Dr Alice Prochaska, Principal of Somerville College, has been awarded the Degree of Doctor Of Laws honoris causa by the University of Aberdeen.

Dr Prochaska attended the awards ceremony at the University on 8 July. She was involved in the life of the University of Aberdeen when she took part in the appointment of Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen as architects of the new university library.

She said of the event: “It was a fantastic honour to be awarded this honorary degree. I enjoyed every aspect of my visit to Aberdeen: the beautiful buildings going back as far as the late 15th-century origins of the university, the spirit of civic engagement that is evident throughout the university, the wonderful hospitality of my hosts, and the joy of the new graduates from every part of the globe, who have clearly gained so much from their studies.

“It was a special pleasure to visit the Sir Duncan Rice Library, whose architects I played a part in choosing: now a magnificent and innovative building, beautifully equipped and thoroughly worthy of its place at the heart of research and learning in this great university,” she said.

In the Laureation address, Dr Prochaska was described as “an eminent academic, with a very broad perspective” who “has a distinguished record in two countries, as a librarian and as a shaper of public policy”.

Dr Prochaska was particularly noted for her positions as Director of Special Collections at the British Library, a post to which she was appointed in 1992, as Yale University Librarian, the position she held from 2001 to 2010, and as Principal of Somerville College, to which she was appointed in 2010.

Her senior roles in a number of cultural institutions were also highlighted, from Chair of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations to chair of the National Council on Archives to Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

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