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Honorary doctorates

The University of Groningen awards honorary doctorates to people who have made an exceptional contribution to society, academia or politics.

2021 Feike Sijbesma

Feike Sijbesma

On Friday 22 January 2021, the University of Groningen (UG) awarded an honorary doctorate to Feike Sijbesma. The former CEO of DSM was presented with his honorary doctorate by Rector Prof. Cisca Wijmenga during the special Nobel Prizewinners’ Ceremony as part of the Climate Adaptation Week Groningen (held between 19 and 25 January). The honorary supervisor of Sijbesma was Prof. Peter Verhoef, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business.
Sijbesma was awarded the UG honorary doctorate as a result of his significant societal engagement as one of the ‘captains of industry’ in the Netherlands.

Honorary doctorates in the 21st century

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (photo: Elmer Spaargaren)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu (photo: Elmer Spaargaren)
  • 2019 Dr Philipp Blom, Arts
  • 2019 Prof. Titia de Lange, Medical Sciences
  • 2018 Ban Ki-moon, for his outstanding achievements, incl. the development of the Paris Agreement.
  • 2014 Prof. José Casanova, Theology and Religious Studies
  • 2014 Prof. Sir Francis Jacobs QC KCMG, Law
  • 2014 Prof. Ronald M. Evans, Medical Sciences
  • 2014 Prof Renata Kallosh, Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • 2014 Prof. Michael Schudson, Arts
  • 2014 Prof. Dani Rodrik, Economics and Business
  • 2014 Dr H.C. Paul Polman, Economics and Business
  • 2014 Prof. Robert E. Slavin, Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • 2014 Prof. Christine Korsgaard, Philosophy
  • 2014 Prof. Andreas Faludi, Spatial Sciences
  • 2012 Desmond Tutu, Theology and Religious Studies
  • 2009 Hisashi Owada, Law
  • 2009 Marilynn Brewer, Behavioural & Social Sciences
  • 2009 Michael Menaker, Mathematics & Natural Sciences
  • 2009 Kader Abdolah, Theology and Religious Studies
  • 2004 Mirjam Pressler, Arts
  • 2004 Ian Buruma, Theology & Religious Studies
  • 2004 Jan Blokker, Social Sciences

Read more on previous awarded honorary doctorates, starting in 1717.

Honorary doctorate ceremony

Mirjam Pressler receives the cappa (Photo: Elmer Spaargaren)
Mirjam Pressler receives the cappa (Photo: Elmer Spaargaren)

The UG honorary doctorate is symbolised by the red cappa. The Rector will also present the doctorate with a doctoral diploma, adorned with the seal of the UG.

Both staff and student associations take part in the ceremony, starting with the procession from the Academic Building to the Martini Church where the ceremony will take place. Professors are present in academic dress: Gown, bands and beret, decorations and distinctions. Students carry their flags and banners.

Honorary doctorates receive the title doctor honoris causa, or dr.h.c.

Last modified:05 July 2023 12.33 p.m.
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