr Catty said: "I have had a long and happy association with the University and am honoured, but surprised, to be offered this degree."

University success

The Summer Congregation ceremonies mark the end of a very successful year for Durham University, during which it has embarked upon a new ten-year Strategy, moved up to fourth in The 2018 Guardian University Guide League Table and achieved its highest ever number of subjects in the 2018 QS World University Subject Rankings top 50.

A bright future

The University is proposing to invest £700 million over ten years in its people and digital and physical infrastructure, to ensure it continues to deliver world-class research, excellent education and a wider student experience that is second to none.

Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: “It has been another highly successful year for Durham University and it is a pleasure to join with our graduates, their relatives and friends in celebrating their achievements at our Summer Congregation ceremonies.

“They will, I am sure, have big ambitions for the next chapter in their lives, just as we have big ambitions to ensure Durham continues to be a world-leading university. As they join our thriving international alumni network, I hope they will keep in touch so that we can achieve those goals together.”

Durham University is a world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education.