University Awards Degree To Youngest Ever Honorary Graduate

The University of Sussex awarded an honorary degree to Liam Hackett, from Clock Face, on his 27th Birthday.

Liam, who now lives in Brighton, founded the equality and anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label aged just 16 after starting a MySpace page reaching out to other people impacted by bullying. He expanded the business while studying for his degree in business and management at the University of Sussex. Now it is a thriving charity, recently expanding into the USA and Mexico, and has helped hundreds of thousands of young people affected by bullying.

Liam received his honorary Doctor of the University degree from Sussex University, as part of its Winter Graduation event.

Liam, who attended Carmel College in St Helens, said “I was thrilled to be honoured by Sussex University. To share the day with my family, friends and so many talented students celebrating their own graduations was just incredible. The warm welcome I received from everyone was truly wonderful.”

“To be honoured as the youngest ever honorary graduate is one of my proudest moments and I truly am speechless. Ditch the Label is now a global movement and I am proud to devote my career to standing up for the civil rights and liberties of others.”

Professor Adam Tickell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “At the University of Sussex we are proud to be known for our thoughtful and alternative approach to the world. We aim to attract students with passion, who think differently, and to develop these skills during their time here – encouraging them to dare to debate, and to affect real change in their communities.

“Liam Hackett is a notable alumni and is an excellent example of the values we hold dear here at the University of Sussex. His drive to help other young people and his innovation and determination to succeed make him a role model – and I know we have many other students graduating today who do or will go on to do equally worthy and impactful things.”

The theme for the University of Sussex Winter Graduation 2018 was role models and they were highlighting many students who have made a difference to their peers or in their communities.

The University of Sussex runs its own Role Models Project – a peer-led mentoring scheme that trains University of Sussex students to create and deliver workshops for groups of young people (aged 12-15) in the local community, providing them with role models and a safe supported space to be listened to and ask questions. The aim is to engage with concerns around areas such as mental health and wellbeing, digital technology and social media, body image and self-esteem, gender and sexuality, healthy relationships, and our relationships to the wider world.

The University of Sussex is one of the top 20 universities in the UK, and is ranked third in the country for graduate employment prospects. The University contributes more than £200-million of the economic output of Brighton & Hove and Lewes.

You can read more about Liam, and the work he does, on the Huffington Post website as part of their Meet The New Activists series

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