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The UWI’s Vice Chancellor Among 18 Honoured in Scotland

For Release Upon Receipt - Friday, September 20, 2013

Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton were honoured in Scotland at the 600th Anniversary of Academia of the University of St. Andrews on September 13.

They were among 18 honourees lauded by St. Andrews University as “some of the best minds of our generation, leading academics from around the globe”, as the university acknowledged “the outstanding achievements of women and men whose thoughtful scholarship and outstanding integrity has changed both our world, and the way we understand our place in it.”

Vice Chancellor Harris was hailed as “not only an outstanding university leader but a man whose very distinguished record in medical research is widely recognized, particularly in the field of technology.”

It noted the Vice Chancellor’s work in 1983 in the field of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, as a Welcome Fellow in the Rheumatology Unit at the Royal Post Graduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital in London.

In 1983 this disease was not well understood. It is a multisystem disease in which autoantibodies and immune complexes may cause cellular and tissue damage and is often elusive and difficult to diagnose with many tissues and organs potentially affected. It is prevalent in women, particularly between 25-35 years of age, and some studies show that Afro-Caribbean women are even more commonly affected. Along with Doctors Aziz Gharavi and Graham Hughes in London, he defined an associated disorder, the antiphospholipid syndrome, major features of which are blood clotting and pregnancy losses. They devised a diagnostic test for this disorder (the anticardiolipin test). He developed world-wide standards for this test often referred to as the ‘Harris Standards’.

Mrs. Clinton was honoured “for her efforts in championing the cause of education, human rights, democracy, civil society and promoting opportunities for females around the world.”

Among the 18 conferred with honorary degrees at St. Andrews were Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, classicist Professor Mary Beard, inventor of the world wide web Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, particle physicist Professor Peter Higgs, anthropologist Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern and the philosopher, and Professor Nancy Cartwright.

St. Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world, founded in 1413.


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