Issue date: 24 November 2004

ISSUE DATE: 24/11/04

The University of the West of England will award the honorary degree of Doctor of Science to Professor Peter Haggett CBE ScD FBA. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of the Built Environment on Friday 26 November at 11.30 at Bristol Cathedral.

Peter Haggett was born in Pawlett, Somerset and attended Dr Morgan’s School, Bridgwater. He read Geography at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge before becoming an Assistant Lecturer at University College, London. He moved to Cambridge as a Demonstrator and Lecturer, where he completed his MA in 1957, before becoming a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. At Cambridge, he organised the Madingley Conferences during summer vacations to enable school teachers to keep abreast of new ideas and developments in geography.

Whilst holding research and teaching posts around the world, in countries such as Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Peter Haggett gained his degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in 1969 and Doctor of Science in 1985. From 1966 until 1988, he held the Chair of Urban and Regional Geography at the University of Bristol; within that period he spent three years as Provost of the Institute for Advanced Studies and a year as Acting Vice-Chancellor.

Now retired, Professor Haggett continues in the role of Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. His research and teaching interests centre on human geography and epidemiology, with special reference to the spatial diffusion of diseases. His current research, with Dr Andrew Cliffs, on the changing global geography of virus diseases is supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Haggett has served as a member of: the South West Economic Planning Council; The Council of the Royal Geographical Society; the University Grants Committee; and, the National Radiological Protection Board. His many other roles have included: Chairman of the Wellcome Trust’s History of Medicine Committee: Vice-President of the British Academy: and, a Governor of the Centre for Environmental Studies.

An author of many books and research papers on related geographical topics, Professor Haggett’s publications have long underpinned a great deal of geography teaching. His book, Geography: a modern synthesis, first published in 1972, has been used by generations of geographers and been revised four times and translated into six languages. More recent publications include: The Geographical Structure of Epidemics and the World Atlas of Epidemic Diseases. With Torsten Hägerstrand, he is one of only two geographers among the founding members of the European Academy.

Professor Haggett has received many international and national awards. He is a gold medallist of both the Royal Geographical Society and the American Geographical Society. His other distinctions include: the Scottish Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; the Meritorious Contribution Award of the Association of American Geographers; Lauréat d’Honneur of the International Geographical Union; the Prix Internationale de Géographie of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; and, the Anders Retzius Gold Medal (Sweden). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1992 and awarded a CBE in 1993.

More locally, Professor Haggett has supported the Bristol Branch of the Geographical Association and served as a Trustee of the Bristol Municipal Charities and Bath’s Royal Literary and Scientific Institute. In retirement, Professor Haggett continues to live in Somerset and remains actively engaged with local communities. His entry in ‘Who’s Who’ lists his interests as: Somerset history; and, cricket.

The Honorary Degree is awarded in recognition of Professor Peter Haggett’s reputation as a scholar and researcher, particularly in the field of human geography, and of the inspiration he has provided for all those who teach and learn about geography and its relevance.

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