Image description: Line of members of the university in scholars gowns including the recipients of the honorary degrees in the Bodleian quad
Hillary Clinton is amongst seven other notable women to receive honorary degrees from Oxford in this year’s Encaenia ceremony which took place this morning at the Sheldonian Theatre.
Secretary Clinton is being honoured with an honorary DPhil in Civil Law for her five decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, activist, and volunteer, as well as her positions as First Lady of the United States, First Lady of Arkansas, the 67th United States Secretary of State, and as a presidential candidate. Clinton is being recognised for her championing of human rights, democracy, and opportunities for women and girls. This comes as an addition to her honorary fellowship at Mansfield.
Other recipients include Professor Linda Colley CBE; an award-winning historian. Whose seven books span British, imperial and global history since 1700, and have been translated into 15 languages. A Fellow of the British Academy, she has delivered the Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge University, and the Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University Belfast, amongst others. Professor Colley is a winner of the Wolfson Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and other awards, and has received her CBE for services to history.
Professor Dame Sally Davies was installed as 40th Master of Trinity College, Cambridge in 2019, following a distinguished global career as a clinical academic and public servant. She has provided scientific leadership on both the local and global stage, including roles with the WHO, the UN and the UK government. Her long-lasting influence also includes establishing both the National Institute of Health and Genomics England Ltd, and her career is being recognised with an honorary DPhil of Science.
Professor Anna Deavere Smith is being honoured for her work as a renowned actress, playwright, teacher, and author. Her ground-breaking work pioneering the style of ‘verbatim theatre’ – looking at current events through interpreting and performing the text of interviews – earned her a place as finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and nominations for Tony Awards. She has won two Drama Desk Awards, a MacArthur Award and a National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Obama.
Baroness Ruth Lister CBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University. Her work in fighting poverty and inequality as an academic, a peer and in the charity sector is being honoured in today’s ceremony. She has published influential social texts, served on several prestigious commissions, such as the National Equality Panel, and spent 16 years at the Child Poverty Action Group, of which she is still Honorary President. Baroness Lister has been a Labour peer since 2011, continuing to use her position as a leading social scientist to address human rights, social justice and citizenship.
Jeanette Winterson CBE is a British writer. Her work includes novels, short stories, essays, and books for children. She is published in 19 countries and has won numerous awards. Her first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1985), won The Whitbread Prize for best first novel, and later, a BAFTA for Best Drama for her BBC adaptation. Her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (2012) is an international bestseller, widely used in schools to promote tolerance and diversity. Winterson read English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford and is now Professor of New Writing at the University of Manchester.
The Encaenia ceremony also includes student prizes awarded in 2020 (which were delayed due to the pandemic) and those awarded in 2021. They include the presentation of the Gilbert Ryle Prize for outstanding achievement in BPhil, presented to Maya Krishnan of All Souls College; The Shell Prize for best overall performance in Earth Sciences, awarded to Noam Vogt-Vincent, St Anne’s College, and the Gibbs Prize, presented to Aamir Kaderbhai from Mansfield College, amongst others.
Image credit: Poppy Atkinson Gibson