Published Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Sir Ian McKellen will receive an honourary degree from the University of Ulster. (© Getty)
The 74-year-old will be made a Doctor of Letters for services to acting.
The announcement has been made as he returns to the silver screen as Gandalf in the forthcoming Lord of the Rings prequel.
He will be the sixth distinguished speaker to deliver the annual Chancellor's Lecture, following in the footsteps of Taoiseach Enda Kenny who delivered the lecture last year.
The award will be conferred at a VIP ceremony at the Derry campus by the University's Chancellor, Dr James Nesbitt who co-stars with Sir Ian in Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit'.
The world premiere takes place in New Zealand this week before it opens in the UK on 12 December.
University pro-vice chancellor Professor Deidre Heenan said: "The university is delighted to recognise an actor of Sir Ian's standing with an honorary doctorate and that he has also agreed to deliver next year's Chancellor's lecture."
Sir Ian's work has spanned genres from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction and he has many television, film and stage appearances to his credit.
He is possibly best known for roles including Gandalf and his part in X Men.
He also played Richard III for the National Theatre and made a surprise appearance as a con artist in ITV's Coronation Street.
Prof Heenan added: "It is also wonderful for Derry-Londonderry as the 2013 City of Culture that this event is also coming for the first time to Magee and it will no doubt be a highlight for the city and for the university."