Honorary doctorates 2019

On the occasion of each lustrum, the University confers honorary doctorates on prominent individuals, both domestic and international, whose work and life have a significant bearing on Humanistic Studies.  On January 29 2019, at the ceremony to mark the 30th Dies Natalis of the University of Humanistic Studies, three honorary doctorates were conferred on:


Prof. George Fitchett is a pioneer in the field of chaplaincy research in the United States. With many years of experience as a chaplain, trainer and supervisor, he is one of the most prominent researchers in the field. Fitchett has received numerous awards over the course of his academic career, and the many projects in which he served as principal investigator demonstrate his immense contribution to developing research in chaplaincy and to studying religion/spirituality and health care generally. He is also the founder of Transforming Chaplaincy – an international research institute on chaplaincy – and he has put chaplaincy on the map nationally by winning a grant from the National Institute of Health for research into the profession. 


Prof. Philip Kitcher is a philosopher with a broad orientation in both research and education, who is well versed in other scientific disciplines as well, particularly in biology.  He has for instance performed research in collaboration with Frans de Waal. His work field includes philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology. He is specifically interested in the ethical and political constraints of scientific research, in the development and history of altruism and morality, and in the purported conflict between science and religion. With an extensive publication list, Kitcher is a leading scholar and affiliated with one of the top universities in the United States. 



Hartmut Rosa is one of the most prominent intellectuals of today. Carrying on in the tradition of phenomenology and critical theory, he analyses processes of humanisation and dehumanisation in contemporary society. Rosa offers an intriguing interpretation of our society by describing it as subject to social acceleration. Practices that cannot or can hardly accelerate, such as health care and democracy, appear lethargic by contrast. According to his analysis, acceleration leads to alienation. Introducing the concept of resonance, Rosa aims to offer concrete proposals for new forms of organisation in a post-capitalist society. His work has had a significant impact on a wide range of research fields, from education, Bildung and health care to the economy and sustainability. His work has been translated into numerous languages and has won various awards. Rosa is highly esteemed by sociologists and philosophers.

In 2019, honorary doctorates have been conferred on Prof. George Fitchett, Prof Philip Kitcher and Prof Hartmut Rosa.