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Honorary Degree Orations
Public Orator, David Moorcroft presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 23 July at 10.30am
Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Honorary Graduands, Ladies and Gentlemen and Graduands…
For many years Chris Rawlinson has been an outstanding international athlete for his country and an inspirational figure at Loughborough University.
He graduated with a BSC in Sports Science in 1999 and a Masters from Loughborough Business school in 2003. As an athlete he was truly world class winning an individual gold medal over 400m hurdles in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and was a member of England’s gold medal winning 4 x400 team at those same Games. Chris was ranked in the world top ten for five years and made the final of four of the last five major Championships he competed in. From 2000 to 2004 he dominated the European Cup 400 hurdles winning gold on three occasions
Not only was he a great 400 hurdler - he still ranks 3rd on the UK all time list – but he was also an outstanding relay runner who regularly produced breathtaking performances for Great Britain, England and of course the Loughborough Students team.
I said earlier that Chris was an inspirational figure at Loughborough. He had a reputation of being a hugely committed athlete who would leave no stone unturned in his quest to be the best in the world. As you know, Loughborough has been the breeding ground for many of Britain’s greatest ever sportsmen and women, including many who are Olympic and Paralympic legends. In then last ten years Chris has led from the front as a role model whose attitude and commitment has helped inspire many of our best young athletes who learned their trade on this campus.
Loughborough University has wonderful state of the art facilities. But as important as the facilities, coaches, medical and sports science backup etc is the kind of cutting edge, world class performance culture that needs to exist to motivate and inspire our best young talent as they strive to take on the best in the world.
International sport is an uncompromising, unforgiving world but Chris was an uncompromising, unforgiving athlete – and that attitude rubs off on others. In some ways his legacy to Loughborough and sport in the UK will be as significant because of the example he has shown as it was through his own individual achievements. Ironically those talents may also benefit Australia as he supports and coaches his Aussie wife Jana as she seeks Olympic gold also as a 400hurdler. I am sure we all wish her and their young son Cornelius the best of luck in the future.
Chris will be 40 years old in 2012, so a comeback may be something of a challenge for him, but when we watch Loughborough alumni win medals in London – and they will – one of the factors that will have made a significant difference was Chris’s contribution to the history and heritage of our Loughborough University and his inspirational commitment to excellence and personal achievement.
Therefore, Chancellor I have the honour to present to you, and the whole University, Chris Rawlinson for the degree of Doctor of the University honoris causa.