Peter Tom CBE, chairman of Leicester Tigers and executive chairman of Breedon Group plc, has received an honorary degree from the University of Leicester in recognition of his contribution to business and sport in Leicestershire.
A lock forward in his playing days, Tom made 130 first-team appearances for Tigers in the 1960s as well as representing Leicestershire and the Midland Counties. He has been chairman of the board at the club for more than 20 years.
He received an honorary Doctor of Laws award from Lord Grocott, the university's chancellor, at a ceremony on Thursday and said: "Leicestershire is one of the economic powerhouses of the UK, with some of the country's most energetic and flourishing businesses and an outstanding commercial infrastructure. It has also produced some of Britain's greatest competitive sportspeople.
"I have been proud to be part of this fantastic community and it has been my privilege to lead not only two of its most successful companies, but also one of its greatest sporting teams.
"On behalf of all the exceptional people I have worked with – and played with – over the years, I am delighted and honoured to accept this honour."
Born in Cornwall, Peter moved to Leicester in 1956 to work for Bardon Hill Quarries Ltd. He moved through the ranks at the Bardon Group, becoming managing director in 1977 and chief executive in 1985. In recognition of his outstanding work in sport and in business, he was awarded the CBE in 2006.
Together with colleague Simon Vivian, he acquired Breedon Holdings Limited. The Breedon Group, as it is known today, is now the largest independent construction materials company in the UK. It operates the country's largest cement plant and two cement import terminals, has 60 quarries, 26 asphalt plants, 200 ready-mixed concrete and mortar facilities, and three concrete block plants, with a 2,300-strong workforce across the country.
In the professional era, Tigers have won eight English league titles, three Anglo-Welsh Cups and reached the pinnacle of club competition in the northern hemisphere as two-time European Cup champions and three-time finalists.
The University of Leicester is bestowing honorary degrees upon five public figures of local, national and international renown at its graduation ceremonies this week at De Montfort Hall in front of an audience of graduating students and their families.
As well as Peter Tom, awards are being made to television presenter Maggie Philbin OBE; writer and novelist Nina Stibbe; Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority and a former deputy governor of the Bank of England; and outreach worker Patrick Harris, whose work with homeless charity The Bridge stands as an exemplar of its good work.