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The Governing Council of the Open University of Catalonia agreed, on September 4, 2002, to appoint Dr. Josep Laporte i Salas doctor honoris causa in recognition of his decisive contribution to the creation of the UOC.

Sr. Gabriel Ferrat i Pascual, rector of the Open University of Catalonia, is therefore delighted to invite you to the investiture of Dr. Josep Laporte Salas as doctor honoris causa on Monday March 3, 2003, at 12 o'clock, in the UOC assembly hall, Avinguda Tibidabo, 39, in Barcelona.

The president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Rt. Honourable Sr. Jordi Pujol i Soley, will preside the event.

Confirmation is required before February 24 at:
93 253 23 14

But.... what does appointing somebody doctor honoris causa mean?

The Gran Enciclopdia Catalana defines this term as "a Latin expression that one uses to refer to degrees or academic honours awarded, as an honorary title, to a person in virtue of their reputation or in recognition of their merits".

Therefore, universities have traditionally appointed the title of doctor honoris causa to outstanding persons in their fields of study or research. Moreover, the future doctor honoris causa does not necessarily have to be academically linked to the university. It is thanks to this ceremony and the attributes the rector presents to the conferee that this person is, from thereon, forever linked to the university.

Why has the UOC not appointed any doctors honoris causa before now?

As explained by rector Gabriel Ferrat "it has always been maintained that Josep Laporte would have to be the first honoris causa of the UOC, but I also felt that it would not have been either ethical or appropriate to appoint any honoris causa without the UOC appointing one of its own people first". Therefore, once professor Joan Torrent had received his doctorat cum laude in late July, the first Governing Council of this academic year, in early September, decided to name Dr. Laporte the first Honoris Causa of our University.

Why has the UOC appointed Dr. Laporte honoris causa?

In 1994, the Generalitat de Catalunya took the initiative to found the Open University of Catalonia in order to organise a distance education organ that was adequate for the needs and character of Catalonia. Dr. Josep Laporte, at the time the person with the main political responsibility for Universities and Research, was the promoter of the project.

Thanks to that impetus, on October 6, 1994, the Open University of Catalonia Foundation was constituted, a body integrated by the Catalan Federation of Savings Banks, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Barcelona, the Catalan Radio and Television Corporation and the Generalitat de Catalunya. These institutions agreed to create the Open University of Barcelona and appoint Sr. Gabriel Ferrat as its first rector.

On March 29 1995, all the parliamentary groups of the Parlament de Catalunya unanimously passed the Law of Recognition of the UOC.

On the day that he assumed his new role, the rector thanked the Government, and most especially Dr. Laporte, the Catalan universities, civil society, local organisations and social agents for having created the jurisdictional framework needed to make the UOC an efficient and non-bureaucratised organisation. In the words of the rector, "the UOC was initiated as a project promoted by the desire to create a new distance-education university run in an efficient and flexible way, with a mentality geared towards public service and with the efficiency and profitability of resources that determines a good business". And all that without losing sight of the aims of any university: "to develop knowledge and research, to train good professionals, and guarantee nations the permanent regeneration of thinking, techniques and cultures and most especially, provide the benefit of training to all citizens".

The general secretary of the ICDE (International Council for Distance Education), Mr. Reider Roll, shares this vision. In a speech on October 31, 1995, at the inauguration of the UOC, this expert on distance education explained that "with the foundation of the UOC, Catalonia has given the world a very special gift. The world will learn through the operations of the virtual university, with the opportunity of starting from nothing, without models or the moderation of an obsolete organisational infrastructure. Because this is a university that is focussed on action, able to make quick, autonomous decisions without bureaucratic structures and traditions that often tend to slow down progress and development".