Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

On 28 September 2018 David O’Connor was admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts in a ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre.

David was commended by the Department and his laboratory colleagues for his forty six years of service and stewardship which was recognised with his honorary degree. A brief summary of David’s contribution to the work and life of the Department over those years was presented during the ceremony: the full text is provided below.

David celebrated with family, friends and colleagues with afternoon tea at the Department following the degree conferral ceremony.

David retired from the Department in September of 2017 and is remembered very fondly by many of us for his irrepressible, dry sense of humour and tireless commitment to Departmental teaching

Wording from the ceremony

Ideas, as we know, inspire action. But so many of the ideas of scientific research cannot be realized in the first place, let alone tested, without the practical action and creative talent of genuinely competent persons. Scientists need help! I introduce here a man who combines in himself a kindly and exceptionally effective interest in people and a deep, we might even say empathetic, understanding of machinery. Indeed his admiring colleagues say that in the Physiology lab the machines always wanted to have him around, and the spectrometer sulked miserably when David went away. No pathetic fallacy here! On leaving school as a youngish teenager he proceeded, as a junior technician, to educate himself somewhat better than most of us who stayed on; the groves of zoology, animal ecology and electronics have become to him as familiar as the music of saxophone and motor-cycle engines, and despite the allure of building a ‘man-cave’ in his retirement it is clear that much will be heard from him in both these melodic styles. The forbidding more recent title of ‘Operations Manager’ but thinly masks here one who rapidly became a true chief among Chief Technicians, a sporting, gardening man of consummate good humour, a benevolent mimic with an unusual talent for accents and telling gestures, a friend to students and colleagues alike, one who I understand it will be much to my advantage to have with me in a lifeboat when that time comes to cast off. His legacy will be great in the Oxford physiological sphere, and after his forty-six years of service and stewardship we proudly commend him, one who has, we hear, ‘given us a good perspective on the trials of life, including those involving our ageing bodies’!

I present a kindly yet authoritative supporter of our physiological endeavours, a friend to both science and scientists, David O’Connor, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.


Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Benign Operations Manager, nay, Supreme among Chief Technicians, who embody the virtues of practical wisdom and friendliness, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Similar stories

New Nanoscience Institute to advance physiology research in Oxford

Head of Department's News

A new institute for nanoscience research is to open in Oxford thanks to a $10 million gift from The Kavli Foundation, the ground floor of which will be home to cutting-edge new research avenues across the six themes of DPAG.

Lukas Krone to represent Oxford at the Global Young Scientists Summit

Awards and Honours EDI News Head of Department's News Students Vyazovskiy Group News

Congratulations are in order for Dr Lukas Krone who is one of just five University of Oxford researchers selected to attend the Global Young Scientists Summit 2021.

Two major BHF awards to Neil Herring pave the way to new treatments for heart attack patients

Awards and Honours Cardiac Theme

Associate Professor Neil Herring has been awarded a Senior Clinical Research Fellowship and a Project grant from the British Heart Foundation to further critical research into the mechanisms behind heart attacks and heart failure and potential drugs to combat them. Given the 50% reduction in research investment this year from the BHF due to the impact of COVID-19, Prof Herring is to be congratulated on these awards.

Pawel Swietach becomes Professor Pawel Swietach

Awards and Honours Head of Department's News

Congratulations are in order to Pawel Swietach on his conferral of the title of full Professor. Research in the Swietach Lab is driven by an interest in how biological processes are affected by chemical acidity.

MRC Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship awarded to Samira Lakhal-Littleton

Awards and Honours Cardiac Theme EDI News Lakhal-Littleton Group News

Congratulations are in order for Associate Professor Samira Lakhal-Littleton, who has been awarded a Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship by the Medical Research Council to further her lab's work exploring the implications of the cardiac hepcidin/ferroportin axis for the management of iron deficiency in heart failure.

Dayne Beccano-Kelly awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Awards and Honours EDI News OPDC News Postdoctoral

New Future Leaders Fellow Dr Beccano-Kelly will lead research into synaptic health over time in neurodegeneration. Watch our video interview with Dayne to find out more about his career to date, successful application and future plans.