Eight honorary doctorates at the Dies Academicus 2016
At the 556th Dies Academicus, the University of Basel awarded honorary doctorates to eight figures from academia and society. Those honored included, inter alia, writer Thomas Hürlimann, museum director Sam Keller and medical historian Barbara Duden.
25 November 2016
In her speech to mark the University of Basel’s 556th anniversary, president Professor Andrea Schenker-Wicki took the opportunity to reflect on current findings from interdisciplinary research into happiness and to ask which factors affect not only individual life satisfaction but also happiness at a country and regional level. She emphasized the important role that universities can play, in particular by providing young people with high quality training and by boosting regional added value through innovation and the creation of high quality employment. The university not only contributes to the happiness of an individual but also to the happiness of an entire region. She also made an appeal to policymakers: “Take care of your university, because it contributes a great deal to life satisfaction and happiness in this region.”
Two women and six men
At this year’s Dies Academicus, the faculties of the University of Basel awarded honorary doctorates to eight figures from academia and society.
The Faculty of Theology made writer Thomas Hürlimann an honorary doctor and recognized his achievement in raising awareness of the religious foundations of secularized Switzerland in the 20th century. Hürlimann’s work takes a multifaceted and sensitive approach to the issue of theodicy. At the same time, his novels present a literary image of the history of Judaism in modern Switzerland, from migration and assimilation to exclusion.
Lawyer Elisabeth Freivogel was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Law. Freivogel has spent her professional life striving for equal rights for women and is a pioneer in this field. As a committed lawyer, she has set standards in the area of the constitutional right to equal pay for equal work that have influenced development of the law, and has fought for equitable pay for numerous women.
Pioneer in oncology care and gender researcher
The Faculty of Medicine awarded its honorary doctorate to Hans-Rudolf Stoll for his pioneering work in the field of oncology care in Switzerland. Stoll has played a key role in the development of patient-centered and evidence-based oncology care, both in the hospital and in the domestic sphere. He has made an outstanding contribution to the establishment of Onko-Spitex on a nationwide basis, and has played a significant role in the development of evidence-based oncology care in academic training and research.
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences awarded an honorary doctorate to the German medical historian and gender researcher Professor Barbara Duden. Duden is considered a pioneer in the field of body history and has played a significant role in establishing the body as an object of international historical study. As a committed intermediary between academia and society, her research enjoys widespread acceptance and she is considered to be one of the founders of cultural studies in the life sciences.
Museum director and minerals expert
An honorary doctorate was also conferred on Sam Keller, director of the Fondation Beyeler and long-standing director of Art Basel. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences recognizes Keller’s contribution to reconcilement of the history, theory, critique and practice of art, and to the concept of art as an indispensable catalyst for societal self-awareness. Keller has provided proof that the practical application of art has genuine scientific value.
The Faculty of Science honored the prospector and mineral researcher André Gorsatt, from the canton of Valais, with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his services to the mineralogical survey of the Binntal and to the discovery of new minerals. Gorsatt’s ability to interpret the language of rocks has made him a nationally and internationally renowned expert and a valuable scientific partner to mineralogists at the University and the Natural History Museum of Basel.
Expert in monetary policy and a social psychologist
The honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Business and Economics was awarded to the American economist Professor Stephen G. Cecchetti, former Chief Economist at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). With this honor, the Faculty pays tribute to Cecchetti’s contribution to questions of financial stability and international monetary policy. It commends him for his combination of academic work and economic policy practice, and recognizes the contribution he has made to the relationship between the BIS and the Faculty of Business and Economics.
The Faculty of Psychology honored the social psychologist Professor Norbert Schwarz with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his research in the fields of social cognition, survey research and subjective wellbeing. Schwarz has made an outstanding contribution to the acquisition of knowledge, in particular through his research into the use of emotions as a source of information, in which he states that emotions play a key role in the formation of judgments and decisions.
In addition to the honorary doctorates, a number of other honors were conferred at the Dies Academicus. The Amerbach Prize, which is sponsored by the University of Basel, was awarded to Dr. Nesina Grütter for her dissertation Quasi Nahum: the Masoretic text and the translation of the Septuagint of the book of Nahum: a comparison.
The athletics prize, sponsored by Basler Versicherungen, was awarded to Kaspar Hägler, a master’s student in economics. At the World University Orienteering Championship 2016 in Miskolc (Hungary), Hägler took the silver medal for orienteering in the long-distance category and a second silver medal with the Swiss men’s team.
A special prize, sponsored by Basler Versicherungen, was presented to Simon Niepmann, a master’s student in sports sciences and geography, and Lucas Tramèr, a master’s student in medicine. The pair won the Olympic gold medal in Lightweight Fours Rowing at the 2016 Olympic Games Regatta in Rio de Janeiro.
The University of Basel’s Alumni Prize 2016 was presented to the journalist and war reporter Dr. Kurt Pelda. Pelda pursues a style of journalism that seeks to communicate first-hand information without sensationalism, thus bringing transparency to particularly challenging crisis situations.
The following faculty prizes were presented to junior researchers for outstanding dissertations and studies:
- the Faculty of Theology prize to Dr. des. Jonathan Stutz
- the Faculty of Law prize, sponsored by law firm VISCHER, to Dr. Beat Jucker and Dr. Saskia Stucki
- the Faculty of Medicine prize, sponsored by Roche Pharma Research, to Dr. Kristina Affolter
- the Humanities Prize of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to Dr. Julian Genner
- the Faculty of Science prize, sponsored by Adobe Research (Schweiz) AG, to Dr. Susanne Baumann and Dr. Christoph Klöffel
- the Faculty of Business and Economics prize, sponsored by the Basler Kantonalbank Foundation for the promotion of economics research and teaching at the University of Basel, to Dr. Kristyna Ters
- the Faculty of Psychology’s Steven Karger Prize, sponsored by Karger S. AG, medical and scientific publisher, to Dr. Olivia Manicolo and Dr. Klara Sifalakis-Spalek
The Emilie-Louise-Frey Prize, which supports junior female scientists, went to Sophia Anna Joray, MA, and Claudia Speiser, MTh, was honored with the Young Talent Prize from the “Schwizerhüsli” student association.
Matthias Geering, University of Basel, Head of Communications & Marketing, phone: +41 61 207 35 75, mobil: +41 79 269 70 71, email: email@example.com
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