University of Oxford

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Oxford University Gazette, 28 May 2009: Notices


THE PUBLIC ORATOR made the following speech in a Congregation held on Saturday, 23 May, in presenting for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters


Quinque abhinc menses praeses novus Civitatum Foederatarum Americanarum, cum ante Capitolium iusiurandum dedisset, manum in volumen bibliorum sacrorum posuit quod e typis Oxoniensibus expressum erat. Multa enim per saecula libri nonnulli e prelo nostro editi inter alias gentes sunt evagati; at nostra aetate haec mercatura fere in immensum aucta est. Exempli causa, Indiae septingentiens centena milia librorum Oxoniensium quotannis venduntur. Quare de hominibus doctis et huius universitatis et aliarum ut Psalmista dicere licet, 'In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum, et in fines orbis terrae verbum eorum.' Laeto igitur animo feminam produco quae inter eos qui has res tam bene gesserunt eximium locum tenuit. Societas typographorum nostra in aliquot partes divisa est, quarum ea duce illa ad exteras gentes pertinens ita crevit ut omnium facta sit fere maxima. Haec quam profero cum lucrum amplissimum huic universitati attulit, tum numquam propositum nostrum doctrinae atque scientiae propagandae neglexit; ea auctore, non solum volumina in hac urbe facta ad alias gentes evehuntur sed in ipsa Asia Africa America et Septentrionali et Australi denique 'omnibus in terris quae sunt a Gadibus usque Auroram et Gangen' libri vocabulo Oxoniae signati exprimuntur. Cunctorum consensu haec quam laudo in negotiis prudentiam, erga conlegas benignitatem, in peregrinatione fere perpetua vigorem indefessum praebuit. Apud Homerum legimus Achillem a patre iussum esse semper praestare et alios exsuperare; quod consilium haec ipsa sibi paravit.

Praesento bibliopolam excellentem, magnam universitatis nostrae amicam atque fautricem, Susannam Reece, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Femina sagax et strenua, cuius labor prelo nostro tantopere profuit, ego auctoritate mea et totius universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris honoris causa.


Five months ago when Barack Obama swore the oath in front of the Capitol at his inauguration as President of the United States of America, his hand lay upon a bible printed here in Oxford. For many centuries, indeed, the products of our press have been disseminated in distant countries; but this is a trade which in our own time has multiplied immeasurably. To give one example: seventeen million Oxford books are sold annually in India. Accordingly, one may well say of the scholars of this and other universities, in the language of the Psalmist, 'Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the earth.' It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I present a lady who has occupied a notable position among those who have made our publishing business such a success. Oxford University Press is organised by divisions; under her leadership the International Division has so greatly expanded that it is now one of the two largest. While she has thus brought the university great profits, she has never lost sight of our purpose, the propagation of learning and knowledge; and it owes much to her efforts that not only are works published in this city exported across the world but books bearing the Oxford name are produced locally in Asia, Africa, North and South America, indeed, as Juvenal puts it, 'In every land from Spain to Ganges and the farthest East'. All agree that she has shown sterling sense in the conduct of business, strong support for her colleagues, and inexhaustible energy in a punishing schedule of travel. Homer tells us that Achilles was bidden by his father always to excel and to do better than others; she has needed no counsellor but herself to take that advice.

I present a masterly publisher, a great friend and support to this University, Susan Reece, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Shrewd and vigorous lady, whose labours have so greatly benefited our press, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

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