Olympic 100 metre gold medallist awarded Honorary Doctorate
Graduation season opened at the University of Bedfordshire with a civic ceremony in Bedford where Olympic 100 metre gold medallist, Linford Christie OBE MBE, and sports education innovator, Lisa Wainwright, became Honorary Doctors.
Bedford town centre came to a standstill to the sound of the University’s Pipe Band as the University’s first graduation began.
The traditional procession of local dignitaries made their way through the town centre to the Corn Exchange. Here where they were met by students from the University’s Faculty of Education & Sport, along with their proud families and friends.
The ceremony marked the end of years of hard work and dedication by the students as they crossed the stage to collect their awards.
The two honorary guests congratulated fellow graduates for their achievements and encouraging them to relish in their learning.
Linford Christie received an Honorary Doctor of Science for outstanding services to sport.
He has won 24 major championship medals in his career a including winning gold in the 100m at all four major competitions open to British athletes; the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, European Championships and World Championships.
Linford remains the only British athlete to achieve this feat, and since his retirement, he has found great success as a coach which included guiding Katharine Merry to bronze and Darren Campbell to silver at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He said:
“To be given this award is a great honour and I’m the first doctor in my family.”
“My advice for anyone would be to do your best. You’ve got to do something today that people will talk about tomorrow. It’s about going out there making your mark, and being nice along the way.”
Lisa Wainwright was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of her services to Sport Education.
Lisa is an innovator of sports education, she has spent more than 30 years in the sport and physical activity sector. She was CEO of Volleyball England for a number of years, with previous roles as Head of Sport at Sport England and as Chair of the Institute of Swimming, and she is currently the CEO of GB Basketball.
Lisa was recently voted number 12 in the Top 100 LGBT+ Executives 2018 by the Financial Times, having signed the Charter against Homophobia in Sport. She said:
“To get this prestigious award from the University where I spent 19 years working, living, breathing, and playing sport, it is really at the heart of what I want to do and share. It’s been an emotional day but it’s been an absolute pleasure.”
She offered advice to the Class of 2019:
“Cherish it, enjoy it, and make sure you keep Bedfordshire at your heart as you move through your career and your learning.”
Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell told the graduating students:
“You are a credit to your lecturers, to the friends and family who have supported you throughout your studies, but most of all you are a credit to yourselves.”