Actor Colin Firth was among further education's alumni honoured in this year's Association of Colleges Gold Awards.
Firth, who shot to fame with his portrayal of Mr Darcy in the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, studied at Barton Peveril College, Hampshire. He was reunited with his former English and drama teacher Penny Edwards during the awards at the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Ms Edwards, who retires this summer as head of the college's arts faculty, said: "He was very sociable and a lot of the girls liked him. But underneath the laddish exterior was quite a shrewd character who knew exactly what he wanted to do."
Other Gold Award winners included businesswoman and BBC Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden and Spencer Dale, the Bank of England's executive director and chief economist.