Dr. Peter Suedfeld receives honourary degree from the University of Nîmes

Dr. Peter Suedfeld, professor emeritus of psychology at UBC, was conferred with an honourary doctorate degree from the University of Nîmes. This is the first occasion a ‘doctor honoris causa’ degree has been granted by the University of Nîmes, a French university in the Academy of Montpellier.

“I’m honoured to have been the inaugural recipient of the honorary doctorate from Nîmes,” says Suedfeld. “Nîmes is a relatively new university and it encourages interdisciplinary research that explores issues outside the traditional mainstream. It also values basic research that has potential for applications.”

The university has an active environmental psychology program which explores how people function in unusual environments marked by isolation, confinement, reduced stimulation, and danger. These areas align with Suedfeld’s considerable body of research; he has spent his career exploring human resiliency to understand how we cope with the world around us. His research focuses on understanding the psychological effects associated with isolation in polar and space stations, as well as surviving natural disasters, genocide, and other traumatic events. His research findings were among the first to emphasize the positive aspects and consequences of these experiences.

“The President’s introduction emphasized my focus on going beyond the widespread clinical emphasis on the adverse effects of challenging and stressful experiences to also look at positive aspects such as resilience and post-stress growth,” says Suedfeld, who was awarded the Canadian Honours Polar Medal in 2016. “Aside from the recognition—and the chance to wear the elegant yellow and black robe—I’m very pleased at the appreciation of my decades of interest in offbeat places and experiences.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Suedfeld!

The above photos are from the University of Nîmes.