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Ceremonies Unit

Honorary Degrees

At certain Congregation ceremonies the University awards honorary degrees to candidates who have been nominated by University staff and approved by Senate. During the ceremony a speech (oration) of the life and work of the graduand is presented prior to conferring the award.

If you would like someone to be considered for an honorary award, view the nomination information.


The following honorary degrees will awarded during Summer Congregation 2018

Professor John Morrill, Doctor of Letters on Tuesday 26 June at 11:00 am

John Morrill is one of the leading historians of his generation. He is a specialist in the early modern history of Britain and Ireland. He has written and edited 24 books and more than 100 essays and articles. He was the pioneering Editor of the Bibliography of British and Irish History, a unique resource containing over 594,000 records. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Professor Morrill has been a Visiting Professor in the Durham University History Department for the last three years – offering invaluable support to postgraduate students.

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Professor Veena Das, Doctor of Science on Wednesday 27 June at 11:00 am

Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University, USA, having previously taught at the Delhi School of Economics for more than thirty years.

She is a highly influential figure in the field of Socio-cultural Anthropology, with significant achievements and impacts in the areas of the anthropology of violence, public health, ethnography and exploring the relationship between anthropology and philosophy.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Scientists from Developing Countries, Professor Das has a special connection with Durham University having delivered several workshops and lectures, and a postgraduate masterclass.

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Commander David Childs, Doctor of Letters on Thursday 28 June at 2:00 pm

David Childs CBE enjoyed a successful 28-year career in the Royal Navy, reaching the rank of Commander.

However, it has been in retirement that he has made a significant and innovative contribution to our national cultural heritage - by helping to establish a new, living memorial to British Servicemen and Women, the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), which opened in 2001.

Commander Childs has also served as Development Director of the Mary Rose Trust and at Durham University he has delivered both student and public lectures.

Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane, Doctor of Civil Law on Friday 29 June at 2:00 pm

Sir Andrew Ewart McFarlane, who, in July 2018, will become the next President of the Family Division, was appointed a High Court Judge in 2005 and a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011. An esteemed lawyer who was called to the Bar in 1977 and appointed as a QC in 1998, he has made a significant and long-standing contribution to the family justice system.

Sir Andrew studied Law at Durham University from 1972 to 1975, was a founder member of Durham Revue and President of Durham Students Union; he remains an active member of Collingwood College. He is a valued supporter of Durham Law School and Chair of the Durham Law School Advisory Board. In 2012 the Lord Justice McFarlane Prize in Family Law was established to reward excellence on the Law of Family Relationships undergraduate LLB module.