University of Leicester pays tribute to Sir Terry Wogan

Posted by ap507 at Jan 31, 2016 12:45 PM |
‘My association with the University of Leicester is one of enormous affection, and even greater affection now that it has foolishly presented me with an honorary doctorate which I shall boast about until I die.” -Sir Terry Wogan

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 31 January


Sir Terry Wogan - Honorary Degree - University of Leicester

You can view a photo gallery of Sir Terry at Leicester here:

Photos of Sir Terry at Graduation:

Use of all materials subject to credit: University of Leicester

The University of Leicester has paid glowing tributes to Sir Terry Wogan who was an honorary graduate of the University, having received a Doctor of Laws degree in 2010, and was a frequent visitor to the University to attend TOGs (Terry’s Old Girls and Geezers) conventions.

A spokesperson for the University said: “Sir Terry Wogan was a brilliant broadcaster who touched many people's lives over a long and distinguished career. We are proud of his connection with the University of Leicester and to have counted him amongst our distinguished honorary graduates, and we were also delighted to be associated with some of his charitable work. We express our profound sorrow at the loss of such a remarkable personality.”

Sir Terry said on one of his visits to the University: “What is memorable about Leicester is the kind of welcome you get from the University for the TOGs. That is why they keep coming back.

“I would like to have been a student here - it looks like a really nice campus. I am not being sycophantic, but the University of Leicester has a very good reputation. I am deeply honoured to have been offered an Honorary Doctor of Laws. I will, of course, now demand a certain amount of respect.”

Professor Gordon Campbell, the University’s Public Orator , said on the occasion that Sir Terry was honoured: “You may wonder why it is the University of Leicester that is conferring this honour and why Sir Terry is according us the honour of accepting it. The answer lies in a running joke on Radio 2, when Terry Wogan referred to Leicester as a lost city, one that was mentioned in traffic reports because of maintenance work on the motorway, but was otherwise unknown. And just as Schliemann announced in 1868 that he had discovered the lost city of Troy, so Terry Wogan announced the discovery of Leicester in November 1984. Since then he has discovered that the City has a world-class university that he tells his listeners is ‘the best university in the universe’, and he has on several occasions used the facilities of the University to host the three-day Mardi Gras that is the TOGs convention. His immense capacity for friendship now extends to this University, and we heartily reciprocate.”

In his response Sir Terry said: “Speaking as somebody who never went to university I’m so pleased to see so many of you graduate after so many hard years of study. It’s a relief that none of you are going to end up like me. Luckily my wife is privately wealthy.

“My association with Leicester, as you so rightly say, goes back an awful long time. Because I left the vastnesses of the BBC on some pretext, I don’t know why, and they said, “Go north, young man.” So I crossed over the Watford Gap with some apprehension and as we drove along the M1 I saw this misty city on a hill. I thought, “Let’s go and see what that is.” So we came off the dreaded M1 but we could never find it. So as far as me and millions of listeners were concerned (and probably you) it’s the lost city of Leicester. And when the Leicesterians [sic] heard that they invited me to come up here and I am the proud possessor of the Leicester Spoon, “presented to the intrepid traveller Terry Wogan who discovered Leicester on 21st November 1984.” And so I did and damn it, it’s still here!”

Producing a large picture frame he added: “I’ve also got this. I bring it with me nearly everywhere because usually I find people rush the stage. I fight them off with this: “The eight day of December, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-three, I, Terry Wogan, hereby confirm and attest that I found the city of Leicester to be a wondrous and surprising place and that I shall hereafter refer to it as ‘Leicester, a city full of surprises.’” And that, signed by me and the Lord Mayor of Leicester at the time, a Henry Dunphy; sounds like a man of Irish antecedents.

“So we come to the University and as you say, my association with the University is one of enormous affection, and even greater affection now that it has foolishly presented me with an honorary doctorate which I shall boast about until I die - which is not for a long time yet because that’s the great thing about our business, as you will see from some of the crustier people who appear on the television; you never have to retire. So those of you who’ve qualified as medical doctors you’re making a terrible mistake; you should have gone into showbiz. It’s more regular.

“My TOGs, Terry’s Old Girls and Geezers; there are some with me in the audience, I won’t embarrass them by asking them to stand up, but these are people who have rallied together under my name. Now in my previous incarnation as a broadcaster I had followers who were called ‘TWITS’: Terry Wogan Is Top Society. Or ‘TWINKLETOE’s: Terry Wogan Is Not Kinky Like Everybody Says Or Everybody Thinks [sic].”

Speaking of his work on Children in Need he said: “When you mention Children in Need, I’m the tip of the iceberg. I’m the one who does less work than anybody else; I turn up on the big evening, walk around for seven hours and get off. The effort, the work has been done by other people throughout the year, including my TOGs who’ve been instrumental through Janet and John’s CDs and other tasteful offerings have been able to raise in excess of three million pounds for Children in Need. And as I said, I’m so proud of these people and I’m so proud that they’ve rallied to this cause in my name. I’m just a broadcaster, I’m just somebody who sits in front of a microphone and speaks, usually without a thought in his head. Open the microphone and hope for the best. It’s the same with television. And I have had the most wonderful time.”

Congratulating the graduands, he said: “This is the important thing to remember, I think. You’ve all qualified and full marks to you for all the studying that you’ve done. It’s fantastic and you deserve your day in the sun, and I hope you’ll go on to great things. But you’ve got to have one other thing in life; you’ve got to be lucky. I hate to tell you this but there is an imponderable factor in life and it’s called luck. And I’ve been luckier than anybody I know. And so I hope as you carry your qualifications forward that you’ll be lucky too. That not only will you have the intellect and ability, but that you’ll have the luck. The luck that I’ve enjoyed, particularly today, to receive an honorary Doctorate in Laws. As I’ve said; I’m one of the laziest people I know. I came out of school very early, went back, did philosophy, then I thought “I don’t want to study for any longer.” So I went to work in a bank. Lazy.

“You – you’ve spent years getting to where you are today. Now you deserve to be where you are, you deserve all the success that’s going to come your way. I congratulate you on it. I don’t congratulate myself, I just think that I’m very lucky, very honoured, very moved to have received this honorary doctorate from the University of Leicester. Thank you.”




Sir Terry Wogan - Honorary Degree - University of Leicester

You can view a photo gallery of Sir Terry at Leicester here:

Photos of Sir Terry at Graduation:

Use of all materials subject to credit: University of Leicester

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