Report on the investiture ceremony of Tony Bates as Doctor Honoris Causa by the UOC

On 16 June 2005, the UOC invested Doctor Tony Bates, the former Director of the Distance Education and Technology in the Continuing Studies unit at the University of British Columbia, as Doctor Honoris Causa. Doctor Bates is the second Doctor Honoris Causa to be honoured by the UOC, after the first in March 2003 of the former Councillor for Health, Education and Universities, Josep Laporte, deceased in February 2005.

The investiture ceremony was held at the UOC's research institute, the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), and was attended, as well as by Tony Bates, by the Rector of the UOC, Gabriel Ferrat, and the Vice-Rector for International Relations, Francisco Rubio, who acted as sponsor.


The investiture ceremony was held at the UOC's research institute, the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3).

Doctor Bates stressed "the vision" of Rector Ferrat in conceiving of the UOC so early on in the history of the World Wide Web, and observed that it was a unique university as it "geared its programmes to the needs of the information society". The new Doctor Honoris Causa stated that "faced with the great challenges before it, the UOC has shown that it has the capacity, the determination and the skills to adapt and grow. Because of this, I am enormously proud to be associated with such a dynamic, innovative and relevant organisation, and I sincerely thank you for this great honour."


Tony Bates said the UOC has shown that it has the capacity, the determination and the skills to adapt and grow.

Multicultural context

In a speech given largely in Catalan, Doctor Bates highlighted the capacity of the UOC to work in a multicultural context. "In a society geared towards technology, there is the risk of forgetting one's own cultural identity", he averred, emphasising the fact that the UOC offers a great deal of its training in Catalan and that student numbers continue to grow.

The newly-appointed Doctor Honoris Causa noted that the UOC had been able to adapt to change at a time when the English language is predominant. "In an economy based on knowledge", he said, [the stock market value of] "Google is higher than that of General Motors, which is shocking." He then added that "against all predictions, the English-speaking countries have not been able to create a hegemony on the Internet."

He also commented on how the UOC had been able to adapt a local language such as Catalan to the Net at a time when the directives of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) point to the fact that international programmes are carried out in English, adding that "we have to be capable of creating multilingual and multicultural programmes in order to triumph in Europe."

At the end of his speech, Tony Bates stated that the challenge posed by virtual learning at the UOC is to "stay faithful to the political and cultural roots of Catalonia while, at the same time, opening up to the outside world."


A model of reference

Doctor Bates received the award certificate from the Rector of the UOC, who praised him as a "model of reference" as he is "the researcher and professor who has known best how to see the possibilities of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in learning". The Rector of the UOC also bestowed the University's bronze medal on him, and Francisco Rubio presented him with a digital abacus created on the basis of 1 to 0, the base of the binary code.



Tony Bates received from the Rector of the UOC, Gabriel Ferrat, the award certificate and the University's bronze medal.

Rector Ferrat summed up the three aspects comprising the relationship between Tony Bates and the UOC: mutual interest, enrichment and commitment.

In his role as sponsor, the Vice-Rector for International Relations, Francisco Rubio, illustrated the human dimension of Tony Bates beyond the scientific profile. He defined him as a professional who is "open to change, innovative, creative, with great critical sense and a great sense of humour."

Rubio also commented on the "intercultural vision and action" of Doctor Bates, of whom he mentioned that he often worked with researchers from all over the world in his team in British Columbia. Not in vain was Vice-Rector Rubio one of the visiting professors in Doctor Bates' team in the Canadian city of Vancouver.


In his role as sponsor, the Vice-Rector for International Relations, Francisco Rubio, illustrated
the human dimension of Tony Bates beyond the scientific profile.