Skip to Content

Honorary Graduates


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Former US Secretary of State and now Chancellor of Queen’s, Hillary Rodham Clinton received an honorary degree in 2018.

Secretary Clinton was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) for her exceptional public service in the USA and globally, and for her outstanding contribution to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, giving a speech
History makers

Two of politics' most recognised leaders, Sir Winston Churchill and President Bill Clinton, have been honoured.

Churchill accepted his honorary degree in 1926 and Clinton in 2001.

Senator George J. Mitchell smiling in front of the American flag

Northern Ireland Peace Process

There have been honorary degrees for key figures in the Peace Process, including Senator George Mitchell, Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, David Trimble, John Hume, Seamus Mallon and Mo Mowlam, the late Secretary of State.

Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, standing in front of a colourful mural
Closer to home

Two Irish Presidents have been honoured.

Mary Robinson in 1995 and Mary McAleese, the first female Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, in 1998.


Honoured in 1970
Iris Murdoch

Ranked twelfth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" (The Times, 2008)

Honoured in 1998
Maeve Binchy

Irish novelist who featured on The New York Times best-seller list.

Honoured in 1999
Edna O’Brien

Irish writer and winner of the Irish PEN award in 2001.

Honoured in 2013
Hilary Mantel

English writer and first female to win the Booker Prize twice.

The Arts

W.B. Yeats
by George Charles Beresford
sepia-toned platinotype, 15 July 1911
NPG x6397
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Honoured in 1922
WB Yeats

One of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature and winner of a Nobel Prize for literature.

Heaney in Library 400
Honoured in 1982
Seamus Heaney

One of the most recongisable poets in the world, Heaney won a Nobel Prize in 1995.

Brian Friel 400
Honoured in 1992
Brian Friel

In 2008 the university established the Brian Friel Theatre and Research Centre.

Honoured in 2005
Lord Melvyn Bragg

British broadcaster, author and parliamentarian

Modern medicine and science

Allen - McClay
Sir Allen McClay

The pharmaceutical entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Allen McClay was honoured in 1995

He died in 2010 but his memory lives on in the award-winning McClay Library.

Alexander Fleming
Medical pioneers

Including Sir Alexander Fleming (1946), and Professor Frank Pantridge (2001) have received honorary degrees

Pantridge transformed emergency medicine with the invention of the portable defibrillator which is saving lives all over the world.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

The Northern Ireland-born astrophysicist was honoured in 2002.

She became the first person to observe and analyse radio pulsars.

Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE FRAS giving a speech
want to know more?
History and heritage