Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was awarded an honorary degree at the University of Strathclyde today (Monday 12 November) during a graduation ceremony at Barony Hall.

The South African sprinter was joined by hundreds of engineering graduates as he was made a Doctor of the University. The award builds on the University’s relationship with the sports star, who gave the keynote speech at Strathclyde’s Sporting Prosthetics Conference last year.

Having made history by competing in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this year, Oscar has become a role model for sports and physical activity for all, and is being recognised for his sporting success as well as his work with humanitarian causes.

 

He was awarded the honorary degree after meeting with patients, students and staff of the University’s National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics within the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is helping to develop the health technologies of the future.

Speaking before the ceremony, Oscar said: “I am incredibly honoured to be awarded an honorary degree from such a prestigious University as Strathclyde – I have had a great history working with them and believe they lead the way in prosthetic research and development and have very much enjoyed the work I have done with them in the past and look forward to continuing a great relationship with them.

“Today is a very proud day for me. The people of Scotland are always so warm and welcoming towards me and I think of it as my second home here. Thank you to everyone at the University for their support, this truly does cap what has been an amazing year for me.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Oscar back to the University. His sporting success, combined with his determination to help people affected by disability, has made him an excellent role model, not only for our graduating students here at Strathclyde, but for millions of people across the globe.

“As a leading technological University, we are committed to ‘useful learning’ – teaching and research that has an impact on society.

“It is fitting that Oscar’s visit has included a visit to our Department for Biomedical Bioengineering – an excellent example of what can be achieved by bringing together innovative technologies, determined people and excellent teaching to improve lives.”

Professor Bernie Conway, Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, gave the oration this afternoon. He described Oscar’s sporting achievements, as well as his support for charities associated with humanitarian causes.

“There can be no doubt that Oscar Pistorius is a remarkable person and athlete, where the will to prepare to win is strong but is rooted in a positive life philosophy that centres on trust, equality and respect for others.

“A winner whose winning habit has been powered by dedication, commitment and an unshakable determination to live a life without limitations or barriers, Oscar’s road to success has been both inspirational and immensely challenging.

“We see our own mission to provide training and innovation that can better people’s lives and with this honorary award to Oscar, we wish to recognise not only his remarkable past achievements, but his future commitment and drive to help people and children affected by disability.”

Oscar is one of five distinguished figures being honoured by the University this Autumn. The others are:

·         Professor Neil Gershenfeld, Director of the Centre for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Doctor of the University)

·         Sir Paul Nurse, the British geneticist, cell biologist and Nobel Prize Winner (Doctor of Science)

·         Professor Anne Glover, EU Chief Scientific Advisor (Doctor of Science)

·         Fran Healy, lead singer of Scottish pop band Travis (Doctor of the University).
For more information about Oscar Pistorius, please visit his website:http://www.oscarpistorius.com/about