[Adapted from an Oxford University press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among five prominent figures from the worlds of science, the arts and religion to receive honorary degrees from the University of Oxford on June 25.
Jefferts Schori, who received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity, said: “[Oxford] is a place where the life of the mind is honored, where creative thought and connection-making is the primary task of the human being: critical thinking, creative and artistic and beautiful thinking is a way of searching for truth.”
The degrees were awarded at Encaenia, the University’s annual honorary degree ceremony. Lord Christopher Patten, chancellor of the University of Oxford, handed the honorands their degrees in the Sheldonian Theatre before lunch was held in The Codrington Library at All Souls College.
Sir Anish Kapoor, one of Britain’s foremost sculptors, and Robert Silvers, founding editor of the New York Review of Books, received Degrees of Doctor of Letters.
Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1987 for his pioneering studies on the chemical basis of molecular recognition, received the Degree of Doctor of Science.
Sir Harrison Birtwistle, a leading British composer, received the Degree of Doctor of Music.
Kapoor said: ‘It’s a wonderful thing. I’m thrilled. Oxford is one of the great universities, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. My daughter’s at university here, so that makes it a doubly wonderful thing. [She couldn’t attend the ceremony because] she has exams, alas!
‘‘[Oxford] is a wonder. It somehow remains properly alive, because it has such a big student body. Education in great spaces – what more could one ask for?’
Lehn said: ‘When you’re an academic, university is the place in which knowledge and education is being gained and transferred. Among those places, there are some very special ones. Oxford is among those very special ones. So it’s a great pleasure and an honor to be here today.’