Informal, intellectual and accessible. These were the words used by Ranvir Singh to describe Edge Hill University as she accepted an Honorary Doctorate on Saturday 5 December.
Lancashire-born Ranvir, who currently wakes up the nation on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, is no stranger to the Edge Hill campus. She was aware of the University from working on North West Tonight, but says she had no idea of the quality and scope of the facilities until she was given a tour of the campus before Saturday’s graduation ceremony.
“I’d visited Edge Hill before but I’d never fully realised the exemplary nature of what’s on offer here,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like the media centre, Creative Edge – there are working TV stations which don’t have that level of equipment.
“Everything is slick and professional, and the learning environment is so similar to real working life, it’s no surprise to me that the University has such an outstanding graduate employment record.”
Award-winning journalist and broadcaster Ranvir Singh joined BBC Radio Lancashire in 2002, but her first big break came with BBC Radio Manchester where she fronted the flagship show at breakfast during the Commonwealth Games. She moved to the BBC regional news programme North West Tonight as a journalist and bulletin presenter in 2005, and by 2007 was co-presenting the programme.
Ranvir’s national breakthrough came when she joined ITV’s Daybreak as co-presenter and newscaster in 2012. As well as presenting on ITV’s Evening News and News at Ten, Ranvir has also hosted her own primetime current affairs series for ITV, Real Stories with Ranvir Singh.
A natural in front of the camera, Ranvir was awarded ‘Best On Screen Talent’ at the Royal Television Society’s North West Awards In 2010, and was voted Asian Media Personality of the Year in 2015.
Addressing Edge Hill’s new graduates, Ranvir said passion, perseverance and not being afraid of failure were key to success in any career.
She said: “The road to success not always smooth, but it’s only when things get tough that you know you’re on the right path. When you get overlooked for promotion or miss out on a job, it is heart-breaking but you come back with more fire, more determination. You don’t have to try and motivate yourself to keep going because you love it. Being passionate will sustain you when things get tough.”
She also warned against being “dazzled by the glamour of television” and advised budding media professionals to be realistic about the industry.
“If you go into it thinking you’re going to work sociable hours, have a social life or immediately get a good salary, you’re not going to be successful. My advice is to dig deep, try not to complain too much, fix the wrongs where you can and work hard.”
Speaking about receiving her Honorary Doctorate, Ranvir said:
“It was genuinely surprising and humbling to be recognised in this way. Graduation is a lovely moment in people’s lives, and to be part of it is something to treasure.
“I was thrilled to meet the Chancellor, Professor Tanya Byron, who is a real heroine of mine and such a good fit for the university. To me, Edge Hill is informal, intellectual and accessible and she is all of those things too. Being given an honorary degree I feel like, ‘maybe they think I’m like that too?’ and that’s a real honour.”
The day was made extra special for Ranvir as the ceremony’s organist turned out to be her old primary school teacher, Mr Hills.
“It was so lovely to see him again after all these years,” she said, “and it made the day feel even more like a homecoming for me.
“I plan to be a proud ambassador for Edge Hill University and I’m looking forward to coming back regularly to share my passion and experience with the next generation of media professionals.”