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Durham MCC University graduate Andrew Strauss has been awarded an honorary Doctorate in civil law in a special ceremony at Lord’s.
In his first public appearance since winning the Ashes in Australia, Strauss received his accolade from Durham University in the Long Room at Lord's.
The ceremony was also attended by Durham head coach Graeme Fowler who formed the first MCCU at Durham in 1996 during Strauss’ time at the University.
Speaking prior to the ceremony, Strauss praised the impact of MCCUs on the standard of cricket at the six universities in the scheme.
"Grassroots cricket at MCC Universities is critical to identifying and nurturing talent." said the 34-year-old, who graduated with a 2:1 in Economics in 1998.
"The standard of coaching and personal development at the MCC Universities is at the heart of embedding strong team-working and leadership skills in the culture of our national game.
"It is important that MCC continues to support the scheme."
Fowler kick-started the MCCU system when he pioneered a Centre of Excellence at Durham in the mid 1990s.
The scheme was supported by other organisations before MCC took over leadership of the six centres in 2005.
Fowler expressed his gratitude towards the Club for their impact on the scheme, as well as reflecting on his most famous graduate’s time at Durham.
"The scheme has been supported by various strands of ECB over the years since we started." said Fowler, who played 21 Tests and 26 One Day Internationals for England.
"But the difference with MCC is that it really cares about the scheme and the results it gets.
"They’ve put in a lot of effort to improve things and have invested a lot in making the scheme because we know that it works.
"Andrew was a very talented lad - very cool and unflustered - and we just needed to kick-start him to realise his full potential.
"The scheme at Durham helped Andrew to think and to grow as a player, but no one could have imagined just how much he’d go on to achieve."
Around one in five English-qualified players in the county cricket system attended an MCCU.
Strauss’ fellow internationals James Foster, Jamie Dalrymple and Monty Panesar - as well as women’s internationals Holly Colvin, Nicky Shaw and Caroline Atkins - attended an MCCU.
As well as advancing students’ cricketing prospects on the field with top quality coaching in world class facilities, the scheme assists their personal development off the field.
In addition to earning a top qualification, MCCU students gain vital leadership skills and graduate as rounded characters, helping them succeed - whether they fulfill their cricketing dreams or not.