As one of our most famous and distinguished graduates of the University of London, we were delighted to honour Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 2008.
The University had in fact wished to honour Desmond Tutu on 1982 but his passport had been confiscated by the South African authorities and he was unable to leave the country. The award was in recognition of his scholarship, integrity and courage but also as a means of warning to the South Africa government that its actions were being observed by the international community.
Thankfully Desmond Tutu survived and continued his journey to greater eminence in the Church in South Africa and as a global activist on issues connected with democracy, freedom and human rights. He forged strong links with King’s College London in particular and the University overall. Staff and students were so appreciative of his wisdom, wit and sincerity as well as his extraordinary scholarship and his profound Christian spirituality.
The University of London is honoured to have this close association with His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and our thoughts and sympathy are with his family and loved ones.