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Honorary Graduate's Speech: Ms Lynne Brindley, Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Chief Executive of the British Library, Lynne Brindley's honorary degree was awarded for her contribution the national and international development of library and information services. She lives in the local area. She is a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds and a member of the Library and Information Commission since 1998. She received his honorary degree on Thursday, July 11 during the afternoon degree ceremony. The following is her response after the degree ceremony oration.

Vice Chancellor, fellow graduands, ladies and gentlemen. Itís a very great personal pleasure to receive an Honorary Degree from the University of Leicester today. I think any honours that you achieve when still alive temporarily create moments of meditation and some insecurity.†
Everybody has the "Why me?" syndrome, everybody looks back at the pieces of work and if I did Iím sure I could never do it again. And few people are not secretly surprised to feel that theyíve made a mark and few people do not respond to saying I am afraid it is undeserved, but of course if your peers and people you respect turn to you wish to give you an honour and thatís the moment you have to ask why was it deserved, and in finding that out the only response must be actually to deserve it more in the future.†
During our careers we face choices of direction and focus. Iíve been privileged in a variety of ways to contribute to the creation of world-class information systems and services to support learning and research and our knowledge economy. Iím currently privileged to be entrusted with the scientific and cultural memory of our nation as it's manifest over the centuries and published in other forms and in one of the greatest libraries in the world.
But a national library can rest on the past, and endeavours are now to ensure a library and, increasingly, a digital library, which will be of real value to the nation in the next hundreds of years.
This honour supports me in redoubling my determination in this course. Iíd like to add my congratulations to those of who are graduating today, you - with the support of your tutors and academic colleagues assembled here - have completed a journey I know of hard work and I hope much fun. I am proud to share the occasion with you, all your families, and your friends and supporters. There is no-one who can take away these achievements and this experience from you.† 

Itís customary to give some advice on these, and that seemed to me rather presumptuous, but perhaps one thought I have to say is be nice to those who you meet on your way up in life, as sure as anything you are going to meet them again on your way down! 

But to finish, at the end of today, I will take my honour away with me and put it under the bed in a drawer and occasionally get it out to look at it because one hopes that one will not have rested on the laurels on this honour but maybe have made ones-self unpopular again, unfashionable again, difficult again in order to speak of the future and not of the past.†
Lifeís curiosity and lifeís paradoxes are still there for all of us to find, and so I would like to thank University of Leicester for supporting me in this way. I will now look to this University as one that I give honour to, having received this honour from you. Thank you very much.

July 2002

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Last updated: 19 July 2002 17:00
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