Yusuf Khwaja Hamied, Chairman of pharma major Cipla, cannot contain his joy at receiving an honorary doctorate of science from Cambridge University. The university has conferred the title ‘Don’ on the scientist-chemist. A don is a fellow of a traditional university, such as the Oxford and the Cambridge in England.
The 78-year-old Hamied said the special ceremony at the Senate House, where he was presented the degree by the University’s Chancellor Lord Sainsbury, “was a very emotional moment. It brought back memories of my days as a student.” Hamied, an alumnus of Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, said: “I was in Cambridge from 1954 to 1960. It was where I studied chemistry. The drive to achieve excellence in chemistry was born there.”
Hamied completed his PhD in organic chemistry in 1960, before coming back to India to join Cipla, founded by his father, Khwaja Abdul Hamied. Speaking to BusinessLine from London, the Cipla Chairman said, “The award is a very flattering and a humbling experience. I am just the seventh Indian to get an honorary doctorate.”
A cutting edge Todd-Hamied chemistry laboratory has been opened at the University of Cambridge. “Prof Lord Alexander Todd, a Nobel Prize winning chemist and former Master of Christ’s College, was my teacher. I have three Fellowships at the university, all named after my teachers,” said Hamied, adding, “This is my way of honouring my teachers…”