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New Honorary Doctorates at UMB

Joanna Boddens-Hosang

On the occasion of the official opening of the university by H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway on Monday 23 May, five individuals received a UMB Honorary Doctorate.


The Honorary Doctorate degree doctor agriculturae honoris causa is awarded to outstanding individuals who have made their mark within UMB’s scientific areas of focus. The first Honorary Doctorate at UMB was awarded in 1928.

Since then the university has awarded 30 Honorary Doctorates. Three of these have later received the Nobel Peace Prize, the most recent being Dr Wangari Maathai who received the Honorary Doctorate in 1997 and the Nobel Peace Prize last year. The other two Nobel Peace Prize winners and holders of a UMB Honorary Doctorate are Lord Boyd Orr of Brechim (recipient of Nobel Peace Prize and UMB Honorary Doctorate in 1949) and Dr Norman Borlaug (recipient of Nobel Peace Prize and UMB Honorary Doctorate in 1970).

The most recent recipients of an Honorary Doctorate were:

Professor Michael Denis Gale, (U.K.), Head of the Comparative Genetics Unit, John Innes Centre, University of East Anglia. Professor Gale's outstanding contribution to cereal genetics grew from his early recognition of the need for improved genetic marker technologies. Following his early success with isoenzymes, he greatly expanded the use of marker technologies in wheat with the first applications of modern genetic techniques in the late 1980s. Extension of the technology to rye, barley and millet, within the framework of collaboration with cereal-mapping groups worldwide, combined to help create the new science of comparative genomics of the most important grasses of the world.


Professor Sara von Arnold, (Sweden), Professor in Cell Biology at the Department of Forest Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Professor von Arnold is world renown in the area of somatic embryogenesis and basic studies of the regulation of embryo development. She developed a reliable system for somatic embryogenesis, a clonal propagation system, of Spruce and is an important collaborator for the forest research groups in Norway (Skogforsk), as well as within the European COST-framework.


Professor Donald M. Broom, (U.K.), Professor in Animal Welfare, Cambridge University, U.K. Together with his research group, professor Broom launched the Cambridge University Animal Welfare Information Centre with the aim to disseminate scientific knowledge on animal welfare to the society in general. Prof. Broom is one of the most sought after experts in the European Union on animal welfare legislation, and is also highly respected by serious animal welfare organisations.



Professor Rattan Lal, (India), Professor of Soil Science, Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University, USA. Prof Lal is a renown and respected scientist in the field of soil management and soil carbon sequestration, to which he has contributed 1,040 research articles. Prof. Lal’s watershed management research has saved tens of millions of hectares of tropical rain forest from conversion to agricultural lands. In 2004, he wrote an article for Science on soil carbon sequestration for mitigating the climatic change, which emphasised the link between food scarcity in Africa and Asia and soil carbon sequestration and management.


Arne Brimi, (Norway), well-known Norwegian cook focusing on Norwegian dishes based on nature’s bounty. Brimi is the first recipient of the Honorary Doctorate who does not have a scientific background. However, the strong link between food, health and nature that Brimi advocates is also the priority area of UMB. The Honorary Doctorate pays tribute to Brimi’s successful food business venture taking Norwegian nature and culture as the point of departure.



Updated: 25.05.05
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