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Ford executive Steven Armstrong receives an honorary doctorate from UEL

UEL graduation ceremony

Mr Armstrong read business studies as an undergraduate at UEL

The University of East London (UEL) has awarded Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president of Ford Motor Company for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), an Honorary Doctorate of Business.

The recognition was celebrated at a graduation ceremony on 22 November at ExCeL London, where students from the University’s College of Arts, Technology and Innovation and College of Applied Health and Communities received degrees. 

Mr Armstrong, who earned his own undergraduate degree in BA (Hons) Business Studies from UEL, was awarded an honorary doctorate for his outstanding career achievements in the automotive industry. 

Mr Armstrong said, “I have a bit of a confession to make. Although I received my degree in business studies from UEL – longer ago than I’d care to admit – I never actually made it to my original graduation, as I was already in the US for a job. So perhaps you could call this one of the most belated graduation speeches UEL has ever had.”

Prior to his current role, Mr Armstrong was vice-president and chief operating officer for Ford of Europe. Before that, he was president of Ford South America, responsible for all of Ford’s South American operations.

During a career that has spanned more than 25 years, Mr Armstrong has worked in a variety of senior management and purchasing positions for Jaguar, Volvo and Ford of Europe, including serving as chief operating officer of Getrag-Ford Transmissions. His career has taken him to the United States, Sweden and Germany.

Mr Armstrong told UEL’s graduating students, “This is not the end of your education. What you learn and how you learn it will of course change, but you must remember to be curious, ask questions, and be open to everything. 

“You have to find how you are going to make sure that you get where you want, and figure out what you need to do to get there. Nobody is going to come along and do that for you! They’re going to give you the tools and the capabilities to get on, but you have to grab it and make it happen.”

Mr Armstrong is pictured above, centre, with UEL Chancellor, Mr Shabir Randeree (left); UEL Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Geoff Thompson (second from right); and UEL Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Amanda Broderick (right).