Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies awards honorary degrees

The Pontifical Institute in Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) has conferred Honorary Doctorates to three individuals on Saturday during a convocation ceremony at St. Basil's Collegiate Church in Toronto.

The three people awarded the honour were Mario Cortellucci, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Umberto Eco of the University of Bologna and Elizabeth A.R. Brown of Brooklyn College and City University of New York.

Mr. Cortellucci is President of the Cortel Group of Companies, comprising of a variety of diversified and highly successful enterprises. His philanthropic efforts have benefited numerous causes including education for children and youth in need, health care facilities and First Nations communities. In 2008, Mr. Cortellucci was installed as the Grand Prior of Canada for the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta (Ecumenical Order).

He was also recognized by the Government of Italy for his sponsorship of Casa Italia, a permanent exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario promoting Italian Art and Culture.

Umberto Eco is an Italian medievalist, semiotician, philosopher, literary critic and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose, which he wrote in 1980. He was also voted number two in Prospect Magazine's 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals.

Professor Brown is a leading scholar in the areas of feudalism and Capetian France.

The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies is a research institute in the University of Toronto that is dedicated to advanced studies in the culture of the Middle Ages.

The Institute was founded in 1929 as the Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the St. Michael's College of the University of Toronto. √Čtienne Gilson, then of the Sorbonne, was instrumental in its foundation, along with Henry Carr and Edmund J. McCorkell of the Congregation of St. Basil and St. Michael's College.

In 1939 it was granted a pontifical charter by which it was given the power to grant the licentiate and doctorate degrees in medieval studies.