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Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger honoured at graduation

The former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, has been made an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Roehampton, at its annual Winter graduation ceremony. The award is in recognition of his significant contribution to the journalism industry.

Posted: 8 February 2016

Mr Rusbridger, who stepped down from the editorship of Guardian News and Media last year, now sits on the board of The Scott Trust, which owns both The Guardian and The Observer newspapers. He is also the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford.

His award was the centrepiece of the graduation ceremony, held at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank, where more than 260 students from across the University graduated. The ceremony was watched by around 600 family and friends who have supported them during their studies.

Watch our graduation photo gallery here:

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Mr Rusbridger was selected for the award by the University’s academic staff and his honorary doctorate was presented by children’s author Professor Dame Jacqueline Wilson, the University’s current Chancellor. She said: “Alan Rusbriudger has been at the forefront of turning one the great British newspapers into one of the most influential media organisations in the world.

“He has fought and won high-profile battles over libel and press freedom and broken stories with worldwide impact such as the phone hacking scandal and Edward Snowden files. He has been a consistent champion of investigative journalism and throughout his career he has acted as a champion of the voiceless and a challenger of powerful interests.”

Speaking to students after receiving his honorary doctorate, Mr Rusbridger said: “The longer I edited The Guardian, the more I became convinced of the value of having independent witnesses (reporters) in society, people who can be true and timely witnesses to what it going on around them.”

He also described how the company never lost sight of the need to continue invest in the ‘ever more important, necessary and difficult business of investigation of witnessing, of questioning and subjecting all kinds of power to scrutiny’.

Mr Rusbridger praised all the graduating students and said: “In thinking as you graduate about what course to take in life, think about values and not just value. The sustainable values of any enterprise are the things that are its greatest guarantor of robustness and success.”

As well as celebrating the University’s campus-based students receiving their qualifications, the inaugural cohort of students who have worked towards their degrees online also graduated today. The first Roehampton Online students received MBA and MSc qualifications after studying in countries around the world through Roehampton’s partnership with Laureate Education.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul O’Prey, said: “We have marked a major occasion in the lives of many of our graduates today, the award of their postgraduate qualifications. Through their studies with the support of their lecturers, their family and friends, they have become experts in many different fields and will be highly valued by their future employers.

“I would also like to congratulate our first group of Roehampton Online students who have studied in countries around the world to gain their MBA and MSc qualifications. Theirs commitment is without question and the knowledge they have acquired will stand them in good stead in the future.”

Students and visitors to the graduation ceremony also heard how the University is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the founding of its Whitelands College this year, and how it has just started work to build a brand new library.

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