1:53 pm - 02/04/2013

Ian McKellen Awarded With Honorary Degree in Northern Ireland

Sir Ian McKellen received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster at its Magee campus. The doctorate was conferred by the university's chancellor, the actor James Nesbitt.

Both men recently starred in The Hobbit film.

Sir Ian explained how he came to be at the Magee campus.

"We were sitting on a mountain in middle earth about six months ago and he was proudly telling me he was chancellor of a university.

"I didn't quite believe him, but he said 'oh come on, you come over and I'll show you', so here I am and delighted to be here for the first time."

Sir Ian also delivered the annual chancellor's lecture to an invited audience.

His lecture focused on religious and homophobic prejudice and the difficulties faced by homosexuals for many decades.

Dr McKellen paid tribute to Stonewall and other gay groups at home and abroad for their work to promote equality.

"Thanks to every gay person in public and non-public life who has come out. Thanks to those politicians not in thrall to those constituents who cling to the status quo and who, given referenda, would happily reinstate capital punishment and the beating of children."

“Thanks most perhaps to the cherished national belief that an Englishman – and an Irishman’s – home is his castle and that the state has no business interfering in their bedrooms. Every rotten anti-gay law has been repealed, shaken down from the constitutional tree. So complete is the reversal, that we even have the anomaly of civil partnerships which are not available to heterosexuals and uniquely benefit the gays!"

“The Heavens have not fallen in – though some blame Tsunami and earthquakes, even 9/11, on God’s response to advances in gay freedom. The world, at least this part of it, is a better place [but] beyond these isles things are worse than ever.”

Previous figures who have delivered the chancellor's lecture include the jurist Baroness Kennedy, respected journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow, the then Irish President Mary McAleese, the Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland Sir Declan Morgan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Vice Chancellor Prof Richard Barnett, who delivered a speech to Sir Ian before the presentation of his honorary doctorate, said it was a great coup for the university to be able to salute one of the greatest actors on stage and screen and campaigners for gay equality.

"Sir Ian's performances have guaranteed him a place in the canon of English stage and film actors," he said.

"But Ian Murray McKellen is also a man of deep personal conscience. He is known as a voice of liberty.

"And he is known for his attention to the everyday matters of human courtesy, respect and loyalty - all evident in his acting."


GET IT SIR IAN. Congrats!!
brightstarmara Re: omg party post4th-Feb-2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
Best first comment in the history of time and will remain that way untill there is nudity.
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