Graham Norton receives honorary doctorate from UCC
The popular presenter returned to his alma mater
TALK show star, Graham Norton, admitted he was “over the moon” to receive on honorary doctorate at his old alma mater, University College Cork (UCC).
The star, from Bandon in west Cork, received an honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts today (Friday) in front of his proud mother, Rhoda, and sister, Paula.
Hundreds of fans gathered to cheer the star as he received his degree.
“I am delighted that she finally got value for the money she spent on my education,” he quipped.
The star, then known as Graham Walker, left UCC in 1983/84 just two years into his BA course in English and French.
“I decided it just wasn’t for me,” he explained.
“It is a bit strange coming back after all this time and getting an honorary doctorate. But it is a very proud day for me,” he said.
The star said he would never forget the Leaving Cert advice given to him in 1981 by his mother, Rhoda.
“She gave me a good luck card for my Leaving Cert. It read: Graham you can only do your best. Do it’,” he said.
After leaving Bandon Grammar for University College Cork (UCC) in 1981 where he studied French and English, Graham Norton told his parents he was going to the United States for a break during his summer hols.
He then didn’t return for a full year.
His time in San Francisco and on a hippie commune made a huge impression on him and ultimately set him on course for British TV stardom.
After moving to Britain in the early 1990s, he made his mark via the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and appearances on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 5.
His camp style and brilliantly energetic comedy routines quickly earned him a cult following.
After a starring role in the comedy, ‘Father Ted’, he was given his own chat show on Channel 4.
He successfully built that into one of Britain’s most popular shows before a high-profile switch to the BBC in 2005.
His chat show now ranks as one of the most popular on European television.
Also honoured today was Cork-born BBC foreign correspondent, Fergal Keane, US judge Donald Molloy and Cork businessman and UCC Governing Body member, Dermot O’Mahoney.
Mr Keane, who was receiving his first honorary degree in Ireland having received multiple awards from UK universities, admitted he was particularly thrilled because he couldn't attend UCC having failed French in his Leaving Cert.
"I used to look over these walls with envy. I'm delighted because today is very special to me and my family," he said.