Thirty-two-year-old Shilpa was awarded an honorary bachelor in arts degree during the first day of the four-day summer graduation celebrations at the Leeds Metropolitan University. The university's vice-chancellor, Prof. Simon Lee, handed the honorary degree to Shilpa, who was dressed in the traditional graduation gown and cap.
The Leeds Metropolitan University, which is the official education partner of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), had awarded filmstar Amitabh Bachchan an honorary degree before the IIFA weekend, held in Leeds in 2007. Talking about Mangalore-born Shilpa Shetty's grace and restraint during the Celebrity Big Brother series, Prof. Simon Lee said at the ceremony: "There are some parallels between the challenges faced in any house and student life. Someone at some time will behave badly, not necessarily to you but to others or the wider community, to someone or some group who cannot defend themselves. With Shilpa Shetty you are graduating with someone who rose to that challenge with great dignity and poise, making a difference."
In her speech, Shilpa, who had attended the IIFA weekend in Leeds in June, said: "I am so overwhelmed, I am choked with emotions and I can't stop smiling.
"I have won some awards, at the cost of sounding immodest, I have never seen my mother beam so much as she is today. I can see the pride in her eyes because she's always wanted me to graduate."