New York University President Emeritus and former Member of Congress John Brademas has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Barcelona, the 54th such degree he has received.
Brademas is a 1949 graduate of Harvard University — the recipient of a B.A., with high honors — and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1950 to 1953.
At Oxford, he earned a Ph.D. with a dissertation on the anarcho-syndicalist movement in Spain from the mid-1920s through the first year of the Spanish Civil War, 1936.
The anarchist movement in Spain was centered in Catalonia and, therefore, his research brought him to Barcelona on a number of occasions. His study was published in Spanish in Barcelona in 1974 by Ariel under the title, Anarcosyndicalismo y revolucíon en España (1930-1937), in a translation by Dr. Joaquín Romero Maura.
In presenting the degree on Dec. 1, 2008, Professor Mercedes Vilanova spoke of Brademas’ service in the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana for twenty-two years (1959-1981), as President (1981-1992) of New York University and current position, since 1992, as NYU President Emeritus.
Professor Vilanova described Brademas’ record as author in Congress of legislation to support schools, colleges and universities; libraries and museums; and programs for children, the elderly, the disabled; and of his service as Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives.
She also spoke of his leadership in transforming NYU from a regional commuter institution into a national and international residential research university — now, she said, “one of the premier universities in the world, a rival of Ivy League universities like Harvard or Yale.” She added that Brademas had been named “one of the four most important persons in American higher education.”
Professor Vilanova also noted that Brademas in 1997 established at NYU the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, for the study of modern Spain.
In his remarks on receiving the honorary degree, Dr. Brademas spoke of his research on the anarchist movement in Spain as well as of his years as a Member of Congress.
He paid tribute to an “old friend,” the former Mayor of Barcelona and President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Pasqual Maragall, who was present at the ceremony.
Brademas also spoke of the establishment at NYU of a Catalan Center, led by Dr. Mary Ann Newman, who was also present at the ceremony, as was John Healey, Director of the NYU program in Madrid.
Presiding at the ceremony, the Rector of the University, Dr. Dídac Ramírez i Sarrió, said, “Dr. Brademas, to receive an honorary degree from one of the outstanding universities of Europe, indeed, the world, is profoundly gratifying.”
“I am especially appreciative of this honor because of my interest throughout most of my life in Spain and, in particular, Catalonia.”
Although Dr. Brademas delivered his response in English, he concluded with several comments in Catalan.