University’s ‘dragon’ rower honoured with degree

OLYMPIC gold medal rower Katherine Grainger CBE visited Oxford yesterday to receive an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University.

It was part of the series of honorary degrees from Brookes to others including Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered Stephen Lawrence,and author Hilary Mantel, who also received the degrees.

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Dr Grainger said: “I have an on and off relationship with Brookes because I am here now and then to be a ‘dragon’ for their social enterprise scheme.

“But it was lovely to receive the letter to say they were giving me the honorary degree.”

Honorary degrees are given by universities to people recognised to have made a contribution to specific fields or to society.

Dr Grainger won three Olympic silver rowing medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing and in 2012 she won the Olympic gold with Anna Watkins in the double scull.

She is the only British female athlete to win medals in four consecutive Olympic Games and has written a book, Dreams Do Come True, detailing her career.

Others who received honorary degrees included Joanna Simons, chief executive of Oxfordshire County Council, Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, and Bahram Bekhradnia, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute.