The ceremonies were held in the chapel. As I looked across at
the rows of gentlemen opposite me, in their black gowns and white, pleated bibs,
I felt as though I were looking at an old painting. I decided that we still had
a good deal of Dutch blood in the United States, for many of the faces reminded
me of people I have seen in different groups in our country.
When Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina had arrived, the rector gave
his address. Then I was presented for promotion. I received the degree and the
brilliant red and white hood that goes with it. After which, my promoter
explained in a speech why the senate of the university had decided to confer
this honor on a woman for the first time.
Naturally, the honor bestowed on me is a symbol of Dutch
gratitude for the help given by Americans and, particularly, is in recognition
of my husband's interest in and concern for Holland, the land of his ancestors.
It makes one feel very humble to be the recipient of so much goodwill that comes
almost entirely from what others have done.
My Day Column, 23 April 1948. The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project http://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/myday/displaydoc.cfm?_y=1948&_f=md000948
Eleanor Roosevelt received an Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Utrecht University in April 1948, the first woman to do so.
Anya Luscombe PhD is researching Eleanor Roosevelt and her radio programmes