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The University of Southampton

Coldplay drummer meets students and receives honorary degree

Published: 23 January 2023
Crowd of students and guests posing
Will and Dan Mar-Molinero take selfies with Music students in the Turner Sims

The drummer in one of the world’s most famous bands was presented with his honorary degree after meeting students from the Music department at the University of Southampton.  
Coldplay’s Will Champion chatted to an audience of Music students and staff about what influences the band’s music, creative processes, and enduring success. Following the talk, he then received in person his degree as Doctor of Music from the University.


Two men shaking hands and awarding certificate
Will receiving his honorary degree from Philip Greenish

Receiving the honour, Will said: “I’m extremely grateful to receive an honorary doctorate. 
“It was a lovely ceremony and a lovely opportunity to speak to music students.” 
Coldplay formed in the mid-90s, achieving global fame in 2000 with their debut album Parachutes. Since then, they have won countless awards, including 7 Grammys, and sold 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling music acts. 

Audience watching Will's conversation with Dan Mar-Molinero on stage
Will Champion speaks to Music students in the Turner Sims

Will spoke to students for an hour in the Turner Sims, concert venue, sharing his thoughts and answering questions on topics such as composing, studio recording, live performance and managing stardom.  
He told students: “It’s nice to be able to see the next generation of Southampton-based musicians.” 
Will has a strong connection with Southampton – he grew up in the city and attended Portswood Primary and Cantell School. His parents also worked at the University as academics for many years. When he was 14, he did work experience at the Nuffield Theatre, working in the box office and backstage.

Will smiling while listening to students in the aisle
Will chatting to students after the talk in the Turner Sims

After the event, second-year Music student, Hannah Harvey, said: “It's amazing how someone at that level of fame is so humble and that you don't change with the fame.”  
Dan Mar-Molinero, Lecturer in Music and Head of Jazz, Pop and Musical Theatre said: “Music at Southampton is always looking to connect students with the real world; what better way than a bona fide pop superstar to help with this?!
“Will was incredible and all our students were inspired by his thoughtful and humble words.” 
In 2017, Coldplay generously donated to the University of Southampton’s campaign for the Centre for Cancer Immunology.

Will and Dan standing in front of students sat in the auditorium, smiling to camera
Will Champion with Dan Mar-Molinero and Music students and staff in the Turner Sims
Will smiling at Dan as they're sat on stage
Will Champion discusses his music career with Dan
Will and Dan chatting on stage with students watching on
Will discussed songwriting, touring and his connection to the University
Close-up of students watching on and one asking Will a question
Music students were able to ask questions to Will about his career
Will sitting with a student in the auditorium and chatting
Will spent time after the talk, chatting to students
Roger saying his speech to the audience on stage and looking at Will as he watches on
Professor Roger Ingham making a speech before Will receives his honorary degree
Will and Philip shaking hands with the degree and smiling at the camera
Will receiving his honorary degree from Chair of Council at the University, Philip Greenish
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