An honorary degree is offered when an institution waives the usual requirements to obtain the degree. Usually it is awarded because that person has achieved enough in life to prove that they deserve this honor. There are some very famous people who have received honorary degrees.
Last year, I was fortunate to have been nominated to receive an honorary doctorate from a local university. Because I already had received a traditional doctorate degree, I didn’t realize that it was possible to receive another honorary one. Someone else received the doctorate for which I was nominated, but it made me interested in researching honorary degrees.
In the article 9 Surprising People With Honorary Degrees, the author noted that there may be ulterior motives when giving out these degrees. “Honorary degrees are often handed out to people who have made important contributions to a field, but sometimes they end up in the hands of celebrities for vague reasons. More than likely, the university wants the publicity that comes with giving a doctorate to someone famous.”
The article lists the following 9 celebrities who have received honorary degrees and questions whether some of these are deserving of the honor:
- Tim Allen Honorary Degree – Western Michigan University
- Kim Cattrall Honorary Degree – John Moores University
- Bob Barker Honorary Degree – Drury University
- Robert Mugabe Honorary Degree – University of Massachusetts
- Dolly Parton Honorary Degree – University of Tennessee
- Jack Nicholson Honorary Degree – Brown University
- Mike Tyson Honorary Degree – Central State University
- William Shatner Honorary Degree – McGill University
- Kermit the Frog Honorary Degree – Southampton College
Not all people accept honorary degrees. William Shatner had been offered other degrees before McGill’s offer, but turned them down. To find out more about these unique 9 celebrities and their honorary degrees, check out the article by clicking here.
Some other famous celebrities with honorary degrees include:
- Meryl Streep Honorary Degrees – Princeton University, Harvard University
- George Foreman Honorary Degree – Houston Graduate School of Theology
- Bill Cosby Honorary Degrees – Yale, Berklee College of Music, University of Pennsylvania, and Amherst College. Cosby also earned a traditional doctorate degree from University of Massachusetts.
- Billy Joel Honorary Degrees – Syracuse University, Long Island University
- Oprah Winfrey Honorary Degrees – Howard University, South African University
- Steven Tyler Honorary Degree – Berklee School of Music
- Stephen Colbert Honorary Degrees – Knox College, Noirthwestern University
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