Northern Ireland

Degree for Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
Image caption Alex Ferguson will be given an honorary degree from the University of Ulster

The University of Ulster is to give honorary doctorates to US Open Golf Champion Rory McIlroy and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen and Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody are also set to be honoured.

Sir Alex is to receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of his services to football.

Rory McIlroy will be awarded for his contribution to golf.

He will receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (DSc).

Last June, the Holywood golfer secured his first Major title at the 2011 US Open championship with a record 16 under par score, beating the field by eight shots.

He follows in the footsteps of fellow golfer Graeme McDowell who received an honorary degree last year after winning the 2010 US Open Championship.

Darren Clarke was also honoured by the university in 2002 and won the Open Championship last year.

Bangor-born Gary Lightbody, of Snow Patrol fame, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) for services to the music industry.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen, who is currently filming for 'The Hobbit' film, is to receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters for his services to acting.

The famous names join businessmen, entrepreneurs and former school principals.

The degrees will be conferred during the summer and winter graduation ceremonies.

More on this story