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Honorary Doctorate for Dr Gopalkrishna Gandhi – Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University awards Gandhi’s grandson Honorary Doctorate in Education

Wednesday, 7 June, 2023

On Monday 5 June 2023, Dr Gopalkrishna Gandhi - grandson of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi - was presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Education by Bath Spa University as part of a bespoke conferment ceremony.

Each year, Bath Spa confers honorary awards to individuals who have made a notable and sustained contribution to their academic fields or profession, to society, or to the University. Dr Gandhi was recognised for his contribution to education, politics and cultural life, specifically in India - a country with which Bath Spa holds strong connections.

As part of the Honorary Degree conferment event at the University’s Newton Park Campus, staff and students were given the opportunity to attend a meet, greet and question and answer session with Dr Gandhi whose lecture focused on 'Reflections on our Times and Tide'.

Speaking on the special occasion, Professor John Strachan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Bath Spa University, said:

“Bath Spa University was delighted to welcome Dr Gopalkrishna Gandhi to Bath and to recognise his extraordinary and transformative contribution to Indian educational, political and cultural life over many years."

“This is a considerable achievement and we are very glad that our University, with its close teaching and research collaborative links with India, is able to recognise that contribution in this way.”

Accepting his Honorary Doctorate, Dr Gandhi said:

“Thank you very much. I am deeply honoured and deeply moved by this Honorary Doctorate in Education from Bath Spa University. I hope that I deserve it.”

Born in 1945 as the youngest of four children, as a child, Dr Gandhi was used to his grandfather the Mahatma Gandhi and his associates visiting and staying in his familial home. These precious moments with his grandfather no doubt had a significant impact on his future ambitions.

As an adult, Dr Gandhi went on to read English Literature and History at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, India. Currently Distinguished Professor of History at Ashoka University, Sonepat, India, he contributes monthly columns to The Telegraph (Kolkata) and The Hindustan Times (New Delhi). He also writes on occasion for The Hindu (Chennai) and Hindustan (New Delhi).

As a member of the Indian Administrative Service, Dr Gandhi has held administrative positions in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and at the national headquarters in Delhi. He was Secretary to the Vice President of India (1985-1987) and Secretary to the President of India (1997-2000). Positions held by him outside India have included those of Director of The Nehru Centre in the High Commission of India, London, High Commissioner for India in South Africa, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, and Ambassador of India in Norway and Iceland. He was Governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009.

All Bath Spa staff, with input from students, are able to propose potential recipients of honorary awards, and nominees are approved by the University’s Board of Governors. Later this year, at its annual summer graduation ceremonies, the University will announce more of its 2023 latest honorary graduates and formally induct them into the Bath Spa community with their own conferment ceremonies.

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