“Follow your dreams!” was the message to University of Huddersfield students during graduation fortnight.
The recipients of honorary doctorates this year included TV actor and broadcaster Adil Ray OBE, who looked back to his time at the University of Huddersfield in the 1990s.
He said it was the whole experience, including what he did outside of lectures, that was just as important as his business degree.
Also receiving honorary doctorates were: Zenebu Hailu Dubale for her outstanding work with refugees in Huddersfield; Graham McKenzie for his contribution to the world-renowned Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; and Aonghus Gordon OBE for his charitable work for young people living with disabilities.
Acting, writing award-winning comedy, holding politicians to account on breakfast TV and making hard-hitting documentaries make Adil a true all-rounder of the modern media landscape. He graduated in marketing from Huddersfield in 1997 having arrived at the university through Clearing.
Adil wrote and starred in the highly-successful BBC sitcom ‘Citizen Khan’, appeared in the acclaimed drama ‘Stephen’ about the murder of Stephen Lawrence, hosts Good Morning Britain on ITV and recently presented the thought-provoking documentary ‘Is Cricket Racist?’ on Channel 4.
This varied career had its roots in Huddersfield when a spell as a DJ at the Students’ Union helped inspire his early career after graduating.
Adil said: “I truly do believe that dreams can come true. Everything I have done, I believed that I could do it.
“I was honest with myself. I worked hard and was disciplined and from that I believe there can only be one outcome – that your dream can come true.
“I’ll ask anyone graduating what their next dream is because they absolutely can do it. My advice is do a small thing every day towards that dream, that could be send an email, apply for a job, just five minutes of your day even on weekends or birthdays.
“But if you do that every day, it becomes part of yourself, and if you’re honest with yourself then there is only one way and that is that your dream can come true.
“I grew up thinking that if I saw somebody who was a comedian, I thought that I’d like to do that. Then a documentary, I want to do that.
“I feel ‘Why not?’ If you want to become a footballer, then try to learn to be a footballer. If you want to be an architect, then do it. Just keep your eyes and ears open and go for it and really live your dreams.”