New honorary doctorates at the University of Navarre

In conjunction with the celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, on January 17 the University of Navarre granted honorary doctorates to three well-known figures:

Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, professor at Harvard University; Dr. Anthony Kelly, professor at Cambridge University; and Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco, Archbishop of Madrid.

Presiding at the ceremony was Bishop Javier Echevarría, Chancellor of the University, who noted that the incorporation of these distinguished educators into the university’s family of doctors constitutes “a stimulus to pursue the task of seeking the truth with renewed zeal, with very goals of service to all mankind.” He added that their example “impels us to reflect on some aspects of university life in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of this university, which is taking place at a moment of profound social change.”

The Chancellor, after pointing out that “the university can never remain at the margin of historic transformations of human culture,” said: “The university is a place of freedom in solidarity, of fraternal service to man, where one seeks to advance in the knowledge of reality for the common good, but with the necessary autonomy so that this advance is not turned into just one more means of exerting economic or political power.”

The sponsors of the new honorary doctors also took part in the ceremony. These were Dr. Julio Muerza, dean of the School of Law; Dr. Javier Gil, professor of the Graduate School of Engineering; and Father Francisco Varo, dean of the School of Theology.

Dr. Mary Ann Glendon is an expert on bioethics, human rights and constitutional law in Europe and the United States. Bishop Echevarría highlighted “her academic excellence in the juridical field, which has enabled her to confront, with undeniable competence, vital questions in the present circumstances of human life and international relationships. She has delved deeply into human rights, emphasizing the dignity of the person, through numerous publications on questions of political life, the family, divorce and abortion, which have received wide recognition.”

Dr. Anthony Kelly, professor emeritus of Metallurgical Science at the University of Cambridge, is considered one of the fathers of “compound materials.” He has held research and teaching positions in Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, and in the Universities of Birmingham and Surrey in the United Kingdom. “His academic life, marked by numerous prizes and international recognition, has been characterized by a zeal for service, which led him to carry out a self-sacrificing work of training disciples and sharing his knowledge,” noted the Chancellor of the University of Navarre.

Finally Bishop Echevarría referred to the accomplishments of Cardinal Rouco. “He is an example of a priest with a great university spirit. His service to the Church and his love for the truth led him to research and teaching in the theological field, especially in Fundamental Theology and Ecclesiology, and in the juridical field, at the Universities of Munich and Salamanca.”

After words of praise for the three honorary doctors, the Chancellor noted that “the challenges presented by today’s society demand a strong interdisciplinary collaboration and a growing spirit of teamwork” to confront “present-day questions of great importance for human dignity: the protection and care of human life, marriage and the family, the ethical questions raised by technological development and the problems of justice, peace and human rights.”

Bishop Echevarría emphasized St. Josemaria Escriva’s guiding role in the University of Navarre’s foundation: “Under his guidance, those who began the university did not have many material means at their disposal, but they did have a clear idea of their mission: to begin a university where teaching would be grounded on research. And this has been true right from the beginning.” Finally, he stressed that “providing students with professional competence is not enough, since they also have to grow humanly and as Christians, in order to serve all men and women in accord with human dignity.”

With the investiture of the three new honorary doctors, the University of Navarre has now granted this distinction to thirty-two scholars in its fifty year history.

Romana, No. 36, January-June 2003, p. 0.

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