University announces honorary degrees for 2016

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On 25 February, Oxford University announced the names of ten prominent figures to whom it will award honorary degrees this summer. Pending approval by Congregation, the degrees will be awarded at the university’s annual Encaenia ceremony this summer in the ninth week of Trinity Term.

The honorary degrees will be awarded to eminent figures within eight separate disciplines, comprising the fields of theology, law, economics, architecture, film, science, engineering, and music. Three Doctor of Letters and three Doctor of Science degrees will be bestowed, along with two Doctor of Music degrees, one Doctor of Civil Law degree, and one Doctor of Divinity degree.

Among the Doctor of Letters honorands are Professor Paul Krugman, an economist, author, and columnist, and Professor Kazuyo Sejima, an architect and principal of the award-winning architectural firm SANAA.

Krugman is a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his work on international trade theory. He also writes the New York Times column ‘The Conscience of a Liberal’.

Sejima is a co-winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, a Project Professor at Keio University in Tokyo, and a Visiting Professor at Japan’s Women’s University. He is also a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The final recipient of an honorary Doctor of Letters degree is Mr Pedro Almodóvar, a director and screenwriter. Mr Almodóvar is a winner of the Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, and is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1988, he achieved international recognition for the film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and has since won numerous awards for other films, including Talk to HerAll About My Mother, and Volver.

Oxford’s three honorary Doctor of Science degrees this year will be awarded to Dr Cornelia Bargmann, a neurobiologist; Professor Mildred Dresselhaus, a physicist and Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc.

Dr Bargmann is the Torsten N Wiesel Professor at Rockefeller University in New York. She is winner of the Benjamin Franklin Medal and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her neurobiological research deals with the behavior of nematodes.

Professor Dresselhaus is Professor Emerita of Physics and Electrical Engineering at MIT in addition to her post as Institute Professor. She is a recipient of the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.

Sir Jonathan Ive leads Apple’s design team and is the mind behind the design, interface, and packaging of Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook series. He is also Royal Designer for Industry and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

One honorary Doctor of Music degree will be granted to Mr Arvo Pärt, a composer renowned for his characteristic tintinnabuli style. He has been awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, and is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The second degree will go to Ms Jessye Norman, an operatic soprano and recitalist whose performances include the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, the opening of the 1996 Olympic Games, and the 2002 opening of the memorial on the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City.

The two final honorary degrees, Doctor of Divinity and Doctor of Civil Law, will be granted respectively to Monsignor Professor Tomáš Halík, a priest, philosopher, and theologian, and the Right Hon the Lord Mance, PC, a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and High Steward of Oxford University.

Monsignor Professor Halík is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Charles University, Prague, and is a winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities. He is an international advocate for inter-religious dialogue.

Lord Mance is an Honorary Fellow of University College and Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College. A University College alumnus, he has served on the Supreme Court since 2009.

Image: Oxford University