Honorary Graduate Joseph Clarke MBE
In recognition of his inspirational self-determination to achieve his personal ambitions as an Olympian, Joe Clarke, MBE has been awarded Master of the University at Keele University. Following his Olympic success in 2016, Joe has brought great distinction to his sport and the local area, and has been a role model for others.
Speaking at his graduation ceremony, Joe said:
“It’s amazing to be here - being local to Staffordshire makes it even sweeter. It’s a really nice feeling to be here and to be recognised for my achievements.
"Being a role model to people in the local area is one of the best things - I’m so proud to be from Staffordshire. Hopefully it helps people to realise that they can follow their dreams, and if they do work hard, then they can become a reality.”
Joe is the 2016 Olympic champion in the men's slalom K-1, and has won medals in team events at World and European Championships. He won gold at the Olympics in the final with a time of 88.53 seconds, the first time a British competitor had won gold in this event.
Joe’s cousin, James Clarke, also graduated from Keele University during the same ceremony - with a First Class Honours in Philosophy - with all of the family there to witness the cousins receiving their degrees.
After his graduation ceremony, Joe spent some time answering questions with students and members of the Keele community. Asked what advice he would give to students graduating this week, Joe said:
“There aren’t any shortcuts for hard work. Dealing with setbacks and working hard can lead to success. The path going forwards can be quite unknown, you may not be sure what’s coming, and you may not be thinking about the future too much - but it will come around very quickly, so start to plan, start to work on your end goal, and take steps towards getting there bit by bit.”