The 69-year-old singer studied at the school in the 1960s. He graduated with a degree in fine art in 1968 before going on to form glam rock group Roxy Music. Today (July 11), at one of the university’s graduation ceremonies, he was made a doctor of music by his alma mater.
Speaking before the ceremony, Ferry said: “Music and art have guided my life, and it all started at Newcastle University. I feel honoured to have been awarded this doctorate from my former university. I enjoyed my time at Newcastle, and was fortunate to study with some great teachers and fellow students. It was an inspiring time to be an art student in Newcastle, and the city also had an exciting music scene.”
Dr John Hogan, registrar at the university, said: “We are delighted to welcome back and honour one of our graduates who has achieved so much in his field. Newcastle University has an excellent reputation for education in art and music and Mr Ferry is a great example and inspiration to our students graduating in those disciplines this summer.”
In 2012, Ferry was amongst a host of musicians who launched an attack on Newcastle City Council for slashing its culture budget. In a letter to The Guardian, the musicians protested against the local authority’s plans to completely cut its £2.5 million culture budget, calling the decision a “shortsighted attack” on Newcastle’s cultural life and say the council risks “throwing away a shared cultural heritage … built up by generations and generations of ordinary people in the city.”