Pharmacognosy Chair Receives Honorary Doctorate from South Africa

OXFORD, Miss. — The chair of the University of Mississippi Department
of Pharmacognosy has been awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma
mater, the University of the Free State in South Africa, for his
contributions to the field of organic chemistry.

Daneel Ferreira

Daneel Ferreira

“To be awarded an honorary degree is an honor I cannot even describe to you,” said Daneel Ferreira, native of South Africa. “I dedicated 30 years of my professional career to research, teaching and service at UFS. The lessons were crucial in adapting to the stringent work ethics required for ‘survival’ in the U.S. system, arguably the hardest working nation on Earth.

“I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that Ole Miss and this great country have offered me to establish a new career at such a late stage of my life.”

Ferreira earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UFS and joined the faculty there in 1971 as a lecturer in organic chemistry. He progressed to professor and head of organic chemistry in 1986 and was named chair of chemistry in 1994. In 1999, Ferreira came to Ole Miss as a visiting scholar at the National Center for Natural Products Research. He was named a principal scientist in 2000 and chair of pharmacognosy in 2004.

In 1977, he was invited by Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Barton to lecture at Imperial College in London and was awarded the diploma of Imperial College for his work on the synthesis of aminoglycoside antibiotics. Recipient of the 1996 Gold Medal of the South African Chemical Institute, he is associate editor of the Journal of Natural Products and has served as president of the Phytochemical Society of North America.

His research interests include the structure and synthesis of biologically active natural products, especially polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, with emphasis on establishing absolute configuration via circular dichroism.

“This high honor bestowed upon Dr. Ferreira is a fitting recognition of this accomplished academician who has made remarkable scientific contributions on three continents,” said Barbara G. Wells, dean of the UM pharmacy school. “The national and international scientific communities highly admire his scholarly achievements, and we are very fortunate to have benefited from his focused leadership within his department and the School of Pharmacy.”

For more information on the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmacognosy, go to