Seven honorary degrees were conferred by the Chancellor of the University, Lord Patten of Barnes, at Encaenia on 20 June 2018.
The Honorands were:
Professor Mary Beard
Mary Beard was born in Shropshire and studied Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she went on to complete her PhD. In 1984 she became a Fellow of Newnham and - at that time – the only female lecturer in the Faculty of Classics. She became a Professor of Classics at Cambridge in 2004. Since 1992 she has been the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement.
Her research focuses on Roman cultural history, and she is particularly well known for her work on Roman religion, and, more recently, on humour and laughter in Ancient Rome. In addition, her publications span a wide range of topics, from scholarly articles to popular history. She has written on subjects as diverse as classical art, women in power, and academic life. Her most recent works are Women & Power: A Manifesto (2017) and Civilisations: How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith (2018),
Alongside her scholarship, she has done significant work in journalism, helping to improve public understanding and enjoyment of the Classics, through her writing, public lectures, and appearances in the media. She has presented a variety of television and radio programmes, including Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town (2010), Meet the Romans with Mary Beard (2012), and Julius Caesar Revealed (2018). She is one of the most recognisable academics in contemporary public life, and plays an active role in debate on social media, through her blogs and columns, and on programmes such as Question Time.
She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the British Academy. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2013 for services to classical scholarship, and was awarded the Bodley Medal in 2016. She has also been Visiting Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Sir Matthew Bourne
Sir Matthew Bourne was born in London. He began his training in dance comparatively late in life, at 22, studying Dance Theatre at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance. After graduating, he co-founded the dance company Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP), becoming sole artistic director in 1991. He danced professionally for fourteen years, giving his last performance in 1999.
He created many award-winning works for AMP, including Nutcracker! (1992). Perhaps his best-known work is his production of the ballet Swan Lake, first staged in 1995, in which the traditionally female swans are played by men. Swan Lake became the longest-running ballet in the West End and on Broadway, and has been performed around the world. This was followed by Cinderella (1997) and The Car Man (2000), a bold reinterpretation of Bizet’s opera Carmen, set in an Italian-American community in the 1960s.
In 2002 he launched a new dance company, New Adventures, which is now one of the most successful dance companies in the UK. As well as reviving some of these iconic productions, New Adventures has added new productions to the repertoire, including the recent Sleeping Beauty (2012) and The Red Shoes (2016). Several productions have been broadcast as part of the BBC’s Christmas seasons, while others have been screened in cinemas worldwide.
In addition to producing ballets, Sir Matthew has also directed and choreographed musical theatre, including Mary Poppins (2004), for which he won an Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer.
Sir Matthew has been recognised by over 40 international awards, and is the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2001 for services to dance, and knighted in 2016, when he was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award.
David Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Lord Neuberger was born in London, and read for his undergraduate degree at Christ Church, Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1974, where he specialised in property law, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987.
In 1996 he was appointed a High Court Judge in the Chancery Division, where he developed a particular expertise in patent cases. In 2004 was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and member of the Privy Council. In this role he decided numerous important cases, including decisions on the admissibility of evidence obtained under torture.
In 2007, he was made a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, and in 2008, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice for England and Wales. In 2012, he succeeded Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers as President of the Supreme Court, a post which he held until 2017.
Lord Neuberger has given public lectures and speeches throughout the world, on themes such as privacy, freedom of information and uncertainty. Between 2006 and 2007, he led an investigation for the Bar Council into widening access to the Bar. He also served on the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions. Since 2010 he has been a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.
Unusually among senior judges, he read for an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, and he has retained an interest in science. He has written on the use of science in policy, and gave a lecture at the Royal Society in 2015 addressing the connections between science and the law. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017.
Mr Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese was born in New York, and studied at the film school of New York University. Over the course of a career spanning five decades, he has become one of the world’s most influential filmmakers working today. He is known for his distinctive treatment of masculinity, violence, guilt and spirituality, in settings from contemporary New York to Edo-era Japan, and genres from historical epic to comedy.
His best-known works include Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, which won an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture, Shutter Island, and Hugo, for which he received a Golden Globe for Best Director. His 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street, received DGA, BAFTA and Academy Award nominations for Best Director, as well as a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for Best Film. His latest feature, Silence, is based on the acclaimed novel by Shusaku Endo.
Scorsese has directed numerous documentaries including the Peabody Award-winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia; as well as Italianamerican, The Last Waltz, A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Public Speaking, and George Harrison: Living in the Material World, for which he received Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Nonfiction Special.
Scorsese co-directed The 50 Year Argument in 2014 with his long time documentary editor David Tedeschi. He was executive producer of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, winning an Emmy and DGA Award for directing the pilot episode.
He is currently at work on his next feature, The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, as well as The Rolling Thunder Revue, a film about Bob Dylan’s 1975 tour.
Scorsese is the founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of motion picture history.
Professor Helga Nowotny
Helga Nowotny was born in Vienna, Austria. She received a doctorate in jurisprudence at the University of Vienna before moving to New York. There she completed a PhD in sociology at Columbia University, New York. She returned to Vienna, working at the Institute for Advanced Studies and later as professor and head of the newly founded Institute for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna before becoming professor at ETH Zurich.
She is now Professor Emerita of Science and Technology Studies at ETH Zurich. Her research explores the dynamic relationship between science, society and policy, covering topics such as scientific controversies, risk and uncertainty, gender relations in science, technological and social innovation and the social experience of time.
Her 1989 book Eigenzeit (translated as Time: The Modern and Postmodern Experience) has been published in many languages. Together with Michael Gibbon and colleagues she co-authored the widely influential book The New Production of Knowledge (1994), followed by Re-Thinking Science in the Age of Uncertainty (2001). Her most recent books include An Orderly Mess (2017) and The Cunning of Uncertainty (2015).
Throughout her career, she has been actively engaged in science and innovation policy. She has chaired scientific advisory boards of many research institutions and committees at EU and various national levels. From 2001-2005 she was Chair of EURAB, the European Research Advisory Board of the European Commission.
In November 2005 she became a founding member of the European Research Council (ERC), which funds frontier research based on the principle of scientific excellence. She was elected as vice-president in 2007, and then as president from 2010-2013.
She has received many awards and honours. She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and of scientific academies in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria and the USA. She has received the Gold Medal of the Academia Europaea and the President’s Medal of the British Academy.
Professor Robert Putnam
Robert Putnam was raised in a small town in the American Midwest and studied at Swarthmore College and Balliol College, Oxford. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University. He then taught at the University of Michigan, before going to Harvard University, where he has spent the majority of his career, including several years as Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is currently the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard.
Putnam’s research interests include social capital, the bases of democratic stability, and the links among diversity, equality, and community. In particular, he has emphasized the public benefits of social interaction and civil engagement. Much of his earlier work dealt with British politics and transatlantic relations.
He has written fifteen books, translated into twenty languages. Among them, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (1995) has been particularly influential, identifying a decline in civic, social and fraternal organisations, and the social capital which they generate. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (2010), with David Campbell of Notre Dame, won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs. His latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (2015) investigates the growing class gap in the opportunities available to American young people.
He is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2006 he received the Johan Skytte Prize for his contributions to political science, and in 2013, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama for "deepening our understanding of community in America”. His advice about actionable ideas for civic renewal has been frequently sought by national and grassroots leaders on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic.
Nicholas Stern, Baron Stern of Brentford
Lord Stern studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge before completing his DPhil in economics at Nuffield College, Oxford.
He has taught at many universities around the world, including Oxford, MIT, the Ecole Polytechnique; and the Collège de France. He is now IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics, Head of the India Observatory and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
His research and publications have focused on the economics of climate change, economic development and growth, economic theory, tax reform, public policy and the role of the state and economies in transition. He has published more than 15 books and 100 articles, including, most recently, Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency, and Promise of Tackling Climate Change (MIT Press, 2015).
He was Chief Economist at both the World Bank (2000-2003) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (1994-1999). He was Head of the UK Government Economic Service (2003-2007), Second Permanent Secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury (2003-2005), and Director of Policy and Research for the Prime Minister’s Commission for Africa (2004-2005). He also produced the landmark Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (2005-2007), and chaired the Government review of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework in 2016.
He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. At Oxford, he holds honorary fellowships at St Catherine’s College and The Queen's College. He is President of the Royal Economics Society (2018-2019), and recently stepped down as President of the British Academy (2013-2017).
He was knighted for services to economics in 2004; made a cross-bench life peer as Baron Stern of Brentford in 2007; and appointed Companion of Honour for services to economics, international relations and tackling climate change in 2017.