Article by Sam Hatherley for the Hampshire Chronicle
MORE than 2,300 Winchester University students have been graduating at the cathedral this week.
The annual celebrations began on Monday (October 14) with a procession from Abbey House, seeing civic dignitaries from across Hampshire joining senior staff from the university.
Alongside the students, a list of prominent public figures have been awarded Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships.
Professor Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “Graduation is one of life’s most significant occasions and is consistently one of my favourite times in the academic year.
“As the university for sustainability and social justice, making a difference is key to what we do here at Winchester. We hope our students leave Winchester with the knowledge, wisdom and strength to make a real difference in the world.”
During the nine individual ceremonies, each attended by chancellor of the university, Alan Titchmarsh, a number of Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships were handed to prominent public figures – including actors, sports sensations and authors.
Dame Judi Dench received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts for services to Dramatic Arts.
She has won numerous major awards – including an Academy Award, ten BAFTAs and a record eight Laurence Olivier Awards.
The same doctorate was given to actor Hugh Bonneville, best known for his role as Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey.
Neil Gaiman, author of many award-winning books, including The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was recognised with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts for services to Literature.
Other prominent individuals being honoured include author Bernard Cornwell, football Fran Kirby, cricketer James Adams, educator Steven Frank, charity CEO Luke Gamble and TV actor Steve Furst.