1 february 2010

Oxford announces honorary degrees for 2010

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Eight honorary degrees will be awarded this year

Eight leading figures from the worlds of science, the arts, law and business 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 23 June 2010.

Degree of Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa:

Justice Stephen Breyer, LLB Harvard, BA Oxf, AB Stanford, administrative lawyer and academic, has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1994. A former Professor at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, his publications include Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution; Breaking the Vicious Circle: toward effective risk regulation and Regulation and its Reform. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) as a Marshall Scholar.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, BA Camb, MBA Columbia, Hon FRS, was Minister for Science and Innovation at Department of Trade and Industry from July 1998 until November 2006, where his responsibilities included the Office of Science and Technology, innovation, space, and the bioscience and chemical industries. Among his achievements in post were an increase in the funding of basic science; a major boost for knowledge transfer through the establishment of the University Challenge, Science Enterprise Centre and Higher Education Innovation schemes; and a new emphasis on research and development across government, including the introduction of Science and Innovation strategies and Chief Scientific Advisers in all major government departments. He is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College.

Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa:

Dame Eileen Atkins, DBE, is one of the UK’s leading actors. She is known both for her widely-acclaimed work in the theatre and, more recently, for roles on the small screen, including that of Miss Deborah Jenkyns in the BBC costume drama Cranford, for which she won a Bafta and an Emmy in 2008. Her many honours include two Evening Standard Best Actress awards, two Olivier Awards, and a Critics’ Circle Award. She is also a writer, and was the co-creator of the popular television series Upstairs, Downstairs and House of Eliot. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2001.

Professor Geoffrey Hill, MA Camb, MA Oxf, FRSL, FAAAS, is considered to be one of the most important poets writing in English today. He has had a distinguished academic career in teaching and as a critic, and is University Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Literature and Religion at Boston University, Massachusetts, and former Professor of English Literature at the University of Leeds. His work is the subject of study in its own right, and has been the subject of numerous doctoral dissertations. Professor Hill’s awards include the Hawthornden Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Award for Poetry and the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. He is an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, where he read English.

Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, BA Liv, DPhil Oxf, FBA, FRHS, is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Sheffield and is widely regarded as the world’s leading authority on Nazi Germany. His publications include Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria, 1933-1945; The ‘Hitler Myth’: Image and Reality in the Third Reich; and The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, his classic study of the historiography of the Third Reich. His two volume biography of Hitler, Hubris and Nemesis, redefined the study of the dictator and became an international best-seller. He is an Honorary Fellow of Merton College, where he read for his doctorate in history.

Lord Weidenfeld of Chelsea, publisher, co-founded the publishing firm Weidenfeld & Nicholson, of which he is Chairman, in 1948. He is a campaigner for open dialogue across Europe, both through the Europaeum, an association of ten leading European university institutions, including Oxford, and the independent think-tank, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, of which he is President. In 2007 the Institute and the University of Oxford launched the Weidenfeld Scholarships, which each year support around 25 postgraduate students primarily from Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Lord Weidenfeld is the recipient of numerous European honours and was awarded a peerage in 1976. He is an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's College and of St Peter's College.

Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa:

Professor Brigitte (Ita) Askonas, BSc, MSc McGill, PhD Camb, FRS, is a Canadian immunologist celebrated for her work on our understanding of the molecular basis of lymphocyte-mediated immune responses to proteins and to infectious agents. She worked at the National Institute for Medical Research from 1952 to 1989, latterly as Head of the Division of Immunology, and continues, in her retirement, to advise scientists at all levels, particularly young researchers, and to take an interest in the development of immunology research in the UK. She has had a profoundly positive influence on immunology at Oxford, in particular, and actively supports the work of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.

Professor Roald Hoffmann, BA Columbia College, MA PhD Harvard, FAAAS, FAPS, FNAS, is Frank H T Rhodes Professor Emeritus of Humane Letters at Cornell University. His research, with Robert B Woodward, on symmetry rules for chemical reactions, led to the development of the ‘Woodward Hoffmann Rules’, which are accepted as the underpinning theoretical basis of an enormous body of knowledge dealing with organic reaction mechanisms and the structure of molecules. In 1981 he was awarded, jointly with Kenichi Fukui, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and his achievements have also been recognised by the award of the National Medal of Science, the National Academy of Sciences Award in the Chemical Sciences, and the Joseph Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society. He is also a writer, poet and broadcaster.