Honorary graduates in the arts and the human condition
(30 June 2006)
University Chancellor Bill Bryson has conferred honorary degrees on four inspiring figures - two in the arts and two in the study of people and how they behave and think.
The men received Durham University honorary doctorates during the four-day run of ceremonies at Durham Cathedral where more than 3,000 new graduates from the colleges in Durham and at Queen’s Campus, Stockton formally completed their studies.
Doctor of Music (DMus) - Chris Barber
Bandleader Chris Barber has made an enduring contribution to the jazz scene both internationally and in the UK over more than half a century. He enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and after leading an amateur band from 1949, he formed his professional band in 1953 and is still going strong. He helped to import American Blues and Gospel artistes to the UK and created the "British Blues Boom" of the early 60s, which has influenced British popular music ever since. As a trombone player Chris's work is enhanced by his rich sound and flowing solo style.
Doctor of Science (DSc): Professor Geoffrey Harrison
A pioneer in the study of biological anthropology, he made changes at Oxford University that transformed the curriculum and methodologies of anthropology throughout colleges and universities in the UK and Europe, the United States and Australia. He was involved in the investigations following exposure of the ‘Piltdown Man’ hoax; and co-wrote the definitive textbook for generations of students. His long-standing concerns with identifying the components of human adaptation have recently been extended to examining the biosocial influences on lifestyle and well-being and he is currently involved in assessing levels of psycho-social stress in Australian Aboriginal populations.
Doctor of Science (DSc): Professor Robert J. Sternberg
A major influence on the theory and practice of education and psychology, Professor Sternberg is believed to be the most published psychologist of all time. He addressed an international conference in Durham 2005 and members of Professor Sternberg’s team are collaborating with Durham in a study of teachers’ practical intelligence. Professor Sternberg is Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Psychology and Director of the PACE (Psychology of Abilities, Competencies and Expertise) Center at Tufts University, Boston. He moved there in 2005 from Yale where he was IBM Professor of Psychology and Education. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and other leading bodies and a past-president of the American Psychological Association (APA).
Doctor of Civil Law (DCL): Luke Rittner
One of Britain's most experienced arts administrators, Luke Rittner took up his appointment as Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Dance in 1999. His career has encompassed many roles, from running one of Britain's leading festivals (in Bath) and being Founder-Director of the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts to his most successful leadership at the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1983 to 1990. Luke Rittner has served on arts boards, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Council. The University's association with the Royal Academy of Dance, which lasted for a decade, was through its validation of the Royal Academy of Dance programmes of study in Dance Education. The University's former Chancellor, Dame Margot Fonteyn, was also, until her death, President of the Royal Academy of Dance.