The University of Glasgow

18 Jun 2014

Commemoration Day, The University of Glasgow, 18th June 2014

Gerry signs the register at the University

Gerry signs the register at The University of Glasgow


Gerry was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Glasgow at Commemoration Day, 18th June, 2014.  Commemoration Day is a special event in the University calendar when the University remembers and all its benefactors.  Gerry and his family joined the congregation in the University chaplaincy to give thanks to all the people who have supported The University since it was established 1451.  The graduation ceremony was in the remarkable surroundings of Bute Hall.  Each graduand was invited to the platform where the person proposing the award of the degree gave a speech explaining to the Chancellor of the University and the congregation why they were proposing this person for an honorary degree.  Gerry was awarded his D.Litt for his contributions to education for deaf people, disabled rights and sports.  At the end of his speech, Professor Frank Coton explained that Gerry’s solo circumnavigation was the most recent achievement in a lifetime of breaking down barriers

 “Gerry’s story is a glorious example of ambition and talent overcoming problems and prejudice.  He is an inspiration to the worldwide deaf community and to anyone who has faced barriers or challenges in their life.  It is right and fitting that this University recognises the immense contribution he has made to the fields of education, sport and disabled rights.”

When Gerry was asked how he felt receiving such a great honour from The University of Glasgow he explained:

 “I remember when the letter arrived from the University asking if I would accept the award of an Honorary Degree.   My first thoughts were of my late father. He was a graduate from this university.    It is impossible for me to express how honoured I feel.  My uncle was a chaplain at this University and today I am graduating in Bute Hall.  I spent most of my childhood holidays in Bute!  Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming and I hope that I will be able, in some small way, to be an ambassador for the University.  I also have to say thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years - without their support, this would not have happened”.


 Dr and Mrs HUges

Dr and Mrs Hughes


Gerry and Family

Gerry and Kay with their two daughters Nicola and Ashley


The Hughes family with Professor Coton

Left to Right: Ashley, Kay, Gerry, Gerry W hughes, Professor Frank Coton, Nicola Hughes


Colin Blane and Gerry

BBC News Correspondent Colin Blane with Gerry.  Colin was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters.