BBC journalist tells university graduates to retain that 'Sussex spirit' as he receives honorary doctorate

BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie receives an honorary doctorate from the UNiversity of Sussex (Photograph: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)
BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie receives an honorary doctorate from the UNiversity of Sussex (Photograph: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)

Broadcaster Clive Myrie praised the 'Sussex spirit' as he received an honorary doctorate from the university last week.

After receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex during the first day of winter graduation (January 24), the journalist and former Sussex student recalled fond memories from his first term at the university in the 1980s.

BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie receives an honorary doctorate from the UNiversity of Sussex (Photograph: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)

BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie receives an honorary doctorate from the UNiversity of Sussex (Photograph: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)

Mr Myrie told students from the University of Sussex that he hoped they’d retain the ‘Sussex spirit’ after graduating, encouraging them ‘to call out injustice when you see it, to help others who may need a hand, and to think beyond yourselves’.

Delivering his acceptance speech in front of hundreds of graduands and their families at the Brighton Centre, he said: “When I arrived at Sussex for my first term back in 1982, I instantly fell in love with the town. I fell in love with the people, and I fell in love with the University.

“Compassion and love for all human beings is what I felt when I arrived here. My years at Sussex, were some of the happiest of my life.”

He also described an immediate ‘sense of belonging’ despite being hundreds of miles from his home in Bolton, explaining ‘I, as a black man, was accepted.’

BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie receives an honorary doctorate from the UNiversity of Sussex (Photograph: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)

BBC broadcaster Clive Myrie receives an honorary doctorate from the UNiversity of Sussex (Photograph: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)

Mr Myrie, an award-winning journalist, explained how self-confidence he gained at the university had helped him when he visited North Korea, posing as a tourist in order to gather footage on the humanitarian crisis. Recognised by a fellow Briton, he suddenly found his cover in jeopardy but despite the threat of arrest, he carried on, determined to reveal the injustices within the country. After ten days filming, his piece eventually aired on the ten o’clock news.

Clive Myrie first joined the BBC on a training scheme in 1986, shortly after graduating in Law from the University of Sussex. Despite joining at a time when there were very few black Britons working at the corporation, he’s become one of their most recognised and trusted journalists, reporting from more than 80 countries.

Ivor Gaber Professor of Journalism at the University of Sussex, proudly described Clive as ‘one of our own’ before awarding him his honorary doctorate.