Encaenia and Honorary degrees 2016 | University of Oxford
Encaenia 2016 Honorands
From left to right: Mr Arvo Pärt, Sir Jonathan Ive, Professor Kazuyo Sejima, The Right Hon the Lord Mance, Professor Cornelia Bargmann, Monsignor Professor Tomáš Halík, Professor Paul Krugman, Professor Mildred Dresselhaus and Mr Pedro Almodóvar
Credit: John Cairns

Encaenia and Honorary degrees 2016

Nine honorary degrees were conferred by the Chancellor of the University, Lord Patten of Barnes, at Encaenia on 22 June 2016.

The Honorands were:

Mr Pedro Almodóvar

Director and screenwriter

Born in a rural Spanish village, Pedro Almodóvar was sent to a religious boarding school by parents who hoped he would enter the priesthood. At the age of 17, however, he moved to Madrid to attend the National School of Cinema. Franco closed down the institution so Almodóvar purchased a Super-8 camera and began to teach himself film-making, supporting himself with a variety of jobs. He developed an interest in experimental film and theatre and in the early 1970s collaborated with the theatre group Los Goliardos. After Franco’s death in 1975, Almodóvar became a leading voice in La Movida Madrileña, the cultural renaissance which followed the end of the Franco regime. He has written and directed some 20 feature films, each exploring nuanced facets of family, identify, sexuality, and gender, often defined by strong central female characters. His first feature-length film, Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pepi, Luci, Bom) was released in 1980. He rose to international prominence with Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988), which was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA. His other films include ¡Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! 1990), La Flor de Mi Secreto (The Flower of My Secret, 1995), Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother,1999), Hable Con Ella (Talk to Her, 2002), Volver (2006), and La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In, 2011). His new film, Julieta, is released in the UK in August. His many awards are too numerous to list but include two Oscars, five BAFTAs, six European Film Awards, two Golden Globes, six Goya Awards, two awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts, and the Jean Renoir Award for International Screenwriting Achievement. He is a Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Cornelia Bargmann

Neurobiologist

Cornelia Bargmann studied biochemistry at the University of Georgia before reading for a doctorate in cancer biology at MIT. As a graduate student she was involved in one of the key advances in understanding how cancers are formed, but switched fields to work in neurobiology, looking at the newly mapped nervous system of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. In 1991 she moved to the University of California where, as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and then Professor, she studied C. elegans’ sense of smell. She found that nematodes have a very sophisticated sense of smell, establishing its neuronal and molecular basis. She demonstrated the first known link between an odorant – diacetyl, the familiar scent of melted butter – and its receptor, and, by studying mutant worms that can detect odours but cannot tell them apart, she discovered a gene responsible for odour discrimination and determined how worms can recognise and distinguish among thousands of odours in their environment. In 2003 her lab discovered a ‘matchmaker’ signalling molecule, SYG-1, which directs nerve cells to form connections with each other as they develop. In 2004 she was appointed Torsten N Wiesel Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behaviour at the Rockefeller University, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is also one of the main architects of the US BRAIN Initiative, a technology-driven project aimed at mapping the human brain in action. She and her research group continue to develop and apply tools for studying neural circuits and behaviour in living organisms, such as advanced light microscopy, microfluidics, optogenetics and chemical genetics. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, her awards include the Richard Lounsbery Award (2009), the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience (2012), the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013) and the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2015).

Professor Mildred Dresselhaus

Physicist and electrical engineer

Mildred Dresselhaus studied at New York’s Hunter College, the University of Cambridge and Harvard University. Her doctorate at the University of Chicago focused on superconductors. After postdoctoral work at Cornell University she moved to MIT, gaining tenure in the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1968. Appointed Professor of Physics in 1983, she became MIT’s first female Institute Professor – the highest honour awarded by the institution’s faculty and administration – two years later. At MIT she switched from research on superconductivity to magneto-optics, carrying out a series of experiments which led to a fundamental understanding of the electronic structure of semi-metals, especially graphite. She also demonstrated the symmetry of single-wall nanotubes and how to calculate their electronic structure. Her recent work on the semiconductive properties of carbon nanotubes opens new possibilities in nanotechnology, and other recent research holds exciting promise for energy-related applications. A leading public advocate for women in engineering and science, her 1975 article, ‘Some Personal Views on Engineering Education for Women’, remains a valuable account of the challenges facing women in a male-dominated field. Professor Dresselhaus has herself mentored many young women in the US and internationally. She has served as director of the Office of Science at the US Department of Energy, chair of the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, President of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences. Her many honours include the National Medal of Science (1990), the Enrico Fermi Award (2012), the Kavli Prize (2012) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014) for “deepening our understanding of condensed matter systems and the atomic properties of carbon — which has contributed to major advances in electronics and materials research.” In 2015 she became the first woman to receive the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal of Honor for leadership and contributions across many fields of science and engineering’.

Monsignor Professor Tomáš Halík

Priest and author

Tomáš Halík was born in Prague and studied sociology and philosophy at Charles University in that city, graduating with a doctorate in 1972. During the communist era he endured persecution as ‘an enemy of the state’ and was banned from university teaching, working instead as a psychotherapist with drug addicts. He studied theology clandestinely, was ordained in secret in 1978 and worked in the underground Church. He co-operated closely with Cardinal Tomášek, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia from 1977 to 1991, and with Václav Havel, who was to become the first President of the Czech Republic. After the fall of communism, Halík became one of Havel’s advisors. He completed his postgraduate studies at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University and at the Pontifical Theological Faculty in Wrocław. From 1990 to 1993 he served as General Secretary to the Czech Conference of Bishops and taught at Charles University. In 1990, Pope John Paul II appointed him advisor to the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers and in 2008 Pope Benedict XVI granted him the title of Monsignor - Honorary Prelate of His Holiness. Monsignor Halík continues to take an active part in public life, opposing racial, national, religious and political intolerance. He is currently professor of sociology of religion at Charles University, Pastor of the Academic Parish in Prague, and President of the Czech Christian Academy.  He has lectured at universities and international conferences around the world, including at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. His numerous honours include the Cardinal König Prize (2003), the Romano Guardini Prize (2010), the European Society for Catholic Theology’s Prize for the best European theological book (2010), and the Templeton Prize (2014). In 2010 the Polish Council of Christians and Jews named him ‘Man of Reconciliation’, a title bestowed on individuals from outside Poland who have made a significant contribution to Christian-Jewish reconciliation. His books have been published in 16 languages. He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and Vice-President of the International Council of Research in Values and Philosophy.

Sir Jonathan Ive

Designer

Sir Jonathan Ive read industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic, now Northumbria University, where he twice won the Royal Society of Arts’ prestigious Student Design Award. Shortly after graduating in 1989, he co-founded London-based design consultancy Tangerine. Three years later he joined Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, where company founder Steve Jobs subsequently referred to him as ‘his creative partner’. In 1996 Sir Jonathan was appointed Senior Vice-President and Head of Design at Apple. Named Chief Design Officer in 2015, he leads the team credited with introducing elegance, purity and beauty to the design of personal computers. Designer of the iMac, PowerBook, iBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, AppleWatch and MacBook, he and his team have created products that have transformed the industry and, through their design, have helped make technology more approachable. His work has earned him numerous plaudits, including honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design and Northumbria University. Six of his products appear in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). In 2012, he received San Francisco MoMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2013 he was awarded a gold Blue Peter Badge. His others accolades include an Inaugural Medal (1999) and Benjamin Franklin Medal (2004) of the Royal Society of Arts, the Design Museum London’s first Designer of the Year award (2003), the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) President’s Award and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s President’s Medal (both 2005), and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s Product Design Award (2007). In 2012, D&AD named Sir Jonathan’s team at Apple the Best Design Studio of the past 50 years. An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2006. He was knighted in 2012 for services to design and enterprise.

Professor Paul Krugman

Economist, author and columnist

Paul Krugman studied economics at Yale University before reading for a doctorate focusing on flexible exchange rates at MIT. He joined the MIT faculty in 1979. In the early 1980s he spent a year as senior international economist to President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, re-joining MIT as full professor in 1984. He has also taught at the London School of Economics, Yale and Stanford. In 2000 he was appointed Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Following his retirement from Princeton in 2015 he became Distinguished Professor of Economics and Distinguished Scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the City University of New York. Professor Krugman is the author or editor of more than 25 books and more than 200 journal articles; his 2008 work, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 was a New York Times bestseller. In 2008 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contributions to trade theory and his application of spatial modelling to international trade, finance, and the clustering of industrial activity. His many other honours include the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, the Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences, and honorary degrees from a number of universities. Professor Krugman is well-known for his work as a commentator and writer for a general audience and is a columnist for The New York Times. He has also written for Fortune, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Newsweek and Slate and has appeared on a number of broadcast outlets. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the Group of Thirty. He has served as a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, as well as to a number of national governments.

The Right Hon the Lord Mance, PC

Justice of the Supreme Court and High Steward of the University

Lord Mance read law at University College, Oxford, of which he is now an Honorary Fellow. He worked in a Hamburg law firm before being called to the Bar in 1965. Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1982, he sat as a Recorder from 1990. He was appointed a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division in 1993, a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1999 and a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 2005. When in 2009 the Supreme Court replaced the House of Lords as the United Kingdom’s highest Appellate Court, he became a Justice of the Supreme Court. Lord Mance has made significant contributions to legal scholarship, both through his judgments and his lectures, many of which have been published as journal articles. He has made a particular contribution to comparative law, encouraging its use in the Supreme Court as an aid in relation to novel or particularly difficult issues of law. He represented the UK on and was the first chair of the Council of Europe’s Consultative Council of European Judges. From 2007 to 2009 he sat on the House of Lords European Union Select Committee, chairing its sub-committee responsible for European Law and Institutions and contributing to its report on the Lisbon Treaty. He currently chairs the International Law Association as well as the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law and Hampstead Counselling Service. He is also a member of the panel set up under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to give an opinion on candidates’ suitability to serve as Judges and Advocates General at the European Court of Justice. He has worked on enforcing laws and protecting human rights in the Great Lakes region of Africa. In 2008 he led an international delegation reporting on the problems of impunity in relation to violence against women in the Congo. He was appointed High Steward of the University in 2012.

Mr Arvo Pärt

Composer

Arvo Pärt was born in Paide, Estonia. He studied composition at the Tallinn Conservatoire, graduating in 1963. Despite its relative isolation in the Soviet bloc, Estonian composers at that time were beginning to experiment with new methods and Pärt was at the forefront. His first orchestral piece Nekrolog (1960) was the first Estonian composition to employ serial technique. Pärt also experimented with techniques such as collage, including Collage über B-A-C-H (1964). Official judgement of his music varied: certain works were praised while others, such as his most dramatic collage piece Credo (1968), were banned. After Credo, Pärt entered a period of creative silence during which he studied Gregorian chant and early polyphony. In 1976 he re-emerged with a new musical language which he called tintinnabuli, from the Latin for little bells. Tintinnabuli music can be defined as a distinct technique, which unites two lines of structure – melody and triad – into one inseparable ensemble. It creates an original duality of voices, the course and inner logic of which are defined by strict, even complicated, mathematical formulas. Tintinnabuli first appeared in a short piano piece Für Alina (1976). A subsequent rush of new works included Fratres, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and Tabula rasa (1977) which remain among his most highly regarded. In 1980 Pärt was urged by the authorities to leave Estonia and he and his family settled first in Vienna and then West Berlin. His subsequent works include Passio, Te Deum, Miserere, Lamentate, Symphonie No. 4, Adam’s Lament and numerous choral works, all of which have been performed worldwide. His many awards include honorary membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Classical Brit Awards (2003, 2011), the Léonie Sonning Music Prize (2008) and the Premium Imperiale (2014). He is a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture and holds honorary doctorates from several universities. In 2010 he returned to live in Estonia. That year his family established the Arvo Pärt Centre in Laulasmaa, which holds his personal archive.

Professor Kazuyo Sejima

Architect

Kazuyo Sejima read for a master’s degree in architecture at the Japan Women’s University. On graduation she joined the practice of leading architect Toyo Ito before opening her own studio in 1987. Five years later she was named Young Architect of the Year by the Japan Institute of Architects. In 1995 she founded the SANAA studio with Ryue Nishizawa. Significant projects by SANAA in Japan include the O-Museum, the Christian Dior Building, the N-museum, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, which won the Golden Lion at the Ninth International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2004. In North America, her buildings include the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art and New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art, while in Europe she has been responsible for the Rolex Learning Center at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and the Louvre-Lens in northern France. In the UK, SANAA designed the Serpentine Gallery’s temporary pavilion in 2009. In 2010 Professor Sejima became the first female director of Venice’s Architecture Biennale and in the same year she was awarded, with Nishizawa, architecture’s highest accolade, the Pritzker. She has recently been commissioned to design a new Japanese express train which, with its highly-polished reflective surfaces and curved edges, is designed to blend into the surrounding landscape. A Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), her many other honours include the Rolf Schock Prize in Visual Arts (2005), the Japan Architecture Award (2006) and the Kunstpreis Berlin (2007). She is currently a Visiting Professor at Japan Women’s University and teaches at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the Polytechnic University of Milan. She has also held the Jean Labatut Professorship at Princeton’s School of Architecture and has taught at the Polytechnique de Lausanne and at Tama Art University.