The Archbishop of York awarded honorary Doctorate of Divinity by Durham University


Archbishop, Mrs Sentamu, Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Durham University standing together in formal academic robes Durham University

Durham University has today awarded the Archbishop of York an honorary Doctorate of Divinity, in recognition of his long and exemplary service of national and international acclaim.

Having served as the Archbishop of York for almost 15 years, Dr John Sentamu has challenged thinking on significant topics such as poverty, racism and social integration, and he has long been an advocate for the development of young people.

On receiving the award, the Archbishop of York said: “It is a privilege to accept this Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity – what esteemed company I will be joining.

“I pray for all the Graduands as they celebrate their hard work and achievements and that the next stage of their journeys will bring fulfilment and joy. Every blessing.

As a regular visitor to Durham University, Dr Sentamu has been a source of encouragement and support for students at St John’s College. His passion for empowering young people is also evident through the establishment of the Youth Trust. The Trust is a charity which offers leadership development to young people, through schools based programmes in northern England.

Durham University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge said: "We are delighted to award an honorary degree to the Archbishop of York, who so clearly shares our passion for empowering young people and preparing students to transition successfully to the next stage of their lives.

"We take our responsibilities as a centre for learning seriously and, like the Archbishop, we strive to create the opportunities, support and freedom for students to become the best they can, so they can go on to do inspiring and innovative things around the world.

Awarding the honorary degree strengthens the existing relationship between Durham University and the Church of England. A recently renewed partnership sees the University continue in its role as the single validating partner for the Church of England's ordination training. The scheme, known as the Common Awards, is overseen by a dedicated team from the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.

The Common Awards has grown from an initial cohort of approximately 1,000 students in 2014 - 2015 to over 2,500 students in 2019 / 2020. In January 2020, over 1,000 Common Awards students received an award from Durham University, with more than 100 students attending a graduation ceremony with the Archbishop of York, at a ceremony in Durham Cathedral.

Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion has flourished since its foundation in 1832 and is now ranked second in the UK (The Times and The Sunday Times University Guide 2020). The Department has established an international reputation as one of the leading departments in its field and teaching and research within the Department is focused on three key areas: Biblical studies, Christian theology and the study of religion.

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