Ellie Goulding receives honorary Doctor of Arts degree

The singer dropped out of university while studying drama.

Ellie Goulding received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Ellie Goulding apologised to a former teacher for announcing she was dropping out of university in an email 11 years ago, as she finally picked up a degree.

The singer, 32, donned an orange gown as she received an honorary Doctor Of Arts degree at the University of Kent.

Goulding dropped out of her drama degree at the end of her second year, after attempting to combine gigging with studying and two part-time jobs.

In 2008, she emailed her drama tutor to tell him she was quitting, and invited him to listen to her songs on Myspace.

“I emailed her to tell her how impressed I was, to wish her luck and say she was welcome to come back and finish her degree if things don’t work out,” Oliver Double said.

At a degree ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral, Goulding said: “I’m sorry for that email … It must have been quite out of the blue.”

Ellie Goulding before receiving her honorary Doctor of Arts degree (Gareth Fuller/PA)

But the Love Me Like You Do singer added: “Coming back today does complete that circle for me 11 years later, after I packed up my cold little garage room … It feels really good.”

Goulding said she often felt “adrift” and found it “hard to fit in” at university, while “struggling” to combine coursework, part-time jobs and “stock up on baked beans and pot noodles”.

University made her a “much more open-minded person” and she became “more focused and driven than ever before”, she added.

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But she quipped that “so long as alcohol, romantic flings and procrastination exist”, focusing could be tricky for students.

Goulding, who sang at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception, joked that she would see the other students at the local Wetherspoons pub later.

She also called for activism, saying “our beautiful planet is in deep trouble” and that “defending” it is for “every single one of us”.