01 May 2007

Lenny Henry: A true man of letters

Lenny Henry, comedian and actor could have been forgiven some nerves on Saturday morning as he appeared in a live, one-off production with a cast of more than 1,000!

He took part in an Open University degree ceremony at The Barbican Centre in London, having successfully completed his BA (Hons) degree in English Literature.

The event was attended by over 900 other students collecting awards, their family, friends and OU staff.

Lenny said: “I am so proud that I have finally reached the graduation day for my BA (Hons) in English Literature. After six years of hard work, I can finally watch telly in the evening, go to the pictures. I can now read a book without having to put post it notes on every other page!

“Hoorah! I'm also incredibly proud to be in such great company -when people have worked so hard like this, a ceremony like this is the ideal thing to celebrate their achievement.”

Lenny received his degree at the ceremony which was presided over by Lord Puttnam of Queensgate. He was installed as the Chancellor of The Open University at a ceremony at The Barbican Centre on Friday April 27.

Four Open University degree ceremonies are being held on Friday and Saturday at The Barbican Centre. These ceremonies are among a series of more than 20 ceremonies to be held across the UK between April and September attended by more than 9,000 students and their families and friends.

Rosemary Mayes, Director of The Open University in London, said: “Each year, we see thousands of our students achieving success in their chosen courses. The Open University in London will always continue to help people from all sections of society, whatever their backgrounds and whatever their circumstances, to help meet their ambitions, further their careers and reach their goals. The degree ceremonies are one of the highlights of my year and it is an honour to attend them and to meet many of our graduates on their big day.”

Editor’s Notes

Lenny Henry has just completed the first leg of his “Where you from?” UK tour. He will be continuing the tour in the UK and Australia later this year. For more details go to

Lenny will be hosting a BBC/Open University co-production for BBC One called ‘Lenny’s Britain’ which will be shown in the summer of 2007.

A total of 100 staff work at The Open University in London at its Camden Centre. A further 850 part-time tutors support 18,000 local students.

Since its beginning in 1971, more than two million people have studied Open University degree, diploma, certificate and stand-alone courses.

The Open University is ranked fifth of all UK universities for teaching quality in the Sunday Times University Guide 2006 – a ranking higher than those for Oxford and University College London. The results of the National Student Survey 2006 showed that Open University students are more satisfied with the quality of their courses than those at any other surveyed university.

More than 1000 academics are involved in writing materials and in research that ranges from e-learning to space sciences.

Further details about OU study are available from the central course enquiries centre on 01908 653231 or from the OU’s website

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