On 30 March 2017 the University of Antwerp conferred its honorary degrees. The ceremony was preceded by masterclasses led by the honorary doctors.
Four leading scientists received an honorary degree for scientific merit.
Professor Ernst Fehr
Professor Almuth Grésillon
Almuth Grésillon, one of the most important theorists behind genetic criticism (research into creative processes), received an honorary degree from the Faculty of Arts.
She was actively involved in the Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes (ITEM-CNRS) in Paris from its inception, heading the institute from 1986 until 1994.
Doctor Christophe Lasseur
Christophe Lasseur (European Space Agency) received an honorary degree from the Faculty of Science.
He is the driving force behind the MELiSSA project (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative), which focuses on ‘closed-loop life support’: five phases ranging from waste treatment through to the production of food and energy.
Professor Jan Rabaey
Jan Rabaey, born in Veurne and a professor at the University of California in Berkeley, was nominated by the Faculty of Applied Engineering.
In the early 1990s, he introduced a wireless tablet, which he named 'infopad'. He is currently conducting research into the human intranet, which involves connecting the human body to sensors and devices that communicate with the human brain.
Masterclass: Homo Technologicus: Intertwining of Technology and Humanity
Supervisor: Professor Maarten Weyn
Diane von Furstenberg received an honorary degree for general merit.
Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg received an honorary degree for general merit in recognition of her extraordinary achievements in the field of fashion and entrepreneurship, combined with an intense commitment to the field of women’s rights and human rights in general.
It was in 1974 that fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, born in Brussels, first created the iconic wrap dress that would make her name, and that of her fashion label DVF. What is less well known is that, for many years, she also served as a goodwill ambassador for the Red Star Line project, the migration museum in Antwerp’s Eilandje district.
“She endorsed the project because of her Belgian roots, and her fondness for Antwerp as a fashion city also played a role. But besides that, she always emphasised her personal experience as an immigrant in the United States”, explains Herman Van Goethem, rector of the University of Antwerp. “Diane von Furstenberg always works hard to bring together cultures and people from different backgrounds. She is also a champion of human rights. Diversity and open-mindedness have become her trademarks, both in words and deeds. You can feel how she embraces ‘the world’ in her fashion designs and in her philanthropic endeavours.”
Von Furstenberg, who heads the charitable Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, will receive the University of Antwerp’s honorary degree for general merit from the rector.