Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Heptathlete Jessica Ennis receives honorary degree

Jessica Ennis
Jessica Ennis said she felt "privileged" to receive the honour

World Champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis has received an honorary degree in her home town of Sheffield.

The University of Sheffield said Miss Ennis, 23, was chosen for the accolade because of her "excellent contribution" to the sporting field.

Miss Ennis, who won gold in the World Athletics Championships in 2009, graduated from the university in 2007 with a degree in psychology.

She said she felt "really privileged" to receive the honour.

The LittD degree means Miss Ennis is now a doctor of literature.

Speaking after the ceremony, she joked: "It's doctor Ennis at all times please..."

The heptathlete added that it had been a "really, really special morning".

Red robe

"When I got the letter a few weeks ago saying I'd been given an honorary degree I was just really surprised and feel really privileged to have been given the degree and be part of this morning," she said.

After collecting her degree Miss Ennis went to a training ground for an afternoon session.

Jessica Ennis
Ennis won gold at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin last year

Barry Hines, the author of A Kestrel for a Knave, was also honoured in Thursday's ceremony.

Mr Hines' novel was adapted for the 1970 film Kes. He also wrote the script for the television play Threads, which showed a nuclear bomb going off near Sheffield in the 1980s.

The pair received their degrees in a ceremony at the Octagon Centre in the city alongside other graduating students.

Ennis wore the university's traditional red graduation robe with green trim to accept her honorary degree.

Vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Prof Keith Burnett, said: "The university is delighted to award honorary degrees to people who have made such a significant contribution to their field.

"We are privileged that these national and eminent figures are coming to the university to accept their honorary doctorates as they are excellent role models to our students."



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SEE ALSO
Ennis will captain GB in Glasgow
26 Jan 10 |  Athletics
Sheffield honours world champion
01 Sep 09 |  South Yorkshire
Ennis relieved after painful year
17 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Superb Ennis wins heptathlon gold
16 Aug 09 |  Athletics

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