He joined around 1,000 postgraduate students from more than 100 countries receiving their degrees from Cranfield University on 29 June, on the second of two days of celebrations.

Stein is responsible for ensuring Rolls-Royce’s investment in technology is closely aligned with the company’s business strategy.

He said: “Cranfield is a world-class university with unique capabilities and people. I have always greatly admired its quality of work in aerospace engineering and its pedigree of academics. For these reasons, I feel proud to be awarded this honorary degree and feel that it is a symbol of the history that connects Rolls-Royce and Cranfield University.”

Professor Iain Gray, Cranfield University’s director of aerospace, added: “I am delighted that Paul is receiving an honorary degree. Throughout his career, he has encouraged investment in technology, research and top-tier talent – three areas that we also champion here at Cranfield. Rolls-Royce and Cranfield have always had a special relationship, and this award is yet more evidence of our commitment to continuing to work together in pursuit of innovation in aerospace.”

Other honorary graduates receiving degrees from Cranfield were:

  • Tony Fernandes; group chief executive officer at AirAsia; for outstanding contribution to business
  • Martyn Bromiley; founder of the Clinical Human Factor Group; for outstanding contribution to safety within the airline industry.

On 28 June, honorary degrees were awarded to:

  • Sarah Willingham; entrepreneur, investor and consumer expert; for outstanding contribution to business and entrepreneurship
  • Indra Nooyi; chief executive of PepsiCo; for outstanding contribution to business.

Meanwhile, Christian Horner, team principal of Formula 1 team Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, was awarded an honorary degree for outstanding contribution to motorsport at a separate ceremony earlier this month.