A record-breaking 366 graduating Ph.Ds at Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus proved that the word “handicapped” is obsolete.
Moments before the awards ceremony Sunday in Jerusalem, Canadian Paralympic athlete and disability rights activist, one of ten honorary doctorate recipients, invited the graduates to stand in gratitude to everyone who helped them achieve their objective.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow honorary doctorate recipients, Hansen said, "At this moment of celebration we are reminded that no one ever gets anywhere on their own. I hope that all of you are reminded that it is because of your faculty and staff, family and friends and community, that you are here at this moment celebrating success, and I invite the graduates to stand and express your gratitude."
Hansen, who was paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 15 and became a champion athlete and advocate for people with disabilities, told the graduates, "I feel like I'm one of the luckiest people on the planet being with you in this special place, Hebrew University, feeling like we have Jerusalem in the palm of our hand, believing that new goals and new dreams will be unfolding."
"As you go forward there will be challenges, times when you will be struggling and thinking of giving up hope. I encourage you to realize it is not what happens to you in these times but what you do with it. I also believe that anything is possible. I believe anything is possible."
Other recipients of honorary doctorates included Bedouin rights activist Amal Elsana Alh’jooj , pioneering psychologist Reuven Feuerstein, French academia leader Monique Canto-Sperber, playwright and director Michael Gurevitch, Australian businessman and community leader Harry Hoffman and philanthropist Susan Koret.
Economist Dr. Bernardo Kligsberg, historian Sir Fergus Millar, business and economics leader Eitan Raff, materials scientist and Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman, Canadian political scientist Janice Gross Stein, and geologist Edward Stolper also received honorary degrees.