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UHasselt awards Clarice Garcia Borges Demetrio with an honorary doctorate degree    May 16, 2019

UHasselt awards Clarice Garcia Borges Demetrio with an honorary doctorate degree
May 16, 2019


Prof. dr. Geert MOLENBERGHS



In honor of twenty years VLIR-UOS, the Flemish universities pay tribute to 5 leading personalities from the South, awarding them with an honorary degree. The nominee for UHasselt is Glarice Garcia Borges Demétrio, a professor in biometrics. “Clarice is one of the supporting pillars of the field of biostatistics”, says rector Luc De Schepper. “Her hard work and unwavering determination have put biostatistics on the map, in Brazil and far beyond.”


“If you have discipline, drive, and determination, nothing is impossible” – Dana Bailey.

“From her hometown of Piracicaba, Clarice managed to create a lasting impact on the field of biostatistics”, co-promoter prof. dr. Geert Molenberghs explains to us. “She did this by traveling around the world in order to gather new knowledge as well as spread it. In addition to this, she started up multiple collaborations across the globe. All the knowledge she gained, she taught to her colleagues and students in Brazil and the rest of the world, North and South. As a result, Piracicaba has become a leading example when it comes to biometric research.”

And to this day, this is still the case. Brazil has become internationally known and respected in the field of biostatistics. “Many of my colleagues have travelled to Brazil for education and research. On top of that, her efforts ensured that dozens of young Brazilian researchers were able to secure positions at top academic institutions abroad. This has created many stable and long-lasting collaboration projects.”


Clarice spent a large part of her career expanding and nurturing the global biometric research community. In 1975 she became a member of the scientific biometric society (IBS) and would, later on, become its first (and so far only) Latin-American president.

“Statistics is the grammar of science, mathematician Karl Pearson once stated”, rector Luc De Schepper says in his laudation. “Statistics is intertwined with all aspects of our society. All the major problems in the world can’t be tackled without it. And professor Demétrio is one of the driving forces behind this field.”


The honorary doctorate degree of professor Demétrio was awarded in celebration of the twenty year existence of the VLIR-UOS (Flemish Interuniversity Council – University Development Cooperation). Development cooperation has become increasingly more important for the five Flemish universities. To demonstrate this, each of the universities has awarded an honorary doctorate to a person who has excelled in university development cooperation.

The honorary doctorate degrees were awarded to:

Clarice Garcia Borges Demètrio (Brazilië) - UHasselt

José Ramón Saborido Loidi (Cuba) - VUB

Leymah Roberta Gbowee (Liberia) - UGent

Nteranya Sanginga (DR Congo) - KU Leuven

Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfun (DR Congo) – UAntwerpen