More than 2,500 students graduated from the University of Roehampton last week.

Journalist John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor, was made an honorary fellow of the university as he stepped down from the role of chancellor after nine years.

An expert in Muslim law, professor Mona Siddiqui OBE, an eminent professor of American culture, professor Janet Beer, and a man who has dedicated his life to protecting endangered species, Ian Redmond OBE, were also awarded honorary doctorates.

The graduation ceremonies, held for the first time at the Royal Festival Hall, were Mr Simpson’s last significant act as chancellor.

Announcing the fellowship, Sir David Bell, chairman of the university’s council, described Mr Simpson as "eminently worthy" and "a great friend of Roehampton".

He said: "John’s career has acted as a model to all of us to become informed, global citizens - how an inquisitive and critical mind can not only help us comprehend the world around us but allow others to learn from our experiences."

While reporting on virtually every conflict and international incident in recent memory, Mr Simpson shared first-hand experiences with the university’s journalism students and debated the influence of the media on politics in public lectures.