News archive 2007
Honorary Degree Ceremony30 Nov 2007, PR 193/07
The College's second ever Honorary Degree Ceremony, at which the new Chairman of King's College Council, Lord Douro, officiated for the first time, took place on Thursday 29 November, in the Chapel at the Strand Campus.
The ceremony, which honours those individuals who are of conspicuous merit as demonstrated by their outstanding academic contribution to their field, was presided over by Lord Douro, and King's College London Principal, Professor Rick Trainor.
Professor Trainor said in his speech at the beginning of the Honorary Degree Ceremony: ‘I am pleased to say that the disciplines in which today's honorary doctors shine – medicine, biomedicine, dentistry, and social sciences – are all superbly represented at the College, both individually and collectively. I know that King's will be enriched by its association with such distinguished figures.'
Those awarded an honorary degree at the ceremony were:
Dr Mark Walport FMedSci – is one of the UK's leading clinical academics, specialising in immunology and the genetics of rheumatic diseases. In 2003 he was appointed Director of the Wellcome Trust, which, with more than £400 million invested every year in biomedical research, is the largest charity in the UK and the second largest medical research charity in the world. He oversees the funding of diverse projects, ranging from research into tropical and neglected diseases in developing countries, to the public knowledge of the societal and historical impact of biomedical research. The Wellcome Trust funds many projects at King's.
Professor Colin Blakemore FRS – is a highly distinguished neuroscientist, with particular interests in vision, the early development of the brain and conditions such as childhood blindness and Huntington's disease, on which he has published very widely. From 2003 to 2007 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC), and in this post he steered the MRC through substantial change. Described by the Royal Society as ‘one of Britain's most influential communicators of science', throughout his career Professor Blakemore has dedicated much time and effort to engagement with the public. He is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.
Professor Deborah Greenspan BDS, DSc – is one of the world's outstanding investigators in dental science, particularly on the oral problems in HIV and AIDS which she has studied since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s. In particular her discovery in 1984, with her husband Professor John S Greenspan, of the condition oral hairy leukoplakia, opened a new arena of research into both AIDS and the Epstein Barr virus. She is Professor of Clinical Oral Medicine, the Leland A and Gladys K Barber Distinguished Professor in Dentistry and Interim Chair of the Department of Orofacial Sciences at the University of California San Francisco. She is a graduate of the Royal Dental Hospital, which now forms part of the King's College London Dental Institute.
Viscount Runciman of Doxford FBA – is a leading British sociologist. Since 1971 he has been a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he works in the field of comparative and historical sociology. Between 2001 and 2005 he served as President of the British Academy. In 1991 he was appointed Chairman of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, which in 1993 recommended the establishment of an independent Criminal Cases Review Commission to investigate possible miscarriages of justice in England and Wales. This body has subsequently reviewed more than 8,500 cases and referred more than 330 to the Court of Appeal.
In drawing the ceremony to a close, Lord Douro said: ‘It has been a great pleasure for me to be able to confer these honorary degrees of the University of London, on behalf of King's, and I warmly congratulate today's new honorary doctors.'
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's College London is the fourth oldest university in England with more than 13,700 undergraduates and nearly 6,200 graduate students in nine schools of study based at five London campuses. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UK's major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King's is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of more than £114 million, and has an annual income of more than £400 million.
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