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Internationally recognised painter, sculptor and illustrator Oliver Jeffers has today been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Ulster University for outstanding contribution to literature and the arts.

A graduate of the Belfast School of Art, Oliver is among many eminent figures in the world of art to have studied his craft at the School, and is recognised as it celebrates its 175th anniversary year.

A Belfast School of Art 175 Ambassador, the renowned artist, author and activist who grew up in Belfast and is known primarily for his children’s picture books, is among a group of artists championing the anniversary celebrations which include a series of exhibitions, lectures, and specially commissioned artworks.

Speaking as he received the Honorary Doctorate award, Oliver Jeffers said:

“Creating beautiful art, leaving the world better than I found it, and having fun while I’m here is why I turned my art degree into my life’s work. There’s only one thing you need to teach any human being and that is how to be curious. Education is what someone else does to you, and learning is what you do to yourself, but the real point is about preparing us to be future members of society who are curious and imaginative and capable of love.

"Something magical happened after my mum passed, as if I was somehow handed a stepladder, that helped me see over the everyday little crises. I could suddenly see what was really important, and asked myself again why I made art, and who it was really for. I finished the final year of my education with a real understanding that you only get out what you put in.”

Sharing a word of advice for graduates of Ulster University, Oliver added:

“As you graduates go out into the world; find your place, find your purpose, and find your people. Seek to make the world better, and remember you only get out what you get in.”

As the Class of 2024 celebrate their hard work and dedication across seven graduation ceremonies in Belfast, Coleraine and Derry~Londonderry, Ulster University is honouring seven key figures in politics, journalism, the arts and community work as it bestows its Honorary Doctorates.

For more information, visit: From Former Presidents to Fashion Leaders: Ulster University set to honour cohort of inspirational and talented leaders with series of Honorary Doctorates - Ulster University.

For more information on the Belfast School of Art 175 Anniversary programme, visit: Global Icons from the Art World join with Ulster University to Celebrate 175 Years of the Belfast School of Art - Ulster University.