2020 applicants

Honorary Degree for Olympic gold gymnast Max Whitlock

  • Date

    Thu 18 Jul 19

Max Whitlock

Great Britain’s most successful gymnast Max Whitlock MBE today thanked the University of Essex for the ”massive honour” in awarding him an Honorary Degree.

Max, who holds 19 major medals and is a double Olympic, World and Triple European Champion, received his degree during the graduation ceremony for more than 400 students from the University’s School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences and University of Essex Online.

After the ceremony Max thanked the University for acknowledging his achievements.

“It was an honour to be in there at the ceremony today to share with the graduates their special day as they received their degrees,” he said. “They have worked very hard to receive their degrees and, for me, to be in there and see so many emotional parents, the atmosphere was just amazing.”

Max, who came to the graduation ceremony with his wife Leah and baby daughter Willow, advised all the graduates to set targets if they wanted to be successful in life.

“If you don’t set targets, time can just go and before you know it, you look back and think what have I done? So set targets, be ambitious and go for it.”


Max became a double Olympic champion on pommel and floor at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, as well as claiming the all-around bronze.

His many other successes include being a four-time Commonwealth champion and holding an impressive ten Commonwealth Games medals. Driven by his passion for gymnastics, Max has set-up a network of regional Max Whitlock Gymnastics centres that provide quality, fun classes for children across the country, including one based at the University of Essex. In 2017 Max was awarded an MBE for services to gymnastics.

This year’s University of Essex Graduation will see 5,386 students from 140 countries receive their degrees. The week-long celebration is the highlight of the University’s calendar.