1949: The award of the first honorary doctorates

Even though the right to award doctorates had been granted to HSG as early as 1938, the first honorary doctorates were not conferred until 1949, when the school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. This was because HSG planned to grant honorary doctorates only after a suitably large number of students had earned their doctorate in accordance with the procedure defined in the school’s award regulations.

The first four honorary doctorates were awarded at the school’s annual celebration in 1949 to Prof. Gottfried Haberler from Harvard University, to Prof. Eugen Böhler from ETH Zurich, to Dr. Heinrich Homberger, director of the Zurich branch of the Swiss Trade and Industry Association, and to the St. Gallen legal historian Dr. Carl Moser-Nef. After the subsequent banquet in Schützengarten, a local restaurant, the guests each received a copy of the commemorative publication entitled Individuum und Gemeinschaft (The Individual and the Community), a product of the collaborative work of twenty-seven St. Gallen university teachers.

Dr. Carl Moser-Nef receives the certificate of his honorary doctorate from HSG president Professor Theo Keller

To this day, the conferral of honorary doctorates remains a highlight of the Dies Academicus, HSG’s annual celebration.