David Lascelles, the eighth Earl of Harewood and the co-founder of the Geraldine Connor Foundation, is set to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University.

A film and television producer, David, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts at 5pm on Thursday 23 July, for his contribution to Arts. He is first cousin once removed of the Queen and great grandson of King George V.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, David commented: “It’s a great honour – and quite a surprise – to be given this honorary degree. I’m a passionate believer in the importance of the arts in all of our lives and I like to think this award is a recognition of that.”

Harewood House, built in the 18th Century, is owned by David and Diane Lascelles, Earl and Countess of Harewood, and sits at the heart of Yorkshire. Run as an educational charitable trust, which David chairs, it hosts exhibitions of contemporary art, an award-winning educational department, a renowned Bird Garden and more than 100 acres of gardens for visitors to explore and enjoy.

The Harewood Estate manages the countryside surrounding Harewood House and has a nationally-recognised conservation programme with particular emphasis on the restoration of historic buildings as well as the protection and development of wildlife habitats and the maintenance of listed parkland. In the winter of 2014 it commissioned a major green energy project to provide heating across the Estate, including to Harewood House itself.

Born in London in 1950, David was educated at Westminster School and Bristol University. By profession, he is a film producer, initially of documentaries then of television and cinema drama including Inspector Morse (a BAFTA winner in 2001 while under his stewardship), Moll Flanders, The Wisdom of Crocodiles (with Jude Law), and Shakespeare’s Richard IIIstarring Ian McKellen.

In 2007, David produced Geraldine Connor’s Carnival Messiah, (Handel’s Messiah performed Caribbean Carnival style), at Harewood as part of the commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire. Following Geraldine’s death, he helped set up the Geraldine Connor Foundation, which advances the development and education of individuals in arts and culture. The Foundation helps to develop professional and life skills, encouraging and nurturing new work and talent, and promoting equality, diversity, empowerment and inclusion in society through arts.

In 2012, Leeds Beckett University supported the Foundation’s Summer School as an educational partner, creating a series of employability experiences for students. A formal partnership between the University and the Foundation is being developed, which would include live project work, work experience, placements, paid internships and graduate roles for students from a range of disciplines, from Built Environment and Engineering, History, Youth and Community Work, Events Management, Hospitality and Business Management.

David has contributed his passion and experience to several cultural boards in Yorkshire, including: Welcome to Yorkshire (2009-2014), Alchemy (2010-) and the Yorkshire Film Archive (1995-2010). In 2014 he chaired the Steering Group for the Yorkshire Festival, 100 days of cultural events in the lead up to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.

Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: “David’s contribution to the arts is substantial and he is dedicated to sharing his passion with others. We are delighted to recognise David’s contribution with this Honorary Doctorate and are very much looking forward to welcoming him to our Headingley Campus to celebrate with us as we honour the achievements of our graduating students.”

The full list of honorary degrees to be awarded by Leeds Beckett University is:

Monday 20 July, 2pm – Bryony Simpson, Hon Doctorate of the University
Monday 20 July, 2pm – John Walsh, Hon Doctorate of the University
Monday 20 July, 5pm – Ros Moore, Hon Doctorate of the University

Tuesday 21 July, 2pm – Dirk Mischendahl, Hon Doctorate of Business Administration
Tuesday 21 July, 5pm – Alan Baker, Hon Doctorate of Laws

Wednesday 22 July, 11am – Emily Scarratt, Hon Doctorate of Sport Science
Wednesday 22 July, 2pm – Martin Dalby, Hon Doctorate of Business Administration
Wednesday 22 July, 5pm – Sir Gary Verity, Hon Doctorate of Business Administration

Thursday 23 July, 2pm – Sundra Rajoo, Hon Doctorate of Laws
Thursday 23 July, 5pm – David Lascelles, Hon Doctorate of Arts

Friday 24 July, 11am – Sir Tim Rice, Hon Doctorate of Arts
Friday 24 July, 2pm – George Clarke, Hon Doctorate of Arts