By Mike Rowbottom

Oscar Pistorius receives honorary degree from Strathclyde UniversityNovember 12 - Oscar Pistorius was awarded an honorary degree at the University of Strathclyde today during a graduation ceremony at Barony Hall.

Pistorius is one of five distinguished figures being honoured by the University this autumn, the others being Professor Neil Gershenfeld, Director of the Centre for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Doctor of the University), Sir Paul Nurse, the British geneticist, cell biologist and Nobel Prize Winner (Doctor of Science), Professor Anne Glover, EU Chief Scientific Advisor (Doctor of Science) and  Fran Healy, lead singer of Scottish pop band Travis (Doctor of the University).

The award builds on the University's relationship with the South African athlete, who gave the keynote speech at Strathclyde's Sporting Prosthetics Conference last year.

Having made history by competing in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this year, Pistorius is seen as being a role model for sports and physical activity for all, and is being recognised for his sporting success as well as his work with humanitarian causes.

He received the honorary degree after meeting with patients, students and staff of the University's National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics within the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is helping to develop the health technologies of the future.

Pistorius said: "I am incredibly honoured to be awarded an honorary degree from such a prestigious University as Strathclyde – I have had a great history working with them and believe they lead the way in prosthetic research and development and have very much enjoyed the work I have done with them in the past and look forward to continuing a great relationship with them.

Oscar Pistorius with artificial limbOscar Pistorius gave a keynote address to Strathclyde's Sporting Prosthetics Conference last year

"Today is a very proud day for me.

"The people of Scotland are always so warm and welcoming towards me and I think of it as my second home here.

"Thank you to everyone at the University for their support, this truly does cap what has been an amazing year for me."

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University, said: "We are delighted to welcome Oscar back to the University.

"His sporting success, combined with his determination to help people affected by disability, has made him an excellent role model, not only for our graduating students here at Strathclyde, but for millions of people across the globe.

"As a leading technological University, we are committed to 'useful learning' – teaching and research that has an impact on society.

"It is fitting that Oscar's visit has included a visit to our Department for Biomedical Bioengineering – an excellent example of what can be achieved by bringing together innovative technologies, determined people and excellent teaching to improve lives."

Professor Bernie Conway, Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde,added: "There can be no doubt that Oscar Pistorius is a remarkable person and athlete, where the will to prepare to win is strong but is rooted in a positive life philosophy that centres on trust, equality and respect for others.

"A winner whose winning habit has been powered by dedication, commitment and an unshakable determination to live a life without limitations or barriers, Oscar's road to success has been both inspirational and immensely challenging.

"We see our own mission to provide training and innovation that can better people's lives and with this honorary award to Oscar, we wish to recognise not only his remarkable past achievements, but his future commitment and drive to help people and children affected by disability."

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