The honorees were Mary Ann Glendon, of Harvard University; Anthony Kelly, of Cambridge University; and Cardinal Antonio Rouco, archbishop of Madrid. In its 50 year history, the university has now given a total of 32 honorary degrees.
“These honorary doctorates are a source of inspiration for continuing in the search for truth with renewed hope and with high goals of service to humanity,” said Bishop Javier Echevarría. The grand chancellor of the University said that the example of the honorees sheds light on the work of a university. “The university should never stand on the sidelines during the ups and downs of history,” he said. “It is a place of both freedom and solidarity, where knowledge is pursued for the sake of the common good, with an autonomy that keeps it form being another part of the machinery of economic or political power.”
The academic ceremony included 366 professors, and featured an 80-person chorus, which sang the university hymn “Gaudeamus Igitur,” J.S. Bach’s “Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude” and other pieces.
During his address, Bishop Echevarría sketched a brief profile of each of the three honorees. He noted that Mary Ann Glendon, an expert on bioethics, human rights and comparative constitutional law, has been able, as the result of her academic excellence, to play a role in the vital historical questions of the day. Due to her legal expertise, understanding of human rights has deepened and put more focus on the dignity of the person. She has received prizes of international prestige for her numerous publications on political life, the family, divorce and abortion.
Regarding Anthony Kelly, professor emeritus of Materials and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, Bishop Echevarría observed that he is viewed as one of the founders of the science of composite materials, and has held various directing, researching, and teaching posts at the University of Illinois and Northwestern in the United States and the Universities of Birmingham and Surrey in the United Kingdom. “His academic life, marked by numerous prizes and international awards, has been characterized by an eagerness to serve, which has led him to a self-sacrificing work of shaping his students and sharing his knowledge,” said Bishop Echevarría.
Lastly, the grand chancellor of the University spoke about the professional accomplishments of Cardinal Antonio Rouco, archbishop of Madrid and, since 1999, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. Among others merits of the new honorary doctor, the prelate of the Opus Dei emphasized that he provides an example of a priest with great sense of the university. His service to the Church and love of the truth have been displayed in his research and teaching in theology and law at the Universities of Munich and of Salamanca.
Around 460 people attended the ceremony in the Grand Auditorium of the University. Additional people followed the ceremony by closed-circuit TV: 120 persons in an adjacent classroom, nearly 500 in the vestibules, and many more in the Clínica Universitaria and the Colegio Mayor Belagua.
In addition to a diploma, the grand chancellor presented the honorees with a cap and with a gold and agate ring bearing the shield of the University of Navarre.