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Oxford announces honorary degrees for 2015

Six eminent figures from the fields of engineering, medicine, history, literature and music will be awarded honorary degrees from Oxford University this summer, subject to approval from Congregation.

The degrees will be awarded at Encaenia, the University's annual honorary degree ceremony, on 24th June 2015.

The honorands are as follows:

Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

Professor Sir Richard Evans is Regius Professor of History emeritus and President of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. He is best known for his work on the modern history of Germany. His Third Reich Trilogy has been hailed as the definitive account of the rise and fall of Hitler's regime. He is also Deputy Chair of the Spoliation Advisory Panel, which advises the UK government over cultural property which was lost during the Nazi era and is now held in national collections. He is Provost of Gresham College in the City of London; a Fellow of the British Academy and Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.

Dame Hilary Mantel is a novelist, the author of fourteen books, including A Place of Greater Safety and Beyond Black. In an unprecedented achievement, her two most recent novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, which deal with the career of the 16th century courtier Thomas Cromwell, have both been awarded the Man Booker Prize. The Thomas Cromwell novels have been adapted for the theatre by the RSC and for television by the BBC. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and recipient of the Bodley Medal.

Professor Ruth Simmons was the President of Brown University from 2001 to 2012, and continues there as Professor of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies. She was formerly the President of Smith College, the largest women's college in the United States, where she inaugurated the first engineering programme at a US women's college. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, winner of the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, and Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour.

Doctor of Science, honoris causa

Professor Dame Ann Dowling is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Her research into combustion, acoustics and vibrations aims to develop vehicles and devices with a minimum of carbon emissions and noise. She is one of the founders of the Energy Efficient Cities initiative, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering and of the French Academy of Sciences.

Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, OM, is Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. He established the largest heart and lung transplantation programme in the world, and pioneered new operations for a number of complex heart conditions. He is founder and president of the Chain of Hope charity, which treats children with cardiac conditions in war-torn and developing countries. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Royal Society.

Doctor of Music, honoris causa

Jessye Norman is an operatic soprano and recitalist who has performed around the world, including for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, to mark the opening of the 1996 Olympic Games, and in 2002 at the opening of the memorial on the site of the former World Trade Center. She founded the Jessye Norman School of the Arts and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a winner of the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and member of the French Legion of Honour.

Professor Wallace Broecker will also be awarded an honorary degree. Professor Broecker was due to receive the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, last year, but was unable to attend the ceremony. Professor Broecker researches the ocean's role in climate change. He was a pioneer in radiocarbon and uranium-series dating, which are quintessential tools for mapping the Earth's past climate fluctuations.