Jack Higgins' literary success rewarded by the University of London

Share Article

Harry Patterson, alias Jack Higgins, completes full circle with the University of London International Programmes by collecting an Honorary Doctorate of Literature. This was awarded in recognition of his 70 year-long writing career, or as he refers to it, ‘scribbling’.

L to R Mr Harry Patterson, alias Jack Higgins; the Chancellor of the University of London, HRH The Princess Royal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Adrian Smith.

Not once did I ever dream that I would receive a Doctorate of Literature from such a prestigious university.

Harry Patterson, alias Jack Higgins, completes full circle with the University of London International Programmes by collecting an Honorary Doctorate of Literature. This was awarded in recognition of his 70 year-long writing career, or as he refers to it, ‘scribbling’.

Mr Patterson was presented with the award by HRH The Princess Royal, at the Barbican Centre, at the University of London International Programmes Graduation Ceremony, attended by more the 3,000 people from 86 countries across the globe.

Mr Patterson said: “While any writer would be thrilled to obtain such an accolade, this award is particularly special to me. I too am an alumnus, like all you new graduates sat before me, of the University of London International Programmes, having studied for a BSc in Sociology many years ago, with what was then known as the External System. Thus, receiving this award poetically marks the full circle of my academic career and relationship with the University of London.”

His long and successful career, culminated in the publication of more than 70 books, the most well-known of all being The Eagle Has Landed, was made into a blockbuster film, starring Michael Caine and Donald Sutherland. Mr Patterson explained: “Writing, or should I say ‘scribbling’ as it was once described whilst I was serving in the army, is my compulsion. When I was 14 or 15 years old I decided to enter a short-story competition. Although I did not win, months later I received a letter from an author on the judging panel, who was kind enough to tell me that I was a writer and never to forget it. I never have. And with that encouragement in mind, I have spent the last 70 years, writing and creating characters that have become literary friends, to people all over the world. Not once did I ever dream that I would receive a Doctorate of Literature from such a prestigious university.”

In her oration speech for Mr Patterson, Dr Mary Stiasny OBE, said: “the University of London International Programmes is very proud to honour such an exceptional person, who has faced adversity throughout his life and who was told once as a schoolboy that he ‘would never amount to anything’; how wrong they were.” Mr Patterson’s books have sold over 50 million copies worldwide and translated into more than 60 languages. However, the ever modest author attributes his astounding success to ‘someone up there’.

-Ends-

Notes for Editors

Photo caption
Mr Harry Patterson, alias Jack Higgins receives an Honorary Doctorate in Literature, from the Chancellor of the University of London, HRH The Princess Royal. It was presented in front of an international audience at the University of London International Programmes graduation ceremony, held at the Barbican Centre in London on Wednesday 5 March 2014.

University of London
The University of London is a federation of 18 world renowned Colleges, comprising of multi-faculty Colleges, smaller specialist Colleges, Institutes and other academic bodies.

Examples include; UCL, Heythrop College, the School of Advanced Study, the University of London Institute in Paris and the University of London International Programmes.

The University was established by Royal Charter in 1836.

The University was the first to offer degrees to students irrespective of religion, political belief or gender.

In 1878 the University of London became the first University in the UK to admit women to study for its degrees.

The University was also first to offer flexible distance learning, with the establishment in 1858 of the External System, now known as the University of London International Programmes.

University of London International Programmes

The University of London International Programmes is the world’s oldest provider of degrees through distance and flexible learning.

The International Programmes has been instrumental in the formation of British higher education – all English and Welsh universities founded between 1849 and 1949 offered University of London degrees before obtaining Royal Charters to award their own degrees.

Today, the University of London International Programmes is a unique global network of more than 54,000 students in 180 countries, on 100+ study programmes.

Famous former students and alumni include seven Nobel Prize Winners: Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins; Professor Ronald Coase; Wole Soyinka; Derek Walcott; former President Nelson Mandela; joint-winner Charles Kao; and joint-winner Dr Rolph Payet, currently Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles.

To find out more about the University of London International Programmes, visit our website: http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Binda Rai
University of London
+44 2078628545
Email >
@LondonU
since: 12/2008
Follow >
Visit website