Transcription of J. K. Rowling Receiving the Benefactor's Award from University of EdinburghJ.K. Rowling
As you may recall, J. K. Rowling received the Benefactor's Award from the University of Edinburgh earlier this week. Thanks to IHOR we now have both a video of Rowling receiving the award as well as a transcription. Both can be viewed below.
'Madam Chancellor, in the name and by the authority of the University Court, I have the honour to present for the bestowal of the distinction of University Benefactor Joanne Kathleen Rowling.
Jo Rowling needs hardly any introduction. She is the author of one of the most successful series of books ever written, and her stories are loved by children and adults alike all over the world. Jo started writing the Harry Potter series during a delayed Manchester to London train journey, and continued in coffee shops here in the heart of Edinburgh.
The final book in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, was the fastest-selling book in both the UK and the USA, with sales well over 400 million copies worldwide. Jo is a remarkable author who has achieved several international distinctions, including Order of the British Empire in 2001, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from France in 2009, and honorary degrees from several Universities across the world, including the University of Edinburgh and Harvard, USA. But perhaps most enviable of all, she was awarded in 2007 a Blue Peter Gold Badge!
However it is not for her writing achievements that we honour her today. JK Rowling has supported a wide number of charities and causes including Comic Relief, the Maggies centres for cancer care and Médecins Sans Frontières. She founded and is actively involved in the charity Lumos, previously known as the Children’s High Level Group, which aims to make life better for young people in care worldwide; and she is also honorary president of Gingerbread, a charity working with lone parents and their children. Jo has also set up the Volant Charitable Trust, named after her mother’s family, to support a wide number of causes, particularly where social deprivation affects women and children.
In 2010 Jo Rowling made a donation of £10 million to the University of Edinburgh to establish the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. The clinic is named after Jo’s mother, Anne, who died after complications related to multiple sclerosis at the age of only 45- the age at which Jo made this most significant gift to Edinburgh. While Multiple Sclerosis will be at the heart of the research initiative, people with many other diseases caused by neurodegeneration, such as motor neurone disease, are likely to benefit from discoveries made here. All neurodegenerative disorders are progressive and currently incurable. The work we are conducting in these areas could have a profound and lasting effect on hundreds of thousands of patients and their families worldwide.
At the time of making this transformative gift to the University, Jo also gave us the following quotation about her mother:
“I know that she would rather have had her name on this clinic than any statue, flower garden, or commemorative plaque, so this donation is on her behalf too, and in gratitude for everything she gave me in her far too short life.”
Jo went on:
“I cannot think of anything more important or of more lasting value than to help the University attract world-class minds in the field of neuroregeneration.”
Madam Chancellor, this is a wonderful and most remarkable act of philanthropy. In recognition of the major impact that this gift will make to the University of Edinburgh, and the hope it has already given to thousands of people with incurable diseases, I invite you to bestow upon Doctor Joanne Kathleen Rowling the distinction of University Benefactor.’
Many thanks again to IHOR.