Alessia Russo receives honorary doctorate

Saturday 04 February 2023 09:26

Manchester United Women forward Alessia Russo received an honorary doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University in a special ceremony last week.

Alessia, who grew up local to the university in Maidstone, was the recipient of the prestigious award in recognition of her sporting achievements and role in raising awareness for women's sport in the UK and around the world.

The United forward was notably part of the England Lionesses’ historic success on home soil at the 2022 European Championships last summer, scoring four times, including an iconic backheel in the semi-final against Sweden that has since been nominated for the esteemed FIFA Puskas Award.

Russo is paving the way for fellow women and girls to get involved in football, sport and beyond.
We're so proud of you, Alessia! Video

We're so proud of you, Alessia!

United Women star Russo recently attended the historic Canterbury Cathedral to receive an honorary doctorate...

Speaking at the ceremony, the 23-year-old told club media: “It feels amazing. [It's] probably something I never thought would happen, so I'm really honoured to be here. 

“Excited as well, I’ve got to give a speech which will be tough but that’s part of it! I’m really excited to be here at a place that means a lot to me.

“Canterbury was a place I used to come for lots of different sporting events, they have a great set-up here at the university, I used to run, I used to play football, I used to do all sorts. So, to come back and receive such a prestigious award is really special.”
Delivering her speech to the university’s students inside the Canterbury Cathedral, Alessia said: “Although I am still young and still finding my feet in my career, I want to encourage you all to leave a legacy in whichever career you may choose. 

“In football, we say leave the shirt better than you once found it. I wear number 23 for Manchester United and wore it during the Euros. It is a number that is special to me as one of my sporting idols, Michael Jordan, wore it throughout his profound career.

“One of my favourite quotes from him is as follows… “You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them”.

“I think this epitomises how I feel about success, it always starts with you. You must have enough courage to back yourself, even if the odds are against you.”

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, commented: “We are delighted to honour Alessia with this award in recognition and celebration of her achievements, hard work and commitment to being an outstanding role model to young girls and women.

“Everybody was so elated last year when the Lionesses won the Euro Championships. Their teamwork, dedication and commitment to their dreams, values and beliefs is a great example to all of us, and we welcome Alessia to our university community.”

A huge congratulations, Alessia – we are so proud of you and everything you are achieving.

Image via @canterburyccuni on Instagram.