Paralympic sailor receives Honorary Doctorate from BU

A Paralympic sailor who made history by winning gold at the London 2012 games has received an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University.

Helena Lucas MBE received her Doctor of Arts at the ceremony for graduates from the School of Applied Sciences.

She was the first British sailor ever to win a Paralympic gold medal, after winning in the single keelboat event in Weymouth.

Helena, who is also a successful yacht designer, said that receiving the Honorary Doctorate from BU was “absolutely amazing.”

“It was the last thing I expected to be offered,” she added. “It was a real honour and a real pleasure.”

Helena, who is currently training for the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, added that her advice to graduates was to dream big and not give up.

“If you dream big, the chances are you’ll achieve your goals,” she said.

“I think it’s a case of never giving up. If you’ve got a dream and you’ve got a goal, just keep working towards it. There will be the odd curveball here and there, the odd disappointment, but never give up and keep going.

“I think that’s the message that I want to get across to the students – it won’t be easy, it will be tough out there, but with determination and commitment and dedication, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.”

More than 5,000 graduates from across Bournemouth University were handed their degree certificates in six different ceremonies at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Professor John Vinney, vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University, said: “Bournemouth University takes great pride in our Honorary Graduates.

“We recognise people who have excelled in their chosen field who will act as inspirational role models, both for our graduates and their families at the awards ceremonies and for our whole student body in the coming years.”

BU celebrates success during graduation week


Over 5,000 BU graduates celebrated this week as they were handed their degree certificates during six graduation ceremonies.

The ceremonies, which all took place at the Bournemouth International Centre, saw students collect their awards alongside eight honorary doctorates before celebrating with fellow graduates at a champagne reception.

Former students from all six Schools were reunited with former classmates and lecturers for the first time since completing their studies in May to celebrate the completion of their degrees together.

Receiving their awards alongside BU graduates; the eight honorary doctorates included golf professional and consultant Eddie Bullock, television presenter and anatomist Professor Alice Roberts and Olympic Gold medallist Peter Wilson MBE.

Also honoured were Paralympic Gold medallist Helena Lucas MBE, international sports performance coach David Alred MBE, former Director of Operations at the RNLI Michael Vlasto OBE, former Principal of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) Dr Kenneth Vall and academic and 7/7 bombing survivor Professor John Tullock.

At the ceremony Professor Alice Roberts (pictured) said, “It’s an absolute delight and an honour to be receiving an honorary doctorate, and I’m really pleased to be here at Bournemouth University. I’ve made friends with a lot of Bournemouth University academics over the years and I’ve interviewed them for all sorts of different programmes on the BBC, and it was really nice to come here and catch up with those colleagues today. And to be here receiving my own doctorate is wonderful.”

Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor of Bournemouth University, said, “I am delighted to be celebrating the success of our brilliant graduates once again. Graduation is one of the highlights of our university calendar and it fills me with pride to see so many students achieving their goal of attaining a degree. I hope that they will have long and successful careers and I know that they will continue to be valued members of the Bournemouth University community.”

The graduation ceremonies were also streamed online, where they were watched by around 5,500 viewers from 60 different counties.