Fred, a local historian, writes for The Sentinel’s Personally Speaking column.
The retired police officer has also served as a local councillor and school governor.
He told The Sentinel: “I was astonished when I found out about the honorary degree. It is very pleasing to have the acknowledgement and recognition by your peers.”
A campaigner for young people, Fred has also worked to preserve the heritage of the area.
He added: “For me, history has been about learning things for yourself and then passing that on to others. I found I had a knack for doing this.
“It’s about knowing who we are, where we came from and the beauty and importance of local history.”
Other honorary degrees will be awarded to two journalists – BBC news presenter Clive Myrie and Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer for The Guardian.