Cambridge varsity gives Soyinka, nine others honorary degree

Professor Wole Soyinka
Professor Wole Soyinka

At least 10 people, including Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, were given an honorary degree from the University of Cambridge.

Nigeria's Soyinka and the nine other recipients were honoured at a ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, at the varsity’s Senate House with over 400 staff, students and other guests in attendance.

Cambridge, the world's joint third-ranked varsity, noted that its honorary degree (one of the most prestigious honours in the world) is bestowed upon people “who have made outstanding achievements in their respective fields,” the varsity’s official site noted.

Chancellor of the varsity, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, presided over the ceremony, which was conducted in Latin and English.

Soyinka, who is a playwright, poet, novelist and political activist, won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.

He has held visiting appointments at higher institutions in Cambridge, Legon, Atlanta, and Yale.

Recipients of this year’s University of Cambridge’s honorary degree, asides Soyinka, include Ghanian philosopher, Professor Kwame Appiah; literary scholar, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr; developmental biologist, Professor Edith Heard; music composer, Dr Judith Weir; and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Dr Ali Smith.

Other recipients, who are all professors, include mathematical physicist, Sir Roger Penrose; developmental biologist, Elizabeth Robertson; art historian, Simon Schama; and molecular biologist, John Walker.

Soyinka is presently a Professor Emeritus of Dramatic Literature of the Obafemi Awolowo University.

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