Vera Markgraf (INSTAAR fellow emerita) was awarded a Doctor philosophiae honoris causa from the University of Bern, Switzerland. The Laudatio, read in Latin and German, detailed the academic merits of her research career in South America, the coordination of the Pole-Equator-Pole Paleoclimate of the Americas Program under the umbrella of the International Geosphere – Biosphere Past Global Change Program (IGBP–PAGES), and her leadership in the PAGES Steering Committee. The Diploma is signed by Rector Prof. Dr. Urs Würgler and Dean Prof. Dr. Urs Feller. There were a total of six awardees, one of which was John le Carre, the famous English author of espionage novels. The awards ceremony took place on December 6, 2008, during the festivities of the 174th Dies Academicus, which commemorates the founding of the University.