The University of Manchester has made Marcus Rashford the youngest person in their list to ever earn a honorary degree for his philanthropic work from the institution. The Manchester United and England player is only is born 1997 and is only 22 years of age.
According to the Ivy league university, the award is the highest honour it can bestow on an individual. The honor announced on Tuesday 14th July 2020 recognizes Rashford’s remarkable campaign against child poverty off the field and outstanding sporting achievements on the pitch.
The Man United striker will receive this honorary degree in August 2020.
In the past, the University has given such awards to former Man United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson and former player Sir Bobby Charlton.
Rashford is already a key player for club and country, but his ongoing charity work has seen him make headlines on both the front and back pages in recent weeks.
Speaking immediately after the announcement, an evidently thrilled Rashford noted that
“It’s a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it’s humbling. We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot. Thank you to The University of Manchester.”
During the lockdown, Rashford, from Wythenshawe in Manchester, teamed up with the poverty and food waste charity, FareShare leading to the raising of £20 million in finances and food donations hence enabling 3.9 million vulnerable children to be provided with food every week during the Global COVID-19 pandemic.
On 15 June, he pushed the campaign forward even further by writing a heartfelt open letter to the UK Government. He followed up this message with a high-profile publicity and social media campaign drawing on his own personal experiences of using foodbanks and afterschool clubs growing up.
36 hours later the Government announced a change in policy, extending the food voucher scheme for those children on free school meals throughout the summer holidays. Rashford’s campaign was credited as a major turning point in the Government’s thinking.
Now, despite the return of Premier League football, the striker says he will continue to campaign for those most vulnerable across the UK.
President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: “Marcus is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field.
“His work for charity and his high-profile campaign will not only help countless young people across our own city, but across the entire country.
“Our university has social responsibility at its core and this sense of civic pride and duty is something we are proud to share with Marcus. That is why the University is delighted to make Marcus our youngest ever recipient of an honorary degree.”
Now back on the pitch, Rashford is enjoying one of his most productive seasons for the club he joined at just seven years old. Since scoring on his debut in February 2016, so far in his United career Rashford has won the FA Cup, EFL Cup, FA Community Shield and UEFA Europa League.