Institute for Social Renewal

Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

The Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law commemorates the University’s historic commitment to civic responsibility.

In December 2013 Professor Sir Michael Marmot became a special honorary graduate of Newcastle University. Sir Michael Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities, and how people’s social circumstances affect their health, for more than 35 years.  He chaired the World Health Organisation’s Commission on Social Determinants in Health, and the landmark Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010 (the Marmot Review), which published its report 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' in February of that year.

This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide for the World Health Organisation/Europe. His work as Principal Investigator on the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants, which linked disease with an individual’s control over their life, fundamentally changed the public health focus of preventing ill health from lifestyle behaviours to social causes.

Registrar of Newcastle University, Dr John Hogan, said: “Newcastle University has a long tradition of awarding Honorary degrees to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field – people who, through talent, endeavour and determination have made a significant contribution to society, to the North East region, or to the academic and cultural development of Newcastle University. We are proud to honour an individual whose outstanding contributions to society embody the spirit and values of our societal challenge theme of Social Renewal."

You can view a recording of Sir Michael Marmot's speech taken from the December 2013 ceremony below.


Dr Martin Luther King

The Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal was launched in 2012 – but the University’s commitments to the ideas behind it stretch back many years. No event defines this more than when Dr Martin Luther King was made an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law on at the University on 13 November 1967. Newcastle was the only UK University to honour the inspirational campaigner during his lifetime.

You can see the film of his degree ceremony and speech, where he talked about the struggle against racism.