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Honorary degree for designer of ArcelorMittal Orbit Olympic Tower, Cecil Balmond
IT is Britain’s answer to the Eiffel Tower that will greet hundreds of thousands of people as they flock to the Olympic Park for the world’s greatest sporting event.
Standing 376ft tall, costing £22.7m and with a 455 step spiral staircase, the ArcelorMittal Orbit Olympic Tower, pictured, has become the tallest sculpture in the UK.
Now its co-designer, Cecil Balmond will be recognised for his influential design by the University of Southampton which has awarded him with a honorary degree.
He will join more than 4,000 students from the university who will graduate over the next week, starting today. He will receive his honour next Wednesday.
Four other leading figures from the fields of business , engineering, literature and science will also receive honorary degrees.
Mr Balmond designed the 25-storey sculpture with Anish Kapoor after it was decided that the Olympic site in Stratford needed “something extra” to distinguish the East London skyline”.
The helter-skelter shaped sculpture took 18 months to build and 60 per cent of its 2,000 tonnes of steel came from recycled sources.
Others receiving honorary degrees include Professor David Phillips, president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Hampshire-born author and Jane Austen expert Deidre Le Faye, Sir George Buckley, the recently retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of 3M Company and Lord Plant of Highfield , who has a long association with the university.
The university will also be awarding fellowships to Mark Hackett, chief executive of Southampton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Patrick Holligan, Emeritus Professor in Biological Oceanography at the university.