The ex-newsreader, who also appeared on Top Gear and with Morecambe and Wise, was awarded an honorary doctor of civil law degree at Newcastle University.
She is an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society and co-chairs the Dementia Friendly Communities Champions Group.
“For someone who never actually went to university, there’s an irony of me standing here and getting a doctorate,” she said. “But it is an enormous honour and, for me, a day of great pride. My family come from this part of the world and also being associated with Newcastle University and the work it does with their Institute of Ageing.
“I work for the Alzheimer’s Society as a volunteer and the work that they do here in highlighting the importance of recognising dementia and treating it has been absolutely ground-breaking over the years.To know I am now associated with the university through this doctorate and the work that is being done is enormously gratifying.”
Ms Rippon’s mother suffered from dementia and she says that ever since then she has tried to speak out about the condition to remove some of the fear that exists around it.