Musician Stormzy has said he is “extremely blessed and grateful” as he received an honorary degree from the University of Exeter.
The grime superstar received the honour on Tuesday, in recognition of his “outstanding achievement in the field of higher education, philanthropy and widening participation”.
The ceremony saw graduates who finished their degree in 2020 celebrating their achievements after the pandemic placed a stop on graduation ceremonies over the past two years.
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During his graduation speech, the 28-year-old rapper had his fellow graduates laughing when he joked: “I am going up in the world. I am a philanthropist now.”
“I have been so richly blessed by God and I don’t just mean financially, I mean with love and life and family and joy, and with peace and with purpose, so, to put it simply, I bear the fruit and I share fruit and, without sounding too fantastical, that’s just what we’re meant to do in whatever way we can," he said.
“Some of our destinies is to save one life, some of us are destined to build nations and schools, some of us will focus on raising our families and those closest to us, some of us will help our local community, some of us will help the neighbour next door, some of us will help the world, some of us will help a friend."
"I feel extremely blessed and grateful to be up here receiving this honorary degree," the musician added.
Stormzy, whose real name is Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, went on to give a “shout-out” to his mum who was sitting in the crowd.
Watch Stormzy's full graduation speech at the University of Exeter
"It’s always been her biggest dream for me to go to university and graduate and then become somebody so this moment is a real full-circle one.”
The rapper set up the #Merky Foundation in 2020 and has gone on to pledge millions to tackle racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment in the UK.
The award-winning grime artist began providing scholarships for black students at the University of Cambridge in a bid to address the relatively low number of black students who attend Oxbridge institutions.
He called the expansion of his scholarship programme at Cambridge "an incredible milestone".
Last year, a new philanthropic partnership between HSBC UK and the #Merky Foundation was set up to ensure a further 30 “Stormzy Scholars” are funded over the next three years covering tuition fees and maintenance costs.