Kay Raseroka at 2007 IFLA Congress in Durban, South Africa

On 7 June 2010, Kay Raseroka will receive the title of Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta–Canada.

Kay served as IFLA President from 2003-2005 and is currently the director of the University of Botswana Library.

In the official announcement, Linda Hughes, Chancellor of the University of Alberta, wrote:  "On behalf of the university senate, it gives me great pleasure to announce an outstanding slate of leading minds and talented people whose service to society inspires our community."

The IFLA community congratulates Kay Raseroka with this outstanding symbol of recognition.

Honorary degrees have been a tradition in American higher education for three-hundred years. The degrees are conferred honoris causa ‘for the sake of honor.’ The University of Alberta distinguishes three types of awards: Doctor of Laws, honoris causa; Doctor of Letters, honoris causa; or Doctor of Science, honoris causa. Honorary degrees are generally awarded for one of three reasons: To recognize extraordinary intellectual or artistic achievement; to honor service to the University and to the wider society; and to recognize men and women who might serve as examples to the institution’s student body. An honorary degree, it is said, honors both the grantee and the spirit of the institution

Kay’s distinguised career includes serving as the first African president of the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions. She also founded Botswana’s Children’s Information Trust, and has devoted more than 35 years to promoting the importance of oral learning in indigenous communities.

She will be one of the 12 recipients of the University of Alberta’s highest honor. At the same occasion, three other individuals will receive a Honorary Doctor of Laws for their
outstanding contributions to the library community: Hugh Anson-Cartwright from Canada, James Neal and Brewster Kahle from the USA.

In a first reaction Kay Raseroka said:

"May I take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and pay tribute to you all for the support you afforded me in numerous ways in the past; contributions you made, individually and collectively, such that I was empowered to serve through IFLA, the global voice of the library and information profession.

There are hundreds of colleagues to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for allowing me work with and learn from them. As members, we debated issues through various standing committees, always striving to be supportive of the professional ideals that unite us. Even when the going was rough: we stood on the shoulders of giants, learnt from their experience and, together took small incremental steps that hopefully made contributions to IFLA and were helpful to the next generation of leaders of our profession.

So, I consider the conferral of the Honorary Doctorate to me, as symbol for the broader IFLA community that had the courage to take a risk on a developing country candidate and assisted her to step up to the plate and serve IFLA as an Institution, to the best of her ability. "

In June 2010 Kay Raseroka will retire from the University of Botswana Library.

Additional information on honorary degrees at the University of Alberta is also available.