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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Doctorate for 'Van the man'
Van Morrison
The singer joined the procession into Queen's University
Belfast musician Van Morrison has been honoured in his home city with an honorary degree from Queen's University.

The appearance of the singer and songwriter at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday was a closely guarded secret.

Van Morrison joined the academic procession into the university's Whitla Hall for the second honorary degree of his career.

He received a doctorate in literature from the University of Ulster nine years ago.

His latest award makes him a doctor of music.

Talents

Queen's University professor David Johnson said it was right that the institution recognised Van Morrison's talents.

Michelle Rocha
Van's girlfriend Michelle looked on

"Through his music he has contributed, and keeps contributing to, the keeping alive of the spirit of this town," he said.

It was an unexpected surprise for those students who were also graduating on Tuesday.

Van Morrison accepted his scroll, but did not make a speech.

His girlfriend, Michelle Rocca, stood alone at the back of the hall looking on at the ceremony.

Accessible

The rock star's security team were unhappy at any press coverage, and ordered tight controls at the usually accessible opening to the university.

Van Morrison
Van Morrison becomes a doctor of music

Afterwards, a promised mingling with the new graduates turned out to be a rumour.

While the students went for the traditional strawberries and ice cream, Van and his entourage escaped the crowds by private jet.

Van Morrison is best known for the songs Moondance, Here Comes The Night and Brown Eyed Girl.

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See also:

16 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Van Morrison denies Bush gala reports
10 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Stars come out for Bush party
09 Jan 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: Van Morrison
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