The Archbishop of Birmingham and the city council’s chief legal officer have received honorary degrees.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Leicester, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.
And Mirza Ahmad, Birmingham City Council’s chief legal officer, received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from his former university, Manchester Metropolitan, for his contribution to the legal profession and in particular his involvement in the ‘Black Letter Law’ campaign.
Archbishop Nichols received his honour from the chancellor of Leicester University, Sir Peter Williams, during an afternoon Degree Congregation held at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester.
"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,” the archbishop urged the assembled phalanx new graduates from the Faculty of Law.
Archbishop Nichols is chairman of the Catholic Education Service and of the Department for Catholic Education and Formation of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
He is also 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.
Mr Ahmad, who earned his MBA from Manchester Metropolitan Business School, received his honorary doctorate at the 2008 graduation ceremony for the university’s Faculty of Humanities, Law and Social Science, at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
As Birmingham City Council’s chief legal officer, he manages more than 300 staff. In 2005, he was named one of the Top 5 lawyers in local government and is chairman of the Bar Association for Local Government & the Public Service, and a member of the General Council of the Bar for England & Wales.
In February last year, he was recognised in the UK’s Inaugural Muslim Power 100 and was also awarded their “Public Sector Award”. He has also been heavily involved in the Commission for Racial Equality’s ‘Black Letter Law’ publications which celebrate the achievements of black and minority ethnic lawyers.
He said of his honour from MMU: “This is a great personal achievement for me, and being a lawyer in a family of doctors, it means I’ll now be able to join them.”