And yesterday, he was finally presented with the degree at an Old Trafford ceremony.
Former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson – who also boasts an honorary degree from the university – joined the 23-year-old footballer’s friends and family to witness him collecting the award at Manchester United’s home ground.
Dressed in a red, maroon, and gold graduation gown with a doctorate cap for the ceremony, Rashford was presented his degree by vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.
It’s not hard to see why the Manchester United and England star made history when he was bestowed with the accolade, as he was rightly-recognised by the city’s largest university for his ongoing battle against child food poverty – including forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK government to make a U-turn on free school meals.
Rashford’s honorary doctorate adds to the numerous other awards and accolades he’s collected over the past 18 months to recognise his extraordinary acts of selflessness off the pitch.
Continuing his philanthropic efforts, Rashford used his acceptance to reveal how “bittersweet” it felt to receive an honorary degree for fighting child poverty the day after the Universal Credit uplift was retracted, adding that millions of families across the UK have now “lost a lifeline”.
Rashford also called for politicians to get “out into communities” – including his hometown of Wythenshawe in south Manchester.
He said: “To be here in the presence of a great such as Sir Alex, and those who have played a huge role in my journey to be where I am today is special.
“I’m here to receive my honorary doctorate for my work around child poverty [but] yesterday, millions of families across the UK lost a lifeline and a means of staying afloat [in] a move that could see child poverty rise to one in three children.
“For that reason, today is bittersweet.
“It’s time that representatives got out into communities like mine [and] it’s time they saw first-hand the true measure of struggle [as] COVID-19 can no longer be used as an excuse.”
Dame Nancy described the footballer as “an exceptional young man”, whose “sense of community and generosity goes well beyond his years”, adding: “Our university also has social responsibility at its core, and we are extremely proud to share these values with Marcus [so] it really is an honour to finally present him with this well-deserved award on behalf of our institution.”
Featured Image – Twitter (@OfficialUoM)