Yellowstone
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Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Sat May 29, 2010 10:27 pm

So I just graduated from Harvard University on Thursday, and like most university commencements, the ceremony included the awarding of several honorary degrees. Most of them went to people I had never heard of, but two went to rather famous individuals: former Supreme Court justice David Souter, our commencement speaker, and famed actress Meryl Streep.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Meryl_streep_harvard_commencement_2010.JPG

Who was the most famous/coolest person to receive an honorary degree at your graduation?
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PacNWjet
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Sat May 29, 2010 11:56 pm

Well, at the university where I currently teach the graduation speaker who seemed to spark the greatest enthusiasm by graduating seniors was the actor Levar Burton. He was much more popular than the politicians, writers, scientists, activists, jurists, and scholars who have spoken at graduation over the years.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Sun May 30, 2010 12:44 am

Then-Senator Gary Hart spoke at my commencement at the University of Texas. He spoke about honesty and integrity.  
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greggarious
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Sun May 30, 2010 1:58 am

Alec Baldwin and Wayne Shorter from NYU. Made the rainy 38 degree day at Yankee Stadium worthwhile!
 
tz757300
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Sun May 30, 2010 2:27 am

Quoting Yellowstone (Thread starter):

Who was the most famous/coolest person to receive an honorary degree at your graduation?

We just had Bill Clinton and Jerry West speak at this years commencement here at WVU. Hopefully I get someone awesome!
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AirframeAS
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:40 am

Quoting Yellowstone (Thread starter):
Honorary Degree

What's the point in "awarding" these "degrees" to celebrities? They never went the the school in the first place, so why the "award"?? That is what I don't understand.....

Technically, they can't use the award to gain a new career. So, what's the point besides motiviating the graduates who actually worked their butt off in order to graduate from college?
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PacNWjet
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:30 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 5):
What's the point in "awarding" these "degrees" to celebrities? They never went the the school in the first place, so why the "award"?? That is what I don't understand.....

Technically, they can't use the award to gain a new career. So, what's the point besides motiviating the graduates who actually worked their butt off in order to graduate from college?

Excellent question. The university where I was an undergraduate has never once awarded an honorary degree on the logic that it devalues earned degrees of any kind. The university where I currently teach does award honorary degrees to commencement speakers, a practice I have always found distasteful. I spent six years earning a Ph.D. and it kills me that people of dubious merit are "honored" with a degree no matter how well-meaning the practice may be. Why not just offer them heartfelt thanks for their time and effort to speak at commencement and be done with it.
 
sw733
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:44 am

Quoting Yellowstone (Thread starter):
like most university commencements

Not mine

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 6):
The university where I was an undergraduate has never once awarded an honorary degree on the logic that it devalues earned degrees of any kind.

Same with me at the University of Kansas
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:30 am

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 6):

Has the University of Washington "awarded" a honorary "degree"??
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pdxtriple7
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:16 am

In my opinion, we had a disappointing year. The main highlights for honorary degrees included Temple Grandin and Muhammad Yunus. Yunus gave a pretty generic speech that read more like his book rather than actually speaking to us as graduates. I much rather would've preferred Coach K to be our graduation speaker. He's actually quite insightful. At least we won two national championships this year  (Basketball and Lacrosse).

Last year, Oprah earned an honorary degree. We tend to not pull very "renowned" graduation speakers although important speakers visit campus throughout the year.
 
Doona
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:41 am

The highlight here at Lund University this year was probably George Martin (former Beatles producer) getting an honorary doctorate. Other than that, *yawn*...

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pdxtriple7
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:11 am

Quoting Yellowstone (Thread starter):
So I just graduated from Harvard University on Thursday

The Onion couldn't resist: http://www.theonion.com/articles/add...onorary-degree-from-harvard,17527/
 
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akiss20
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:09 am

Ya I don't get honorary degrees as well. My school (MIT) has never and never will award an honorary degree to anyone. We did award Winston Churchill an honorary lectureship and he spent 3 days giving lectures on WWII iirc.

At my sister's university (George Washington) they had Rahm Emanuel for her commencement and Michelle Obama this year, and they both got honorary degrees. Pretty cool!
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us330
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:20 am

Paul McCartney.
We also awarded an honorary degree to the president of our archrival school that same year, Drew Gilpin Faust (harvard)
 
AF340
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:48 pm

The coolest on at my school (London School of Economics) was probably Nelson Mandela. Yeah.. I think he deserves it...

There are only 15 others who have received honorary degrees from the school. So they don't hand them out entirely willy-nilly.

 
PacNWjet
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:21 pm

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 8):
Has the University of Washington "awarded" a honorary "degree"??

From the University of Washington website:

"The first University of Washington honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws, was conferred in 1885 by the territorial university upon Orange Jacobs, who was the chief justice of the supreme court of the Territory of Washington from 1871-1875, a member of the 44th and 45th Congresses (1875-1879), and the mayor of Seattle (1880)....Between 1894 and 2002, the University awarded only one honorary degree....In 2002, the Faculty Senate passed legislation that specified procedures for resuming the practice of awarding honorary degrees, with the responsibility for recommending them vested in the Faculty Council on University Relations. Since then, eleven honorary doctorate degrees have been awarded...."

Read more at:

http://depts.washington.edu/honord/index.shtml
 
NWA744
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:10 pm

Obama!

 
Flighty
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:47 pm

Quoting AKiss20 (Reply 12):
Ya I don't get honorary degrees as well. My school (MIT) has never and never will award an honorary degree to anyone.

Great! Honorary degrees are ridiculous. Meryl Streep, really? For being a famous actress or a nice lady?  

I can't even remember who got honorary degrees at my school... didn't care.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:03 pm

I'm not exactly bothered if there are any, because they won't have worked their asses of for years to get that piece of paper. What does bother me is that my course is technically over (bar me and a couple of other people getting extra time and being put on a later review board due to a certain volcano standing us abroad) yet I have to wait until January/February 2011 for the graduation ceremony. Is that normal elsewhere in the world, I know my friends here in the UK at other Universities don't have to wait that long?   


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petertenthije
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:18 pm

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 18):
s that normal elsewhere in the world, I know my friends here in the UK at other Universities don't have to wait that long?

At my college at least they hold graduations at the end of every semester (3 months). But since most students graduate at the end of the school year, the end-of-year graduation will be more elaborate. I did an accelerated course. Therefor I graduated at the end of the 2nd semester, the graduation was a bit dull. A few speeches by teachers and students, a few drinks and that's about it. But at least I had the documents which helped when applying for jobs!
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Adam T.
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:24 am

The University of Virginia (where I got my Masters degree) does not have honorary degrees either I believe. They do give out some sort of award or acknowledgment for guest speakers at commencements but no honorary degrees. To be honest i'm surprised that any of the Ivy League schools or top tier schools give out honorary degrees.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:41 am

I had Sean Bean at my graduation (Sheffield University), and Moira Stuart at my sisters (Edinburgh).
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RE: Coolest Honorary Degree At Your Graduation

Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:08 am

Quoting petertenthije (Reply 19):
But at least I had the documents which helped when applying for jobs!

That is what I'm looking forwards to the most. It will be fun getting a job in the construction/redevelopment sector right now!
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