The University of Huddersfield’s graduates have been encouraged to follow their dreams by the recipients of honorary doctorates awarded during the July graduation fortnight.
July’s honoraries included broadcaster and Huddersfield alumni Adil Ray OBE, who looked back to his time at the University in the 1990s by saying that it was the whole experience, including what he did outside of lectures, that was just as important as his Business degree.
Also receiving honorary doctorates were Zenebu Hailu Dubale for her outstanding work with refugees in Huddersfield, Graham McKenzie for his contribution to the world-renowned Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Aonghus Gordon OBE for his charitable work for young people living with disabilities.
Acting, writing award-winning comedy, holding politicians to account on breakfast TV making hard-hitting documentaries make Adil a true all-rounder of the modern media landscape. He graduated in Marketing from Huddersfield in 1997 having arrived here through Clearing.
He wrote and starred in the highly-successful BBC sitcom Citizen Khan, appeared in the acclaimed drama Stephen about the murder of Stephen Lawrence, hosts Good Morning Britain on ITV and recently presented the thought-provoking documentary Is Cricket Racist on Channel 4.
This eclectic career had its roots when he attended Huddersfield, when his spell as a DJ at the Student’s Union helped inspire his early career after graduating.
“I truly do believe that dreams can come true. Everything I have done, I believed that I could do it,” Adil says. “I was honest with myself, I worked hard and was disciplined and from that I believe there can only be one outcome – that your dream can come true.
“I’ll ask anyone graduating what their next dream is because they absolutely can do it. My advice is to a small thing every day towards that dream, that could be send an email, apply for a job, just five minutes of your day even on weekends or birthdays. But if you do that every day, it becomes part of yourself, and if you’re honest with yourself then there is only one way and that is that your dream can come true.
“I grew up thinking that if I saw somebody who was a comedian, I thought that I’d like to do that. g a documentary, I want to do that.
“I feel ‘Why not?’ If you want to become a footballer, then then try to learn to be a footballer. If you want to be an architect, then do it. Just keep your eyes and ears open and go for it and really live your dreams.”
The other recipients of honorary doctorates were Graham McKenzie – Artistic Director & Chief Executive of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; Aonghus Gordon OBE – founding Trustee of Ruskin Mill Trust and Ruskin Mill Land Trust, which acquire and restore redundant iconic industrial buildings and transforming them into educational and cultural centres for young people with disabilities; Zenebu Hailu Dubale – works extensively with refugees in Huddersfield having arrived as a refugee from Ethiopia in 1999.