HOLLYWOOD star Patrick Stewart has given an honorary degree to the man who persuaded him to become Huddersfield University chancellor.
The Mirfield-born actor gave the award to Professor John Tarrant at a graduation ceremony yesterday.
Former vice-chancellor Prof Tarrant persuaded the Star Trek actor to take up the post of chancellor in 2004.
Patrick said: “I’m delighted to be giving John this award because he was the person who made the initial approach to me to take up the role of chancellor.
“He took me out for a very nice lunch at a London restaurant but I didn’t need any influencing. I knew right away that becoming chancellor was something I wanted to do.”
Patrick, who left Mirfield Secondary Modern aged 15, enjoys attending graduations. He said: “I like to see the look on the students’ faces as they accept their degrees but it’s also great to see the pride of their parents.
“We try to attract students who have no family history of going to university because we believe there should be opportunities for as many people as possible.”
Prof Tarrant, who retired as vice-chancellor last year, was pleased to accept the honorary doctorate. He said: “I’m extremely pleased because the university means an awful lot to me.”
Prof Tarrant still lives in Denby Dale, despite spending part of his time working in London as secretary-general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
He said: “My wife Biddy and I like the people and the landscape of West Yorkshire.”
The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, also received an honorary doctorate at yesterday afternoon’s ceremony.
She said: “This is one of the great days of my life and I’m immensely proud because I have colossal respect for Huddersfield University.”
Northumbria University vice-chancellor Prof Kel Fidler was also given an honorary degree at the graduation ceremony.
Computing, engineering and science students graduated yesterday. Today is the turn of the School of Health and Human Sciences and the School of Education.