Back to school Brendan - Liverpool manager receives honorary degree
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and champion jockey Tony McCoy were today awarded honorary degrees from the Universirty of Ulster.
The Antrim native nearly guided the Anfield club to their first league title in 24 years but won many admirers for helping to transform the clubs fortunes since taking over two summer ago.
Rodgers is not the only well-known sporting figure to receive an OBE, with champion jockey Tony McCoy also being rewarded for his contribution to horse racing.
McCoy (40), from Moneyglass, and Carnlough-born Liverpool manager Rodgers (41) have both been recognised for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields.
Rodgers has been a revelation since taking the reins at Anfield in the summer of 2012, guiding the club to second place in the Barclays Premier League and with it a return to Europe's top table, the Champions League, after five years in the wilderness.
The achievements of McCoy, known to race-goers as AP, are simply unsurpassed in the world of horse racing, with the jockey clocking up more than 4,000 wins in a 22-year career.
Thousands of higher education students will also be celebrating when they graduate from university over the next week.
Summer graduation ceremonies get under way today at the University of Ulster and the focus will turn to Queen's University Belfast on Wednesday when the first of 4,000 students are recognised.
The ceremonies will run until July 9 and will feature graduates from University of Ulster's four campuses – Coleraine, Jordanstown, Belfast and Magee – as well as Queen's, Stranmillis University College (Belfast) and St Mary's University College (Belfast).
Among those graduating is Kilrea artist Adrian Margey who is renowned for his contemporary and traditional depictions of Ireland's landscapes.
He has spent four years at Queen's researching entrepreneurship in the creative industries.
Margey, who will graduate on Saturday with a PhD, said: "I am very excited. It's a celebration of a lot of hard work."
After fours years of juggling his academic and artistic work, Margey will now focus on securing an international exhibition and closer to home, an exhibition in Roe Park resort, Limavady, at the end of August.
Both Queen's and University of Ulster will also be awarding honorary degrees to a string of stars from public life, sport, the arts, business, the stage and academia.
Besides McCoy and Rodgers, who will receive Doctor of Science (DSc) honorary degrees from the University of Ulster, 11 other key personalities over the coming days will also be honoured.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett said: "Ulster is recognised equally for its world-class sporting achievements, cultural excellence and significant contribution to industry, healthcare and education.
"It is important that we not only produce talented graduates, but that we equip them with the confidence and ambition to focus on, and achieve, excellence.
"The honorary degree recipients this year embody the very qualities that I know will inspire Ulster's students to aim high, and realise the power they have to make a positive difference in their future lives and careers."
Among the 10 people receiving honorary degrees from Queen's are actor Ciaran Hinds and singer songwriter Katie Melua.
Melua is being recognised for services to music, while Hinds is being honoured for services to film and drama.
Queen's University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston, said: "Graduation week is a time of great importance for Northern Ireland and the economy, as some 4,000 Queen's graduates prepare to become a new generation of leaders, making an impact at home and abroad."