Dina Asher-Smith was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Kent as they held their first graduations since 2019.
The World Champion sprinter was made a Doctor of the University at the ceremony in Rochester Cathedral tonight.
Dina Asher-Smith tells of her delight with her honorary degree
She said: "It feels absolutely amazing to be here today and getting such a prestigious award.
"I feel like when you are doing sport, when you are running and winning titles that is at the forefront of your mind, that is what you have trained for so if you work hard, run fast, win the race and you get that, you kind of expect it.
"But when you get recognised by the wider community and your home county, it feels really special because that is something that you genuinely did not expect.
"It is something that is really heart-warming because they are saying we respect you and your achievements and would like to honour you. That is one of the most unexpected but lovely surprises of doing well in sport."
Dina, from Orpington, is the fastest British woman in history and currently holds British records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m.
The runner admitted she had not thought about her next steps with the University but said she is always looking for ways she can help and inspire the next generations.
Dina added: "Having done my own degree while trying to be at the highest level of elite sport I completely understand what each and every university student is going through.
"So in any way I can make that an easier, better and a more fruitful experience then I will be happy to help.
"I think [being a role model] is something I am genuinely still getting used to. The word role model is something that I did not really ever expected to be seen like that.
"For me I have always just been someone who loves to run, I love to race, I love to run fast and then making silly comments with my friends and then when everyone kind of sees you as a role model it is an honour but it is still something I am getting used to.
"I just really hope through my own actions, what I stand for and all the hard work that I put in, I can help inspire a generation through any sort of collaborations whether that be through universities, brands or any wider companies, that we help raise a profile of sport, the county and also just help any path that I have been on before be a bit easier or more seamless for the next generation."
Speaking of the students graduating tonight she told them to be "proud" of themselves and to remember to celebrate their achievements as they have worked so hard for them.
Dina said: "I would firstly say be proud of your achievements and have confidence in how far you have come already because I think to be able to be successful and to move forward you really have to rate and respect yourself which I think is something people do not really think about enough.
"Everybody is always going for the next thing and forget to celebrate.
"Be proud of yourself. I feel even the degrees we are celebrating today I cannot even compare them to the degree I did because you are doing them through a pandemic. You should be so proud of everything you have achieved."