Four new honorary doctorates at UiB

Author Jon Fosse, Professor Helga Nowotny, former US Vice President Walter F. Mondale, and patron of the arts and science Trond Mohn have been made honorary PhDs at the University of Bergen (UiB).

New honorary doctors at University of Bergen: Author Jon Fosse, Professor Helga Nowotny, ex politician Walter F. Mondale and business man Trond Mohn.
NEW HONORARY DOCTORS CONFERRED BY UiB: Author Jon Fosse, Professor Helga Nowotny, ex politician Walter F. Mondale and business man Trond Mohn (left to right).

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An honorary doctorate is the highest honour the university can confer upon a person who is not employed by the University of Bergen (UiB). This type of doctorate is awarded for significant contributions or outstanding work to the benefit of science.

At the doctoral awards ceremony in the autumn of 2015, UiB will confer four new honorary doctorates upon Jon Fosse, Trond Mohn, Helga Nowotny and Walter F. Mondale respectively.

Traditionally, honorary doctorates are conferred upon people of importance to the university. These doctorates are usually awarded every other year, or when the University Board is of the opinion that a university anniversary or some other occasion should be marked in an outstanding way.

This year, the honorary doctorates will be conferred in connection with the opening of the new University Assembly Hall.


The author and the patron

Jon Fosse is Norway's foremost contemporary writer and poet, and has for several years been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature. For over 30 years, he has made his mark as a highly original and prolific writer. In particular, he has created an international name as a playwright, and has consolidated his position as the most important Norwegian dramatist since Ibsen. Fosse is an alumnus of UiB.

“Through his books, Fosse has brought great pleasure to a large audience over many years, not least students and researchers. His style is distinctive and inimitable, which we can also say of the linguistic mystique and the deep solemnity that prevail in his writing,” says Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of the University of Bergen.

Trond Mohn is a businessman and patron of the arts. His community development activities are very wide-ranging and include donations to research, the arts and sports. The Bergen Research Foundation (BFS) was created in 2004 through a donation of NOK 250 million from Mohn. Donations for research in Bergen also include the creation of the Bergen Medical Research Foundation, and Mohn has made substantial donations for medical equipment at Haukeland University Hospital.

“In a Norwegian context, these donations from Mohn are unique. They constitute a very important stimulus for research at or in connection with UiB. These donations give Bergen's research environments a unique advantage in their long-term efforts to develop research on an elite international level,” says Olsen.


The Holberg Prize and legal cooperation

Professor Helga Nowotny is professor emerita of Social Studies of Science at ETH Zurich. She was president of the European Research Council (ERC) from March 2010 until December 2013. Nowotny is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and she has a range of awards from various European universities.

“Nowotny has played a particularly important role at UiB through her work as chairperson of the Holberg Committee over many years,” says Olsen. 

Walter F. Mondale is an American of Norwegian descent, with roots in Mundal in Fjærland in the municipality of Sogndal, north of Bergen. He was Vice President under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981 and was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1984 against Ronald Reagan. As a senator, he worked to establish legal aid for ordinary Americans, and he also took an active part in the civil rights movement to secure African Americans equal rights with whites within the Democratic Party.

“Walter Mondale believes that ensuring human rights is the best way to ensure a country’s development and security. He has the ability to find practical political solutions where difficult conflicts of interest might exist,” says Olsen.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen is currently cooperating closely with the University of Minnesota Law School. Mondale has been actively drawn into this work, which he will help to promote.