The honorary doctorate, or doctor honoris causa, is the highest distinction a university grants in recognition of a person’s scientific or university career or values that clearly identify with the institution. They are, therefore, highly relevant individuals due to their special relationship with the university, their contributions to progress, science and culture; or they are people who have a prominent place in the life of each university due to their integrity. 

Rules governing the procedure for granting a UPF honorary degree

List of Pompeu Fabra University honorary doctors

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

2021-2022 academic year
"In recognition of her exceptional research career that has enabled identifying the genes that regulate the development of living organisms and discovering general principles of embryonic development. She is also an example of honesty and of the commitment of scientific research to society."

Angela Y. Davis

2020-2021 academic year
"For her extensive academic and intellectual career including valuable analysis of the relationship between gender, race and social class, and her activism in defence of civil rights, justice, equality and freedom of individuals"

Gonzalo Pontón

2019-2020 academic year
“For being a benchmark in the dissemination of historical, political, humanistic, literary and scientific thought of the highest intellectual calibre, through his work as a publisher and historian”

Maria João Pires

2018-2019 academic year
“In recognition of her artistic excellence, for her contribution to the music world as one of the most acclaimed pianists and performers of classical music in recent decades, and especially for her contribution to a more inclusive form of musical education, strongly rooted in values, working towards the social integration of the underprivileged”

Dorcas Muthoni

2017-2018 academic year
“In recognition of her entrepreneurial career in the field of ICT on the African continent, her significant work in the promotion of engineering studies among young women in Africa, and her social commitment to breaking the vicious circles of poverty”

Frederick Wiseman

2016-2017 academic year
“In recognition of his bold career, a reference in cinema studies, and his work that has helped expand sociological and cinematographic knowledge highly committed to progress and to the institutions that govern our society”

Sydney Brenner

2013-2014 academic year
“For his brilliant career in teaching and research in the field of molecular biology, which has made him one of the world’s leading figures in this field of knowledge”

Miquel Barceló

2012-2013 academic year
“For his impressive contribution to contemporary painting and sculpture, manifested in a career that combines his deep-rootedness with his enormous capacity to become a global artist, which is expressed in his unique work in which he reflects the aspirations, anguish, joy and sadness of human beings today”

William Labov

2011-2012 academic year
“For his brilliant teaching and research track record and for being one of the leading figures in the field of linguistics, founder of variationist and quantitative sociolinguistics”

Eugenio Bulygin

2011-2012 academic year
“For his brilliant, extensive career in teaching and research in the fields of Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy, he has contributed his indisputable and beneficial mastery in training several generations of philosophers of law both in Latin America and in Europe”

Ernesto Garzón Valdés

2011-2012 academic year
“For his brilliant, extensive career in teaching and research in the fields of Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy, he has contributed his indisputable and beneficial mastery in training several generations of philosophers of law both in Latin America and in Europe”

Joan Manuel Serrat

2010-2011 academic year
“For the dignity and power of his words and the expressive value of his original songs, for the dissemination of the works of some of the best poets of the twentieth century, for his civil and political defence of the Catalan language and culture during the Franco regime, and for having contributed, through his music, to spreading Catalan around the world”

Jordi Nadal

2010-2011 academic year
“For being one of the key figures of Spanish historiography in recent decades, and his undisputed expertise in the education of several generations of historians and economists”

Michelle Bachelet

2009-2010 academic year
“For having promoted policies of historical reparation and reconciliation and improving the levels of social justice, paying special attention to the female population”

Alois M. Haas

2009-2010 academic year
“For his remarkable academic track record in the field of theology and the history of religions and mystique, and the extraordinary social and cultural merit that the donation of his private library has meant to UPF, consisting of some 40,000 volumes of great bibliographical value”

Robert M. Solow

2007-2008 academic year
“For his crucial contributions in a variety of fields of economic science, which have constituted a starting point for modern economic theory of growth”

Woody Allen

2006-2007 academic year
“He is a leading figure not only of the cinema but of contemporary culture as a whole”

Miquel Batllori

2001-2002 academic year
“For his plentiful, excellent research into the history of Catalonia, which has contributed to projecting Catalan culture and putting it on the map of world history”

Desmond Tutu

1999-2000 academic year
“In recognition of his person and his activism in the defence of the values that are connected with the respect for human rights, justice, tolerance, equality and freedom of individuals, regardless of their status, race and religion”