Internationally renowned Glaswegian comedian Sir Billy Connolly was honoured in his home city today (Thursday 22 June) with an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde.
Sir Billy was made a Doctor of the University in recognition of a career in comedy, acting and music spanning more than 40 years. He attended the graduation ceremony accompanied by his daughter, Cara.
He has filled theatres around the world with his stand-up performances and has made many appearances in film and television, in comic and dramatic roles.
His honorary doctorate from Strathclyde follows the announcement in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List that he is to be knighted.
At today’s graduation ceremony, Kenny Miller, Emeritus Professor at Strathclyde, said: “Billy Connolly is a true and illustrious son of this great city. His life and his humour have been formed and forged by his experiences here and by the people of Glasgow. He may have lived away from the city for many years but his Glasgow roots run very deep and have made him who he is today.
“Billy is a proud Glaswegian who loves this city and whose citizens return that affection in spades. He has achieved so much in his life as welder, musician, playwright, actor, artist and most of all, comedian. He has touched and lightened the lives of so many.”
Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Billy is a proud Scot and fantastic ambassador for the city of Glasgow.
“His comedy took the stories of growing up in the city to an international audience and his success is an inspiration to all.
“Billy was, and remains, one of the most successful and loved comedians of his generation and is one of Scotland’s national treasures.
“We are delighted to welcome Billy into the Strathclyde family alongside our other honorary graduands who have each made huge contributions in their own fields.”
Speaking to media before the ceremony, Sir Billy said it was “wonderful” to be receiving his honorary degree from Strathclyde.
Born in the Anderston district of Glasgow, Sir Billy worked in the Clyde shipyards before performing initially as a folk singer and later as a comedian. He initially came to UK-wide prominence in the mid-1970s following an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show.
He has won an array of awards, including a BAFTA Scotland Outstanding Achievement Award, a Special Recognition National Television Award and a Best Presenter Award from the Royal Television Society.
Others receiving honorary degrees from the University are: Dr Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California; Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems; Nigel Cantwell, an international consultant on child protection; and Richard Hunter, Convener of Court at the University.
Awards will also be given for alumna and alumnus of the year to Baroness Nosheena Mobarik and Calum Paterson respectively.
Around 3,000 students will be graduating from the University at the ceremonies this year.