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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Doctorate for Big Brother’s Shilpa Shetty

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty was praised for her “dignity and poise” as she received an honorary degree.

The Celebrity Big Brother winner was awarded a doctorate of arts by Leeds Metropolitan University.

She was praised for the way in which she handled the Celebrity Big Brother racism row earlier this year.

Wearing an orange outfit, deep red robes, a blue and orange hood, black cap and gold strappy sandals, Miss Shetty took her place on the stage with academics from the university.

Addressing the graduands, Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Lee described Miss Shetty as distinguished and inspirational and said they may have been placed in similar difficult situations to the one she faced in the Celebrity Big Brother house when viewers complained about the way Miss Shetty was treated by former housemate-turned-celebrity Jade Goody, singer Jo O’Meara and model Danielle Lloyd.

Prof Lee said: “There are some parallels between the challenges faced in any house and student life. Someone at some time will behave badly, not necessarily to you but to others or the wider community, to someone or some group who cannot defend themselves.

“In Shilpa Shetty you are graduating with someone who rose to that challenge with great dignity and poise, making a difference.”

Joy Kumar, director of students-centred change management, paid tribute to the 32-year-old’s contribution to film and music and her charity work with HIV sufferers. She also praised Miss Shetty for how she dealt with the problems in the Big Brother house.

Awarding Miss Shetty with her degree, she said: “For showing great character, for making a difference to our multicultural society, for using her talents to the full.”

Miss Shetty was clearly emotional as she accepted the degree. She said: “I am so overwhelmed, I am choked with emotions and I can’t stop smiling. I have won some awards, at the cost of sounding immodest, I have never seen my mother beam so much as she is today. I can see the pride in her eyes because she’s always wanted me to graduate.”

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