20 January 2016

Utrecht University awards four honorary doctorates

This year, Utrecht University is awarding four honorary doctorates, to: sociologist Robert J. Sampson, marine biologist Sybil Seitzinger, architect Francine Houben and musician Jordi Savall. The award ceremony will take place during the 380th Dies Natalis (Anniversary Day) of Utrecht University in the Domkerk cathedral on 29 March.

Robert J. Sampson en Sybil Seitzinger
Honorary doctors Robert J. Sampson (left) and Sybil Seitzinger (right).

Robert J. Sampson

Robert J. Sampson is Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University (US) and director of the Boston Area Research Initiative, an institute that conducts groundbreaking research at the cutting edge of the social sciences and public order within cities. Sampson is a leading scholar in a wide range of areas, including criminality, inequality, life-course research and the social organisation of cities, as demonstrated, for example in the globally-acclaimed book Great American City: Chicago and the enduring neighborhood effect.

Sybil Seitzinger

Sybil Seitzinger was for many years the director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which focuses on global environmental change, including climate change. She was recently appointed director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (Canada) and professor at the University of Victoria (Canada). Seitzinger conducts research into the causes and consequences of global change, in particular on life in coastal waters and freshwater.

Francine Houben en Jordi Savall
Honorary doctors Francine Houben (left) and Jordi Savall (right).

Francine Houben

Francine Houben is creative director and co-founder of Mecanoo architects, and considered to be one of the Netherlands' most pre-eminent architects. Mecanoo's work includes Birmingham library, Montevideo residential tower in Rotterdam and the new Delft railway station. Francine Houben was curator of the very first International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam. She was recently commissioned to design the renovations to the famous New York Public Library. In November 2015, she was awarded the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize and her new book People, Place, Purpose was also published.

Jordi Savall

Jordi Savall is a musician and conductor, specialising in mediaeval, renaissance and baroque music. In addition, he is the EU ambassador for intercultural dialogue and the UNESCO Artist for Peace. He also owns his own record label (Alia Vox) and has founded three ensembles. Since the 1970s, he has been considered one of the leading figures in the world of Early Music. In both his choice of repertoire and the selection of his musicians, Savall emphasises the cultural diversity of the European tradition.

Dies Natalis

The honorary doctorates will be presented during the celebration of the 380th Anniversary Day of Utrecht University, to be held on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 in the Domkerk cathedral. The University actually reaches its anniversary on 26 March, but since this date falls on a Saturday this year, the celebration is being held three days later.