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Cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla, professor Dean A Shepherd, an internationally leading researcher in entrepreneurship, and astronaut Jessica Meir are new honorary doctors at Luleå University of Technology 2020. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

An olympic champion, an astronaut and a professor are new honorary doctors

Published: 12 November 2020

Luleå University of Technology has appointed three new honorary doctors: cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla, astronaut Jessica Meir and Professor Dean Shepherd, an internationally leading researcher in entrepreneurship.

– I am proud of becoming an honorary doctor at Luleå University of Technology. With the deep roots I have in Norrbotten, it is extra special to receive this award. While growing up and throughout my career, I have had great support from my home county, says Charlotte Kalla, who grew up in the village of Tärendö in the north of Sweden and is Sweden's foremost woman in Olympic Games history, with nine medals.

The Swedish Sports Federation has appointed Luleå University of Technology to an elite sports-friendly university as from August 2020. The University aims to develop an elite environment especially for cross-country skiing, biathlon and ski orienteering.

– I heard about the investment early on and have followed your journey. It seems very promising already, but you have to see it as a long-term investment, says Charlotte Kalla.

Unique spacewalks

Swedish-American NASA-astronaut Jessica Meir became famous to the world last year when she carried out three unique spacewalks on the International Space Station (ISS). One of them was the first all-female spacewalk. She spent over 200 days aboard the ISS and is the first woman with Swedish citizenship in space.

– It is an absolute honor to accept this honorary doctorate from Luleå University of Technology. As a dual citizen, it is extremely meaningful for me to have yet another personal tie to Sweden, says Jessica Meir.

During her mission, Jessica has been an inspiration to people all over the world, not least in Sweden, and perhaps especially for students interested in space. Jessica Meir has worked for NASA since 2013 and was appointed Assistant Professor in 2012. She was awarded a Degree of Doctor in Marine Biology in 2009, a Degree of Master of Science in Space Studies in 2000 and a Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Biology in 1999.

– I hope that this honorary doctorate serves to further the contributions I can make to inspire the future generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers. I also consider the international nature of this award as particularly significant, as I believe that it is when we work together and celebrate our commonalities instead of our differences, that we can truly accomplish great things, says Jessica Meir.

Internationally leading researcher 

Dean Shepherd, originally from Australia, is an internationally leading researcher in entrepreneurship. He is professor of entrepreneurship at Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame University in Indiana, USA.

Professor Shepherd has made significant contributions to the establishment of entrepreneurship as an academic field, and to increased knowledge and understanding of the decision-making of individual entrepreneurs under high uncertainty, emotional stress and extreme conditions. 

He was a visiting professor at Luleå University of Technology for almost five years.
– I am honored to be awarded an honorary doctorate. It is a wonderful university with wonderful people, says Dean Shepherd.

Together with Luleå University of Technology's research group in entrepreneurship and innovation, led by Professor Vinit Parida, Dean Shepherd carries out several research projects in India, in poor parts of rural areas and in Delhi. Among other things, the researchers study how bribery has an impact on small businesses and how entrepreneurship can lift people out of poverty and other difficult circumstances.

– It is particularly interesting to see that almost all entrepreneurs who we have met do not define the success of their business in terms of personal benefits, but in in terms of giving their children the opportunity to study, says Dean Shepherd.

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