Marcus Rashford is to receive an honorary doctorate from The University of Manchester for his campaigning work which forced the Government into a public U-turn.
The award, the highest honour the University can bestow, is for Rashford’s campaigning efforts to tackle child poverty, as well as his on-field football achievements.
At just 22, Rashford is the youngest ever recipient of an honorary degree and follows United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, both of whom were also honoured by the university.
Rashford said: “It’s a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it’s humbling.
“We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot. Thank you to The University of Manchester.”
President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: “Marcus is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field.
“His work for charity and his high-profile campaign will not only help countless young people across our own city, but across the entire country.
“Our university has social responsibility at its core and this sense of civic pride and duty is something we are proud to share with Marcus. That is why the University is delighted to make Marcus our youngest ever recipient of an honorary degree.”
During lockdown, Rashford worked alongside the poverty and food waste charity, FareShare to help raise £20 million in financial and food donations, enabling 3.9m meals to be distributed to the country’s most vulnerable families every week during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rashford went even further on June 15, writing an open letter to the UK Government, calling for them to reverse their decision not to award free meals to vulnerable children during the summer holidays, citing his own experience of being in that position to push his argument.
Just 36 hours after Rashford penned his letter, the Government announced a change in policy, extending the food voucher scheme for those children on free school meals throughout the summer holidays.
A spokesperson from Manchester United said: “Marcus is an exceptional player and an exceptional person. His work with FareShare and his focus on child poverty make him richly deserving of this tremendous honour and everyone at Manchester United is incredibly proud of him.”