The Doctorate in Civil Law is the top honour the university can bestow
Football manager Sir Bobby Robson joked he had got his education "back to front" after receiving an honorary degree at the age of 70.
Newcastle University has honoured the Newcastle United and former England boss by awarding him an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law.
Sir Bobby said he was delighted with the award, which followed his knighthood last year.
He took the opportunity to remind young people about the importance of their education.
He said: "When I was 17 I was interested in football, not education.
"Obviously I realise now time spent in education is not time wasted.
"I suppose I have done it back to front."
Sir Bobby donned the red and white robes of the Doctorate of Civil Law but chose a black and white tie.
He was joined at the ceremony by his wife Elsie, brother Ron and sister-in-law Brenda.
He said: "I am very proud to receive it here in Newcastle in the area where I was born and bred, played my early football and came back to.
"I'm going to have a great day."
The degree, which is the highest honour the university can bestow, was being conferred by the university's chancellor Chris Patten.
Mr Patten arrived at the ceremony on crutches after he injured his leg playing tennis.
A university spokeswoman said Sir Bobby was nominated for the award because he had made an outstanding contribution to his field and had strong links to the region.