On Tuesday UEA released a list of twenty celebrities, researchers, and charities who are all to receive honorary degrees this summer. The twenty honorary graduates are all considered to have made outstanding accomplishments or remarkable contributions to the community.

In the week commencing 17 July, during the university’s regular graduation ceremonies, the honorary graduates will be awarded their degrees and will be invited to make a speech of acceptance before all other graduates.

Notable figures among this year’s selection include Ed Balls – the Shadow Chancellor from 2011 to 2015 – and actor Hugh Quarshie, who starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Othello.

Others include television news journalist Matt Frei, former chief executive of the Norwich Theatre Royal Peter Wilson MBE, and Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people with terminal illnesses.

George Szirtes, a poet and translator born in Budapest has also been awarded an honorary degree. In a tweet he said “I am extremely lucky and honoured to be among [this year’s honorary doctorates.]”

The recipients in full are: Ed Balls, Patrick Peal, Peter Wilson MBE, Matt Frei, James Vowles, Hugh Quarshie, Caroline Jerrold, Prof Raymond Tallis, Marie Curie, Anne Marie Rafferty CBE, William Armstrong OBE, George Szirtes, Prof Jacqueline Hunter CBE, Dr Yongguan Zhu, Prof Willy Aspinall, Alex Smith, Dinah Rose QC, Philippe Sands QC, Mike Hammond, and Prof Dame Vicki Bruce.

An honorary degree is typically a doctorate, however it is widely considered as an award and not an educational achievement. As such, higher education institutes generally ask that recipients refrain from adopting the title “Dr” before their name.

Last year, award-winning Scottish writer Ali Smith and rugby union referee Wayne Barnes were also among UEA’s list of honorary graduates.