Published Tuesday, 10 July 2012
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He wasn't singing to thousands of adoring fans this time - but receiving an honorary doctorate in front of a more modest crowd at the Millennium Forum in Derry.
The singer-songwriter described receiving the award for services to music from the University of Ulster's Magee campus as one of the biggest honours of his life.
"I'm completely blown away by it. I don't know how I would rank it in terms of hits but thinking about it yeah, it's great, it's up there.
"I've not been more proud of anything - maybe my Ivor Novella - so it's as high up in my esteem as I can think. I won't be changing my business cards or anything like that - I don't have any business cards."
Appropriately for the man who has penned multi-million selling hits, he's a Doctor of Literature.
Dr Lightbody wrote the song 'Just say Yes' which has become the official anthem for the Derry-Londonderry 2013 City of Culture bid and his role in securing that was also recognised on Tuesday.
That's not his only connection - his parents also hail from the city.
"My mum and my dad are both from Derry and I spend my Christmases with my gran in Fountain Street and I spend holidays here so it's even more special for them and I'm really delighted."
Professor Deirdre Heenan said: "Gary is a musical icon, his music is adored by millions."
She said the university was "thrilled" that he accepted their offer of an honorary degree.
Although the band have no plans at present to play during the City of Culture year, they say they haven't ruled it out.