Michigan State University professor receives honor from European university

Roger E. Hamlin, Michigan State University professor emeritus, was presented with one of the highest honors that a European university can award an individual.

Hamlin receives his award

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Roger E. Hamlin, Michigan State University (MSU) professor emeritus, was presented with one of the highest honors that a European university can award an individual. He received a degree honoris causa from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, Romania on Oct. 24.

Others who have received this award from this same university include Prince Charles and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Honoris causa, is similar to an honorary doctoral degree in the U.S., except that it is offered less often, is presented at a special ceremony, not graduation, and selection must be based entirely on achievement and intellectual contribution.

The award was presented in a special ceremony attended by the president and vice presidents of the university and the University Senate. Also present was Emil Boc, the current mayor of Cluj-Napoca and former prime minister of Romania, and an array of community, national and university leaders. The ceremony took place with full academic regalia.

Hamlin was offered the award because of his scholarly contributions to his academic disciplines as well as his contributions to the development of the university and to the Romanian nation.

In his speech, Boc described Hamlin as “one of founders of the modern, postcommunist Romanian state.”

Also during this ceremony, Hamlin received a second, unexpected award from the city of Cluj-Napoca  for “20 years of outstanding service.”

Cluj-Napoca is a technical assistance sister city of East Lansing.

 “The ceremony was magnificent, and repeatedly highlighted the strong relationship between Babes-Bolyai and Michigan State universities over the past 22 years,” Hamlin said. “The ceremony also confirmed the power of such a university-to-university relationship in its effect on the larger society.

As an MSU Urban and Regional Planning faculty member in the School of Planning, Design and Construction, Hamlin began working with the Romanian academic leaders in 1995. He built a partnership between MSU and Babes-Bolyai University starting soon after the fall of the dictatorial communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

Hamlin developed a technical assistance relationship between the host cities of the two universities and has been involved in the development of courses, curricula, mid-career training for public officials, joint research and multinational conference development.

He was formally designated an advisor to the prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

“Dr. Hamlin’s dedication to urban planning in Romania was enduring, and he engaged several of his MSU colleagues in the work, creating professional networks that will hopefully bear intellectual fruit for years to come,” said Scott Loveridge, interim director of the School of Planning, Design and Construction.

Marius Profiroiu, vice-rector of the Academy of Economic Studies at the Bucharest University of Economic Sciences and past president of the National Institute and Schools of Public Administration, recently said, ”I have personally known Professor Hamlin for more than 15 years. Over the years, he has contributed greatly to the development of higher public administration in Romania, and Central and Eastern Europe.”

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