Manchester Metropolitan University

Thursday, 21st July 2016

"Keep dreaming big" entrepreneur tells students

UKFast's Lawrence Jones receives honorary degree

Click here to watch a video of Lawrence Jones giving his advice to new graduates

ENTREPRENEUR Lawrence Jones encouraged students from Manchester Met to keep “writing your map and dreaming big” when he received his honorary degree from the University.

Lawrence was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the digital economy in the North West region in his role as CEO of the UKFast, the largest private web provider in the UK.

Lawrence spoke movingly of how being caught in an avalanche and nearly losing his life affected his outlook.

He said: “I can tell you now, when you’re about to die, you won’t be thinking about the colour of the Ferrari you never had, you’ll be thinking about the people in your life, like I was.”

He encouraged students to write down their life goals, and offered them help and advice for their careers.

After the ceremony, Lawrence said: “It’s a tremendous honour to receive this award today. I didn’t think after my MBE that anything could really top it, but with my not-so-great start in education with my four Us at A-level I didn’t expect something like this, so I think this is probably one of the most amazing days of my life.”

Lawrence was described by lecturer Dr Rachel Dickinson, who introduced him to the stage, as “an entrepreneur committed to building communities and an interdisciplinary, 21st century renaissance man.”

At the ceremony, Cheshire Provost Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser described the campus as “a University in microcosm” and added “we are an integral part of Manchester Metropolitan and our students benefit from the best of both worlds.”

She wished students well for the future, telling them: “Your time with us at Cheshire will have shaped you and enhanced your prospects for a fulfilling future.”

Professor Haddock-Fraser celebrated a number of achievements by students from the Cheshire campus throughout the year, including involvement in an EU festival of sport, and congratulated the campus’s two Rio-bound sporting stars, saying: “As Rio approaches, I’m sure you will join in our pride and good wishes for two of our exercise and Sport Science students who will be competing at the games, Helen Scott and Holly Bradshaw.

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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