England goalkeeper Mary Earps has been awarded an honorary doctorate at her alma mater.
The 30-year-old said she was “proud” to be part of a growth in women’s football and said she hoped that future generations would benefit even further as she was awarded for her contribution to sport.
The Lioness said it was “pretty incredible” to receive the honorary degree from Loughborough University.
Accepting the award, the England and Manchester United player described her time at the university – where she gained a degree in information management and business studies in 2016 – as “manic” and said she did not expect life to be “a lot more manic later down the line”.
“To be awarded an honorary doctorate is pretty incredible,” Earps said.
“It’s even more special to come back to where I studied and gained a degree in 2016. Life at Loughborough back then was what I thought was manic, little did I know life was going to get a lot more manic later down the line.
“It’s great to be part of the growth of women’s football. Many people have come before us and we’ve stood on their shoulders and benefited from that. Hopefully, future generations will equally benefit from what we’ve achieved in this time.
“I know being here today is not something everyone gets to do and I’m thankful to be awarded this honorary degree for my contributions to sport.”
Earps made her full international debut a year after graduating from the university, which is well known for its sporting achievements.
She helped the Lionesses achieve European glory in 2022 when the team won the Uefa Women’s European Championships.
The squad narrowly missed out on World Cup glory this year when they were knocked out in the final, but Earps was named the best goalkeeper at the tournament and awarded the Golden Glove accolade.
She was voted BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023 and has been nominated for the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, which will be announced next week.
Earps was made a “Doctor of the University” at Loughborough’s winter graduation service on Thursday.
Professor Nick Jennings, vice-chancellor and president of Loughborough University, said: “Mary’s contribution to women’s football has been nothing short of extraordinary.
“She consistently performs brilliantly at the very highest level, inspiring both peers and future generations.
“Loughborough is an institution that is synonymous with sporting excellence and alumna such as Mary make us incredibly proud.
“We’re delighted to award Mary an honorary degree as we look forward to her achieving yet more greatness on the global stage.”
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