John received an honorary degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology in recognition of his contribution to the field of psychology and psychological literature.
John Cleese said:
I am delighted that this honour should come from my favourite English city, and only a few miles from where I was born in Weston-Super-Mare. The University was founded just as I began my career as a writer, and its psychology department has an outstanding reputation for research and teaching.
The comedian has a well-documented history. He is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer who first achieved success as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s, he co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.
John has a strong interest in psychology and has co-authored two books on relationships: Families and How to Survive Them and Life and How to Survive it. He has worked with the Institute of Family Therapy, writing and presenting a film to help raise funds for the organisation.
His four-part BBC documentary, The Human Face, received rave reviews in America and earned an Emmy nomination. He has also spent over 20 years writing and acting in Video Arts training videos, teaching management, sales and service industry skills from a psychological point of view, receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Dr Richard Joiner, senior lecturer in the University's Department of Psychology, who gave John’s oration, said:
John’s fantastic work and his strong interest in psychology have led him to co-author two books on relationships. Books like these make accessible the psychological aspects of family behaviour and functioning, health and happiness.
I was delighted to present John with this award and look forward to supporting John in helping people better understand the connection between family psychology and healthy relationships.
John is also Provost's Visiting Professor at Cornell University, after having been Andrew D White Professor-at-Large from 1999 to 2006. He makes occasional, well-received appearances on the Cornell campus, teaching social psychology classes, writing and acting.