As of Wednesday 1 April, five top international scientists are entitled to use the title of honorary doctor of the University of Antwerp.

The honorary degree for general merit was awarded to the Dutch artist Marlene Dumas.

Eredoctoraten 2015

F.l.t.r: Prof Matthias Beller, rector Alain Verschoren, Prof Neil A. Gershenfeld, Marlene Dumas, Prof Eduard Hovy, Prof Melissa Leach, Prof Stewart C. Myers

Scientific merit

Professor Matthias Beller

Professor Matthias Beller of the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis at the University of Rostock (Germany) will receive an honorary degree from the Faculty of Science. A leading authority in the field of catalysis – the acceleration and control of the rate of chemical reactions – as a key area in sustainable chemistry, Professor Beller combines smart design and learning from nature to build so-called ‘bio-inspired’ catalysts.

Supervisor: Professor Bert Maes

Masterclass: On the Way to a Sustainable Society in 2050: What are the contributions from chemistry and catalysis?

Professor Neil A. Gershenfeld

The Faculty of Design Sciences will be awarding an honorary degree to Professor Neil A. Gershenfeld, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA) and director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. Professor Gershenfeld created the fab labs, a global through the internet connected network of local fabrication labs, where users can built innovatie products and share their knowledge with users all over the world.

Supervisor: Professor Koenraad Keignaert

Masterclass: The Third Digital Revolution



Professor Eduard Hovy

The Faculty of Arts has nominated Professor Eduard Hovy of Carnegie Mellon University (USA). Known for his holistic approach to automatic text summarisation, Professor Hovy is one of the few scientists to take linguistic and psycholinguistic developments into account in the development of computer models. His efforts are turning this discipline into an international research field.

Supervisor:  Professor Walter Daelemans

Masterclass: Natural Language Processing and its Impact on Personal Privacy

Professor Melissa Leach

The University of Antwerp’s Institute of Development Management and Policy has also chosen to emphasise sustainability, by nominating Professor Melissa Leach, director of the Institute of Development Studies (UK), as its honorary doctor. Leach has published countless influential articles on the complex interactions between man and nature and played a pioneering role in multidisciplinary research initiatives into sustainability.

Supervisor: Professor Johan Bastiaensen

Masterclass:  Pathways to Sustainability and Green Transformation

Professor Stewart C. Myers

The Faculty of Applied Economics has elected to confer an honorary degree upon Professor Stewart Myers of the MIT Sloan School of Management (USA). His research has led to a number of new fundamental insights into financing and investment policy, which have not only had a major scientific impact but also demonstrated widespread societal relevance.

Supervisor: Professor Marc Deloof

Second supervisor: Professor Eddy Laveren

Masterclass: How to Think about Corporate Governance

General merit

Marlene Dumas

Dumas’s paintings are characterised by a style that combines the painterly gestures of Expressionism with the critical distance of conceptual art. While she mainly uses photos as sources, her paintings are never exact replicas. She cuts out the image and focuses on a detail in the photo, or uses her characteristic colour palette of grey, blue and red. Very different, direct and effective.

Supervisor: Professor Alain Verschoren, rector of the University of Antwerp


Painting Marlene Dumas

Painting Marlene Dumas