3 march 2011

Oxford announces honorary degrees for 2011


Eight leading figures from the worlds of science, the arts, politics and the law are set to receive honorary degrees from the University of Oxford this year, subject to approval by Congregation. The degrees will be awarded at Encaenia, the University's annual honorary degree ceremony, on Wednesday 29 June 2011.

Sir George Martin is often described as the 'fifth Beatle'
Sir George Martin is one of this year's honorands.

Degree of Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa:

Justice Edwin Cameron, BA Stellenbosh, MA Oxf, LLB University of South Africa, has been a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa since 2008. The first senior South African official to state publicly that he was living with HIV/Aids, his publications include Witness to Aids, Defiant Desire – Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa and Honoré's South African Law of Trusts. A prominent human rights lawyer during apartheid, he has worked with gay activists to safeguard the rights of gays and lesbians in the new Constitution. He chaired the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1998-2008 and is an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa:

Professor Sir Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd, MA, PhD Camb, is Senior Scholar in Residence at the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge. His scholarship examining the scientists of classical antiquity has made contributions to the study of ancient culture across a wide range of areas, and his 23 publications have been translated into nine languages. He continues to work in areas specialising on issues in cognitive science that are raised by the comparative study of ancient Greek and Chinese thought. He has held visiting professorships in North America, Europe and the Far East, and was awarded the Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies by the British Academy in 2007. He is an Honorary Fellow of both King’s College and Darwin College, Cambridge.

Marilynne Summers Robinson, BA Brown, PhD Washington, is the author of Gilead, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her most recent novel, Home, a companion to Gilead, won the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction and the 2009 Orange Prize for fiction. Robinson is also the author of Housekeeping, which won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award for First Fiction and the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the Academy of American Arts and Letters, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Robinson received the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts in 1998. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa:

Professor Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, AC, BSc MSc Melbourne, PhD Camb, is  the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology at the University of California - San Francisco. Her discovery in 1978 of telomerase, an enzyme critical to the reproductive process of gene cells, enhanced the understanding of DNA on the part of molecular biologists around the world. In 2009 she was jointly awarded, with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and she has won awards including the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, the American National Academy of Science’s Molecular Biology Award, and was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most influential People in 2007. She was appointed a member of the American President's Council on Bioethics in 2001, supporting human embryonic cell research in opposition to the Bush Administration.

Professor Dame Linda Partridge, BA DPhil Oxf, is Director of the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing and Weldon Professor of Biometry. Her studies employ the fruit fly Drosphila as a model for ageing in all organisms, including human beings, which has led to discoveries about the genes and biological processes that control the ageing process. Her work on the biology and genetics of ageing and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases have been widely recognised, and in 2008 she became Founding Director of the newly formed Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing in Germany.

Professor Oliver Smithies, MA DPhil Oxf, is Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Along with Mario R. Capecchi and Sir Martin J. Evans, he developed the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA, leading to the development of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells. The innovation fundamentally changed the science of genetic medicine and laid the foundation for today’s research into gene therapy. He is also credited with the development of gel electrophoresis, a process of separating proteins to identify genes, using starch, in 1955. In 2007, with Capecchi and Evans, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, where he studied as an undergraduate.

Degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa:

Sir George Martin, Guildhall School of Music, is sometimes referred to as the “fifth Beatle,” thanks to his work producing all but one of The Beatles’ albums. A former Head of EMI’s Parlophone Records and Founder and Chairman of the Associated Independent Recording Studios, he is considered one of the great music producers with more than 700 recordings to his credit and 30 number-one hits over more than 50 years. His career as composer and producer has spanned classical music, comedy and stage acts including Ella Fitzgerald, Flanders and Swann, and Peter Sellers, and film soundtracks including the theme songs to Bond movies Goldfinger and Live and Let Die. He has won two Ivor Novello and six Grammy awards and his publications include All You Need is Ears and Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt Pepper.

Degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma:

His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano was elected the 11th President of the Italian Republic in 2006, having previously held the positions of Member of the European Parliament, Minister of the Interior and for the Coordination of Civil Protection and Chairman of the Special Committee on the Reorganisation of Broadcasting Sector. In 2005 he was appointed life senator. He has been President of the Italian Council of the European Movement since 1995, and from 1999 to 2004 he chaired the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

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