10/08/2012 09:34 BST

Pele And Olympic Rower Katherine Grainger Receive Honorary Degrees From Edinburgh University

Footballing legend Pele and Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger are the latest sporting stars to be awarded an honorary degree.

The pair were honoured by Edinburgh University at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on Thursday, a week after Grainger's success on the water at the London 2012 Games.

Pele's degree celebrated his "significant contribution to humanitarian and environmental causes", as well as his sporting achievements.

The footballer helped the Brazil football team win the World Cup three times, as well as being named FIFA's joint player of the centrury and the International Olympic Committee's athlete of the century. Since his retirement from the sport, he has been Brazil's Extraordinary Minister for Sport and a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment.

Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, the Russell Group university's principal, said: "I am delighted to make this award to one of the foremost sporting figures of our ages, who is the epitome of sporting brilliance. He has also devote time and energy to countless charitable causes throughout the world, and we honour him for his outstanding contribution."

The event was held to celebrate the achievement of the university's alumni - which include Grainger, Sir Chris Hoy and swimmer Michael Jamieson.