Honorary doctors of the Faculty of Philosophy 2019

The Faculty of Philosophy will confer honorary doctorates on distinguished persons from culture and society from around the world, representing the different disciplines of the Faculty.

The Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki includes the Faculties of Arts, Science, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Educational Sciences, and Pharmacy.

The main events of the Conferment Ceremony are spread over three days, starting from Thursday the 23rd and lasting until Saturday the 25th of May. However, the first steps of the Conferment Ceremony are taken already with the Flower’s Day celebration on the 13th of May when all promovendi gather together for the first time.

The joint honorary doctorates from the Faculty of Philosophy will be conferred on Bruce Dickinson, lead singer with Iron Maiden, one of the most internationally successful rock bands of all time, (He will accept the honorary doctorate in absentia), as well as on a Finnish nature journalist and painter Minna Pyykkö who has in her diverse radio programmes disseminated biological knowledge among Finns in an exceptionally accessible and interesting form.

Honorary doctorates in the Arts will be conferred on Peter Auer, professor of Germanic philology at the University of Freiburg, an exceptionally versatile linguist, among the most distinguished in the world, focused on multilingualism; and Mieke Bal, who has combined approaches from different disciplines in a creative manner, transforming the study of images and narratives.

Honorary doctorates in Pharmacy will be conferred on Rudolf Bauer, professor at the University of Graz, Austria who has studied the chemical analysis of natural compounds, as well as their pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics.

Honorary doctorates in Educational Sciences will be conferred on Benő Csapó, professor of education at the University of Szeged. A system for measuring learning outcomes developed by Csapó’s group is the most extensive and versatile of its kind in the world. These digital assessment tools are also used in extensive monitoring studies at the University of Helsinki.

Honorary doctorates in science will be conferred on Nobelist, honorary alumnus of the University of Helsinki, professor Bengt Holmström, his research can be considered a prime example of econometrics, or the application of mathematical models to economic matters and has particularly focused on the analysis of incentives and moral hazard with asymmetric information. Honorary doctorates in science will be conferred on Professor Emeritus Anders Lindroth from Lund University, an exceptionally versatile and multidisciplinary scholar of micrometeorology and biogeochemical cycles.

Honorary doctorates in the biological and environmental sciences will be conferred on Vaclav Smil, worked in Canada since 1972, interdisciplinary scientist, exploring new ground in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, technical innovation, food production and nutrition, risk assessment, and public policy.  He has received the OPEC Award for Research in recognition of his independent writings on energy.

Con­fer­ment his­tory

Conferment ceremonies have been organised in Finland since 1643, when the first conferment ceremony of the Faculty of Philosophy was held at the Royal Academy of Turku. The tradition has continued in Finnish universities unbroken to this very day. Traditionally, honorary doctorates are granted in conjunction with the conferment of degrees, as the highest recognition the University can offer. Through the honorary doctorates, faculties wish to recognise professors and significant social and cultural figures with exceptional merits in their field on an international scale. The honorary doctors have made significant contributions in their fields towards national and international development, and have often been involved in long-term cooperation with the University of Helsinki. In the past, the University of Helsinki has conferred honorary doctorates on presidents Urho Kekkonen, Mauno Koivisto, Martti Ahtisaari and Tarja Halonen as well as several significant Finnish artists, including Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Jean Sibelius and Soile Isokoski.

Of all Finnish academic festivities, the conferment ceremony of the Faculty of Philosophy has the longest tradition.

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More Information:

Event Producer, Elina Lähdeniemi, elina.lahdeniemi@helsinki.fi, +358 50 5560 922