More than 1,500 students graduated from Chichester University this week – a record number for the institution.
Twenty-eight ceremonies were held at Chichester Festival Theatre over Sunday and Monday and some graduates heard speeches from world-famous inspirational characters.
Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, and his wife Clare received honorary fellowships for their contributions to literature and education during a ceremony for graduates in education.
The couple founded Farms for City Children which provides experience of farms and the countryside life for inner-city children.
Michael said attending the ceremony had acted as a homecoming.
“We started our married lives here,” said Michael.
“It’s been a huge honour to be part of the setting out in life of these young people who are going to be doing the greatest job in the world – teaching.”
Clare added that they were pleased to be given a reason to visit the city.
She said: “For us it’s a great homecoming. Chichester is a very important part of our lives.”
They set up Farms for City Children in 1976.
Clare said: “It grew and grew and now we have three farms taking children from all over the country and we’re taking in 3,000 children every year.”
Clive Behagg, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “We always try to find inspirational people to provide inspirational words for our graduates.
“The work Clare and Michael have done has been a pioneering educational achievement. They are wonderful and inspirational people.”
Alex Danson, English field hockey player and bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympics, was awarded an Honorary Master of Science.
As well as teaching hockey, Alex has engaged with the university’s student ambassador programme.
“It’s such a lovely university,” said Alex.
“I’ve grown up in an area like it. It’s a family friendly-village. It’s very welcoming. I feel very honoured to come here.”
Alex gave a speech during a ceremony for graduates in sports, in which she spoke of how she reached the Olympics.
She also brought her Olympic medal with her for graduates to see.