Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford is to become the youngest ever recipient of an honorary degree from The University of Manchester.
The honourary degree is in recognition of Rashford’s achievements as a footballer and as a passionate campaigner against child poverty, the university said in a statement.
The 22-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Manchester United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton by receiving an honorary doctorate, the highest honour the university can bestow.
“It’s a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it’s humbling,” Rashford said in a statement announcing the award.
“We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot. Thank you to The University of Manchester.”
Rashford has been at the forefront of advocating free food provision for school children. Rashford’s dedication to the cause has taken him from the back pages of the newspapers to the front pages in recent weeks.
The England International’s collaboration with poverty and food waste charity, FareShare, led to £20million being raised in financial and food donations and 3.9 million meals being distributed to vulnerable people every week during the COVID-19 crisis.
The University of Manchester’s president and vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, praised Rashford as “an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field.
“His work for charity and his high-profile campaign will not only help countless young people across our own city, but across the entire country.”
Rothwell said the university’s pride in social responsibility made it share the honorary degree with Rashford.
A spokesperson for United said: “Marcus is an exceptional player and an exceptional person. His work with FareShare and his focus on child poverty make him richly deserving of this tremendous honour and everyone at Manchester United is incredibly proud of him.”