University pays tribute to Sir Terry Wogan

The University has expressed its profound sadness at the news of the death of the veteran television and radio broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, an honorary graduate and good friend of our University.

Sir Terry was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in July 2010, acknowledging his long association with the University through his fan club 'Terry's Old Geezers', or 'TOGs'. On several occasions, he graced the University's facilities in Oadby for their annual conference, bringing his wit and good humour to our campus, staff and students.

On awarding Sir Terry his honorary degree, the Public Orator Professor Gordon Campbell said: "You may wonder why it is the University of Leicester is conferring this honour and why Sir Terry is according us the honour of accepting it. The answer lies in a running joke on Radio 2, when Terry Wogan referred to Leicester as a lost city, one that was mentioned in traffic reports because of maintenance work on the motorway, but was otherwise unknown.

"And just as Schliemann announced in 1868 that he had discovered the lost city of Troy, so Terry Wogan announced the discovery of Leicester in November 1984.

"Since then he has discovered that the City has a world-class university that he tells his listeners is ‘the best university in the universe’, and he has on several occasions used the facilities of the University to host the three-day Mardi Gras that is the TOGs convention. His immense capacity for friendship now extends to this University, and we heartily reciprocate."

Speaking on the award of his honorary degree, Sir Terry said: “What is memorable about Leicester is the kind of welcome you get from the University for the TOGs. That is why they keep coming back.

“I would like to have been a student here - it looks like a really nice campus. I am not being sycophantic, but the University of Leicester has a very good reputation. I am deeply honoured to have been offered an Honorary Doctor of Laws.”

Frances Stone, the former Director of our Residential and Commercial Services, who hosted Sir Terry on the day said: “He really was a huge character and so amiable when he visited Leicester which he did often as part of the TOGS conventions. I have very happy memories of the day he received his honorary degree. He had such a wonderful natural way of connecting with everyone he met and people were so pleased to see him on campus.”

Sir Michael Terence Wogan was born in Limerick, Ireland, on 3rd August 1938.  He has been the presenter of innumerable TV and Radio shows, and winner of many awards. He will probably be remembered by most audiences for presenting the Eurovision Song Contest for 35 years and Children in Need since its inception in 1980, and helped to raise over half a billion pounds for the charity.

Video of Sir Terry Wogan receiving his honorary degree: