Honorary graduate elected President of India

The University of Wolverhampton has welcomed the news that one of its honorary graduates has been elected as the next President of India.

Mr Pranab Mukherjee will take oath as the 13th President of India tomorrow (Wednesday, 25 July 2012).

Mr Mukherjee received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a ceremony in New Delhi in May 2011.

The ceremony was attended by the University’s Chancellor, the Rt Hon Lord Swraj Paul of Marylebone.

Lord Swraj Paul said: “The University is delighted that one of our distinguished honorary graduates, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, has been elected as the next President of India.

“The University has strong links to India, and we awarded the honorary degree in recognition of Mr Mukherjee’s outstanding service to Indian society and contribution to international affairs.

“This is a great victory for a person who has had a very distinguished career in politics, having taken charge of most of the portfolios in Government and is well respected internationally. We wish him success.”

Mr Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister of India and Leader of Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, when he received the Honorary Degree from the University of Wolverhampton.

Possessing both a Masters degree in History and Political Science, and an LLB, Mr Mukherjee began his early career as a teacher before moving into journalism.

His parliamentary career began as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament in 1969. He became Deputy Leader of the Indian National Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha in 1978, and Leader in 1980-1985. Having served the Union Council of Ministers in various capacities, Mr Mukherjee rose through a series of cabinet positions in the Ministries for Finance; Commerce; and External Affairs during 1980-1996. He was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission in 1991, a position he held until 1996.

Mr Mukherjee was awarded the Best Parliamentarian Award for 1997, and for his contribution in the field of Public Affairs, the Government of India conferred on him the 2nd highest civilian award ‘Padma Vibhushan’ in 2008.

Throughout his political career, Mr Mukherjee has played a key role in policy formulation and implementation for the Party and the Government. He was Defence Minister in the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government from 2004-2006, becoming External Affairs Minister from 2006-2009. He held office as the Finance Minister in the UPA Government, and the Leader of Lok Sabha (Lower House), until June 2012.

The University of Wolverhampton will award honorary degrees to other distinguished figures who have made a significant contribution to their field in September.

ENDS

Picture: Mr Pranab Mukherjee (right) receives his honorary degree from Lord Swraj Paul, Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton (left), in May 2011.

For media inquiries please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736.

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