Celebrated novelist, graphic novelist and screenwriter Neil Gaiman has been made an honorary DLitt by the University of St Andrews.
And at the graduation ceremony this week he urged new graduates to change the world through the power of daydreams and imagination.
He said: “Things change because people imagine and the act of imagining whatever it is you are imagining is where world’s changing begins.
“As you go out into the world I want you to remember to daydream and get bored because these days plugged into the world it is so much harder to be bored. You can always pull out your phone and be interesting.
“So get bored, daydream, imagine, follow weird chains of thought into odd places because it is following those strange thoughts into odd places that takes us to where we are now.
“And that will in the end change the world and keep changing it.”
Listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, Mr Gaiman is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. He has won over 30 literary awards and has sold more than 10 million copies of his books worldwide.
His work includes The Sandman comic series, American Gods and Coraline. He has written two episodes of Dr Who, one of which won the Hugo Award.
In his Laureation Address Dr Chris Jones said Mr Gaiman: “enjoys writing across a range of media without regard for whether they are supposed to be ‘high-brow’ or ‘low-brow’ forms; he is a writer who loves how stories will not stay still, contained in just one place, but escape everywhere into our culture where they set about performing their necessary, subversive work.”
Also receiving honorary degrees this week were Professor Herman Van Rompuy, Emeritus President of the European Council and Minister of State for Belgium; and from academia Professor Rita Colwell, University of Maryland; Professor Jean Beggs, University of Edinburgh; Professor John Dudley, University of Franche-Comté; Professor Emma Rothschild, Harvard University: Professor Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, University of Cambridge and Professor Peter Sarnak Princeton University.
And former University Bedellus John Jardine, who retired last summer after almost 30 years at the university, is to be awarded the University Medal. The medal recognises outstanding service to the university.