Stormzy Receives Honorary Degree For Philanthropy In Higher Education: 'I Feel Extremely Blessed'
Stormzy performing at The O2 Arena earlier this year (Photo: Gus Stewart via Getty Images)
Stormzy has said he feels “extremely blessed” after receiving an honorary degree from the University of Exeter.
The grime superstar has been recognised for his “outstanding achievement in the field of higher education, philanthropy and widening participation”.
He established a scholarship scheme for Black British students at University of Cambridge.
Stormzy also set up the #Merky Foundation in 2020 and has gone on to pledge millions to tackle racial inequality, justice reform and Black empowerment in the UK.
Last year, the foundation partnered with HSBC UK to ensure a further 30 ‘Stormzy Scholars’ are funded over the next three years covering tuition fees and maintenance costs.
We're delighted that Michael Owuo Jr. (Stormzy) will become an Honorary Graduate at of Exeter today recognising his outstanding contribution to society. We can’t wait to welcome him to our campus and hear his message to our graduates. Watch live at 11:45: https://t.co/qaffHoMWr9pic.twitter.com/SQmdWQHpAA
— University of Exeter (@UniofExeter) June 21, 2022
During his graduation speech, Stormzy said (via PA Media): “I feel extremely blessed and grateful to be up here receiving this honorary degree.
“I used to really reject the honours and applause that come with something I genuinely believe was just a part of my purpose… the famous analogy I have always used is likening it to one of your mates popping to the shop and grabbing a couple of bags of crisps and a few bottles of Lucozade for all the boys.
“Of course it is a kind gesture, but it doesn’t deserve a song and a dance because that’s just what you do for your loved ones.
“I have been so richly blessed by God and I don’t just mean financially, I mean with love and life and family and joy, and with peace and with purpose, so, to put it simply, I bear the fruit and I share fruit and, without sounding too fantastical, that’s just what we’re meant to do in whatever way we can.
“Some of our destinies is to save one life, some of us are destined to build nations and schools, some of us will focus on raising our families and those closest to us, some of us will help our local community, some of us will help the neighbour next door, some of us will help the world, some of us will help a friend.
“My point being that we should always share and support, uplift and help in whatever capacity we are able to. All of these different sizes and levels of being a helping hand are all beautiful and all of them are just as powerful as each other.
“Just as long as you’re doing what you can… I pray that these words give you a bit of encouragement for you to go and be who you’re destined to be and to share some fruit once you bear some.”
The ceremony saw University of Exeter graduates who finished their degree in 2020 celebrating their achievements after the pandemic placed a stop on graduation ceremonies over the past two years.
Stormzy explained his journey to graduation had been “considerably different to” others in attendance as he left college at the end of his first year without completing his A-levels.
He added he could not finish his speech without giving a shout-out to his mum who was sitting in the audience.
“It’s always been her biggest dream for me to go to university and graduate and then become somebody so this moment is a real full-circle one,” he added.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.