Honorary graduands

The University has conferred honorary degrees to seven distinguished individuals in recognition of the achievements they have made in their respective fields. An honorary doctorate is the highest accolade the University can bestow. 

This is just tremendous to receive this honour from the place that has had such a big impact on my career

Kip Thorne

The Chancellor, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, presided over a special congregation at the Senate House which was attended by around 400 staff, students, alumni and invited guests. The honorary graduands this year were:

Professor Dame Carol Black (Doctor of Medical Science) – From 2012-2019 Dame Carol was Principal of Newnham College and is now an Honorary Fellow of both Newnham and Lucy Cavendish Colleges. A clinician and medical scientist, Carol is a rheumatologist and renowned authority on the condition scleroderma. She was President of the Royal College of Physicians and has advised the UK Government on areas of public health policy.

Professor Stephen Stahl (Doctor of Medical Science) – A psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist, Stephen is Clinical Professor of Health Sciences at the University of California Riverside, US. He is a former Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall and Honorary Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry.

Professor Adele Diamond (Doctor of Science) – A world leading neuroscientist, Adele is Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Colombia, Canada. Her work has led to improvements in treatments for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Professor Dame Carol Robinson (Doctor of Science)– Carol is Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and founding director of the Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery. Formerly President of the Royal Society of Chemistry she is an alumna and an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College.

Professor Kip Thorne (Doctor of Science) – Kip is Richard P Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), US. In 2017 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is also a winner of the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics and a celebrated author.

Professor The Hon Michael Ignatieff (Doctor of Letters) – A historian, writer and broadcaster, Michael is also a former politician having led the Liberal Party in his native Canada from 2008 to 2011. A member of the Canadian Privy Council and the Order of Canada he has won the Heinemann, Orwell and Dan David Prizes.

Murray Perahia (Doctor of Music) – Murray is a world-renowned pianist whose interpretations of Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin and Schubert have gained great acclaim. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields and the winner of three Grammy Awards. He was appointed an Honorary KBE in 2004 and is an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College.

Kip Thorne summed up the day:

"Early in my career the 3 places which were the most important to me in terms of the colleagues I had were Cambridge, Moscow and the place I came from, Princeton. Cambridge, being home to good friends like Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees, was a special place...for me this is just tremendous to receive this honour from the place that has had such a big impact on my career."

And Dame Carol Black said:

"It almost feels unreal...I'm just so pleased and humbled by it. Nothing better could have happened to me. I'm not a Cambridge or Oxford graduate so I never thought this would happen. This is such a wonderful day and it's been lovely to see some of the people I knew when I was here as Head of House."



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