Honorary doctorates at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, (June 28, 2019)
The University of Navarra awarded honorary doctorates to Navarrese architect Rafael Moneo, British sociologist Margaret S. Archer, Israeli philologist Ruth Fine, and American media expert Robert Picard.
In a ceremony uniting modernity and tradition held at the school’s Contemporary Art Museum, the University of Navarra awarded its highest academic distinction to four scholars.
For the first time, the current Prelate of Opus Dei and the University Chancellor, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, presided over the event. About 700 people filled the museum’s theater space, designed by one of the day’s honorees, the architect and Navarra-native Rafael Moneo.
Since 1964, the University of Navarra has awarded 39 honorary doctorates for outstanding academic and professional contributions in various fields. Recipients include the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was honored in 1998.
The new doctors
Hispanic scholar and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ruth Fine, an expert in the Spanish Golden Age, expressed her gratitude for the award and highlighted the need to build bridges of intercultural dialogue between the Hispanic and Hebrew worlds.
Robert Picard, an expert in media company management and a professor at several different academic centers, said that “communication is essential for building healthy societies,” and that “institutions of communication should serve the needs of everyone.”
British sociologist Margaret S. Archer, a pioneer in her field and internationally recognized for her academic work, stressed the importance of the contribution from social sciences for the creation of more just environments, an objective that in her opinion is not assisted by the “painfully weak” relationship between these sciences and their philosophical foundations.
Spanish architect Rafael Moneo is the holder of outstanding awards in his field, including the Pritzker Prize (1996), Prince of Asturias of the Arts (2012), and National Prize for Architecture in Spain (2015). He dedicated a good part of his speech to thanking the University of Navarra for all it has done since its beginnings in 1952, and especially his School of Architecture.
In his closing speech, the University Chancellor, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, made reference to one of his predecessors, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo. “Twenty-five years ago, on a similar occasion, Bishop del Portillo invited teachers and students to ‘undertake the adventure of renewing the enthusiasm of a tired world.’“
Describing the personality of the first rector of the University of Navarra, Ismael Sánchez Bella, the Prelate highlighted the importance of grounding the university’s activity on its Christian identity. “Seeking peace, promoting social justice, or caring for our common home are sustained and strengthened through an understanding of the world and the person grounded in the Gospel.” This is how universities can become wellsprings of freedom and hope, he said.
Romana, n. 68, January-June 2019, p. 132-133.