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J.K. Rowling awarded honorary degree

‘Harry Potter’ author honored for supporting Multiple Sclerosis research
/ Source: The Associated Press

J.K. Rowling received an honorary doctorate Thursday from Aberdeen University for her support of research into multiple sclerosis.

Rowling, whose mother, Anne, died of multiple sclerosis in 1990 at age 45, was awarded a Doctorate of Laws in a ceremony at Aberdeen’s Marischal College.

Dressed in a dark suit, the creator of the best-selling Harry Potter books smiled to acknowledge the audience’s applause as she received the honor.

“I am thrilled. ... It is very exciting,” she told reporters afterward.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that may result in speech defects and the loss of muscular coordination.

Rowling is president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland. She has donated substantial sums to Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences for its research into multiple sclerosis.

“J.K. Rowling is best known because of a book that she wrote in a cafe in Edinburgh which has made her a household name,” Neva Haites, head of the university’s College of Life Sciences and Medicine, said at the award ceremony.

“However, what is less well known is Ms. Rowling’s significant contribution to many charitable causes.”

Haites said Rowling had taken on leadership of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland after discovering “what she called ‘the appallingly poor quality of care available to people with multiple sclerosis in Scotland.”’

“She is an example of a Scottish leader who has used her reputation and wealth to support the battle for improving human health and for fighting human disease,” Haites said.

Rowling, 40, already has honorary degrees for her services to literature from the Scottish universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh and Napier.