What made it special for the actress is that she shared the stage with E. Sreedharan, the 'Metro Man' who was also honoured along with her Thursday.
"Now that's an achiever! What have I done? Mr. Sreedharan has revolutionised connectivity and travel. That is what I'd call a real mover and shaker. I'd say my contribution to the society is relatively negligible. But I was only too happy to be standing there on the same platform as Mr. Sreedharan," said Hema, 63.
Both were given an honorary doctorate in philosophy.
"They were very nice. It feels good to be honoured along with someone so distinguished. I think we people of the entertainment industry are now being taken more seriously. We are not considered no-brainers any more," she said.