Date of release: Friday, July 25, 2014

WSteve Backley OBE with Vice-Chancellor Professor David Maguireorld athletics champion Steve Backley OBE encouraged University of Greenwich students to reach for the stars during his talk at a graduation ceremony on Thursday (24 July).

Steve, who is Britain’s most successful javelin thrower, and a world record-breaker on three occasions, shared his tips for success with those receiving degrees and other awards from the Faculty of Engineering & Science.

In a ceremony at Rochester Cathedral, he told the university’s latest graduates that ‘finding a passion’ in life was the key to fulfilment. “Find something that gets you out of bed in the morning, and then have the belief in yourself that you can achieve what you want to,” he said. “Have clarity about where you want to go next, and go and deliver your maximum in your chosen field.”

He congratulated the graduates on completing their studies, but told them they would be responsible for writing the next chapters in their lives. “Continue to challenge, push boundaries and give yourselves new opportunities. Work hard and above all enjoy the journey that you’re on,” he added.

Steve was made an Honorary Doctor of Science (HonDSc) during Thursday’s ceremony. His honorary award recognised the achievements and prowess of a local-born talent who has proved an inspiration to many.

Born in Sidcup and attending BETHS Grammar School for Boys in Bexley, he went on to win four gold medals at the European Championships, three Commonwealth Games gold medals, and two silvers and a bronze at the Olympic Games. He was a firm fixture in the British athletics team for more than 15 years.

During the awards ceremonies, a series of special prizes were awarded to those graduating from the Faculty of Engineering & Science for outstanding achievements and academic performances.

Professor David Maguire, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, told the ceremony: “Graduands, celebrate what you are today. Celebrate the fact that the sacrifices you made, and the late nights in the library, were worth it. Celebrate the commitment you made to achieve your degree. Celebrate the belief in yourself that has made it possible. And celebrate your family and friends who helped you reach this point in your journey.”

To find out more about studying engineering or science subjects at Greenwich:, call 020 8331 9000, or email

Story by Public Relations