Idris Elba has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Ravensbourne University in London.
The Golden Globe-winning actor, 50, received the prestigious award at Ravensbourne’s annual ceremony at the Barbican, as 800 students also celebrated their graduation in courses based in the creative and digital industries.
Elba was presented the accolade alongside Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s Vice President of Creative Concepts, for their work championing diversity in the creative industries and beyond.
The TV and film actor joked to “call me Doctor Dris” in his acceptance speech, as he shared how important the strive for diversity in education has been to him, before and throughout his career.
Elba said: “Education is the exact foundation that I am standing on here today. Because of my education, I got to go places that I never even dreamed of going to.
“I wanted to be in the creative arts because I wanted to contribute, I wanted to have a seat at the table, I wanted to have someone that looked like me, to have something to offer, and my education prepared me for that.”
The Hackney-born star continued: “Ravensbourne stands for the very same values: putting skillsets in students and giving them an opportunity to have a seat at the table forever.
“So many amazing students have come from here and are still contributing. The truth is: the learning always continues.”
Elba finished by saying: “I am super proud of this, because it’s an honour, but also, now, you lot can call me Doctor Dris.”
In becoming one of the nation’s most successful actors, Elba has advocated for young people from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds to be given fair opportunities to build their careers, and has made great efforts in contributing to such progress.
Elba founded production company Green Door Pictures in 2013, with the aim to bring diverse storytelling to a global audience more directly, with talented actors, writers and producers and directors working in TV and film.
In April, Elba released his BBC documentary series Fight School, which saw disadvantaged young adults be offered a five-month training course at an experimental boxing school.
Elba mentored the group, along with other professionals, and imparted focus, discipline and determination, which they carried with them throughout their testing training.