Executive Director Karen Sandler receives honorary doctorate from KU Leuven

Executive Director Karen Sandler receives honorary doctorate from KU Leuven

Sandler commended by premier Belgian university for her outstanding work in software rights

February 2, 2023

At their annual Patron Saint’s Day celebration (“Patroonsfeest”), the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) bestowed SFC’s Executive Director, Karen Sandler, with an honorary doctorate. Sandler was nominated by the student body in recognition of her outstanding work at Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), her many years of FOSS leadership, and her advocacy and pursuit of software freedom and rights for all. Joining other scientists, artists and activists from across the world, Sandler was one of five honorary doctorate nominees for the 2023 “Patroonsfeest” at KU Leuven.

As part of the week-long ceremonies, Sandler delivered a lecture at KU Leuven entitled Software Rights: Accountability and Autonomy In Our Technology. Sandler’s lecture (included on the left) focused on the intersection of software rights and the need for autonomy over our devices that we increasingly rely on in our lives.

On Thursday, February 2, 2023, Sandler accepted the award at the “Patroonsfeest” event in Leuven. Her family and SFC Policy Fellow, Bradley M. Kuhn, attended to witness this prestigious event. Following the annual academic procession and ceremony, the University bestowed the honorary degrees to Sandler and the four co-nominees in a Convocation at the Pieter De Somer Auditorium.

This special event coincided with the exciting return of in-person FOSS events in Belgium throughout the week — which culminated in the return of in-person Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) 2023.