BROADCASTER Alastair Stewart praised the University of Sunderland after being awarded an honorary doctorate of arts.
The ITV News presenter said was “thrilled” with the award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to news broadcasting and his charity work.
He was handed the accolade at the final day of the university’s graduation ceremonies, which welcomed 3,218 students from 68 countries.
Mr Stewart said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to bits.
“A very good friend of mine, Graeme Thompson, is the dean of arts, design and media.
“Sunderland University does an absolutely brilliant job in training young men and women that want to go into media and design and that I have been asked to share in the graduation day for them is a fantastic honour.
“It is a question of producing the right sort of people who have been taught by people like Graeme.
“They were on the coal face, rather than people who have spent a life training as academics thinking about what the media should be doing.”
A passionate fan of the Rolling Stones, who are celebrating 50 years in the music business, he revealed he might consider a return visit if they were to headline the Stadium of Light.
“They are the greatest rock and roll band in the world.
“It would not surprise me (if they did play Sunderland), because they love that sort of setting.
“It would tick two boxes, because I could swagger around in my gown and watch Mick Jagger swagger around in his gown.”
Alastair Stewart is probably best known as presenter of ITV News at Ten.
He was the first British TV reporter to broadcast live from the liberated Kuwait City during the first Gulf War and is one of the few people who has presented all of ITN’s main news programmes.
Vice President of both Action for Children and Homestart, he is also a patron of the Lord Mayor Treloar College for disabled students, the charity Scope and the mental health charity Sane.