After bringing the Tour de France to the country- something Sir Gary Verity described as “bonkers, in a very Yorkshire way”- he was awarded with the Honorary Doctorate during one of the graduation ceremonies taking place during a week that would award 1,500 graduates with their degrees.
As Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, which secured the departure of the Tour in 2014, Sir Gary has been widely praised for his role, and it led to his 2015 knighthood.
The Grand Départ – secured despite stiff competition from cities and regions that included Barcelona, Florence and Berlin – resulted in a £102m economic boost to Yorkshire
He told the audience of students and their families that he had been honoured “to be able to lead thousands of people who delivered the Grand Départ”. They included local authorities, police, and other agencies plus 14,000 volunteers.
“What that proves – which is relevant to today’s ceremony – is that whatever you want to achieve you can, even if you have a crazy dream to bring the largest annual sporting event in the world here. It will stay in Yorkshire’s history as one of its great days,” said Sir Gary.
Before he received his Honorary Doctorate, an oration was delivered by Professor Samir Dani, who heads the University’s Department of Logistics, Operations, Hospitality and Marketing. He outlined Sir Gary’s varied career, which included roles with FTSE 100 companies and a reputation for turning around failing businesses, leading up to his success at Welcome to Yorkshire.
Sir Gary also shared some wisdom with Business School graduates, saying: “For those of you going into management, the greatest thing you can do for your fellow mankind is to give them a job. You give them self-esteem, the opportunity put bread on the table for their family, and to be a great contributor to society. So I salute you as future entrepreneurs and wealth creators.”