Archbishop Vincent Nichols has been awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Leicester, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, writes Peter Jennings. Archbishop Nichols received his Hon Degree from the Chancellor of the University, Sir Peter Williams, during an afternoon Degree Congregation held at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester on Tuesday. "Never forget that Faith and Reason are the two ways on which the human spirits soars", Archbishop Nichols urged the assembled phalanx of new graduates from the Faculty of Law. "As you leave Leicester University and your careers open before you, do remember that both Faith and Reason are crucial to your fulfilment. Do not neglect either of them," stressed the Archbishop of Birmingham. The Public Orator, Professor Gordon Campbell, in his introduction, made an analogy between Archbishop Vincent Nichols and St John Fisher. Professor Campbell, International Relations Adviser at the University of Leicester, said: "For his MA from the University of Manchester, Vincent Nichols, wrote a thesis on the theology of John Fisher, the sixteenth-century English bishop who was martyred for his faith. While it could be said that the life of any bishop involves daily martyrdoms, there are more obvious analogies to be made between Archbishop Nichols and John Fisher. "Like the subject of his thesis, Archbishop Vincent is unswervingly orthodox in communicating the teachings of the Church and does not flinch from commenting on the moral and spiritual dimensions of public and political life. Like Fisher, he is a conscientious pastoral bishop, but uses distinctly twenty-first century means to convey his message." Professor Campbell said: "Archbishop Nichols speaks with authority on educational matters. He is chairman of the Catholic Education Service and of the Department for Catholic Education and Formation of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. In this position he leads contact and negotiation with the Government on all matters of Catholic Schools and Colleges." He concluded: "Within his diocese Archbishop Vincent Nichols is President of Maryvale Institute at Oscott and Chairman of the Governing Body of Newman University College in Birmingham, whose degrees were until recently validated by the University of Leicester." In his closing address, the Chancellor, Sir Peter Williams, Vice President of the Royal Society, described Archbishop Vincent and the Mayor of Leicester, Manjula Sood, who also received an Honorary Degree, as "wonderful role models" for the graduates as they left Leicester University.
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