Alan Cumming Amongst Open University Honorary Graduates

An actor, a church trailblazer and a crime fighter have been awarded honorary degrees by the Open University (OU).

Alan Cumming, best known for his roles in X Men and Goldeneye, has been recognised for his contribution to education and culture.

Dr Alison Elliot, the first female Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Karyn McCluskey, director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, have been recognised for outstanding public service.

Mr Cumming said: ''I remember growing up and the Open University programming coming on at the end of the day's TV broadcasts.

''Now they use online learning and the latest technologies to support their students, but for me the Open University has always represented a thirst for knowledge, a hunger to be educated.

''People who enrol with the OU so often do so in conjunction with working or raising kids, and so it's always seemed to me that anyone with an Open University degree has doubly triumphed: they have fought so hard and sacrificed so much to learn and better themselves. That's why I'm so honoured to receive this degree.''

Dr Elliot said: ''Undertaking academic learning alongside everyday concerns may be tough but I'm sure it leads to more-rounded students and better understanding of the subjects at hand.

''I take my hat off to all OU graduates and it's a great honour to share this special day with them.''

Ms McCluskey said: ``I know so many people who have used the Open University to change the course of their lives, studying while holding down jobs, caring for children and elderly parents, and even while caught up in the justice system. The OU is life-changing and one of our greatest institutions.''

John D'Arcy, acting director of the Open University in Scotland, said: ''The exceptional calibre of honorary graduates we have here today shows how highly our students, and colleagues who teach and support them, are regarded.

''It's a pleasure and a privilege to welcome them as part of the Open University family.''

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