Belfast Telegraph

Has Queen’s lost the run of itself over Bolt degree?

By Lindy McDowell

Should Queen’s University be giving an honorary degree to legendary 100 metre star Usain Bolt?

It’s a question which has raised some debate with at least one local GAA sportsman arguing that while no-one is disputing Mr Bolt’s magnificent contribution to sport surely there are people closer to home who might also be deserving of the honour.

Usain Bolt’s links to this place, it’s pointed out, are not exactly strong — although his agent does come from Ulster.

The awarding of honorary degrees has attracted some controversy in recent years with critics arguing that universities have gone too far down the celebrity route.

Among those who have been honoured in the past by UK seats of learning have been Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. And Cilla Black, Ken Dodd and the Bee Gees. And, um, Robert Mugabe..

It is of course, a win-win situation for all concerned.

The famous get academic recognition — the unis get some welcome and positive publicity.

You just worry where it might end.

As on the reality TV circuit, there is a finite supply of A listers, and the danger is that before long universities might have to consider celebrity candidates who might seem less obvious recipients for the honour.

Drs Jordan and Peter Andre?

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