Paralympic campaigner receives honorary degree
Dr Price started his career as a physical education teacher for children with severe physical disabilities, before moving on to become head of delegation to the Great Britain team in five consecutive Summer Paralympic Games.
His subsequent roles as Chairman of the British Paralympic Association, President of the European Paralympic Committee and more recently, President of the International Federation for sport for athletes with an intellectual disability (Inas), have seen unprecedented achievements in disability sport.
Dr Price has campaigned throughout his four-decade career for the equal promotion of disability groups within Paralympics. However, when intellectually-disabled athletes were excluded from future Paralympic competition in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Dr Price was encouraged to intervene directly, by accepting the Inas presidency and working with the International Paralympic Committee to find a solution in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Speaking about receiving his honorary degree, Dr Bob Price said: “Receiving an honorary degree from any institution is a cause for gratitude and receiving one from Leeds Beckett University has a special and added significance because it was on this campus that I first began as an undergraduate more than 50 years ago. There is a real sense of circularity associated with the fact that 50-odd years later the same institution has asked me back to a graduation ceremony.”
In 1993 he was awarded an OBE for services to sport and the disabled, and gained membership of the Paralympic Order in 2006.
Offering advice to this year’s graduates, Dr Price said: “What I would suggest to all of today’s young graduates is that they seize whatever opportunity comes before them. You never really know what’s around the corner in your career; but, unfortunately, I’ve come across too many people who, too late in life, think back to opportunities that they could’ve taken but didn’t. I would say to anybody graduating today, at the other end of their career: whatever opportunity comes along, grasp it eagerly, work at it, work with it and, almost certainly, it will lead you somewhere else every bit as exciting. Don’t let them go by!”
Dr Price was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Sport Science on Friday 28 July, for his global services to disability sport.
Leeds Beckett University Chancellor, Sir Bob Murray CBE, said: “Dr Price’s achievements in disability sport have had significant global impact; something we aspire to for all of our students here at Leeds Beckett University.
“His success leaves a lasting legacy for all athletes with an intellectual disability across the world, and shows our students just what can be achieved with the grounding of a degree from our University and the ‘can do’ attitude of a truly inspirational campaigner. He has worked tirelessly for the inclusion of Paralympic athletes, and we are extremely proud to call him an alumnus of the University and now an Honorary Doctorate.”