Dr. Oprah Winfrey

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by RAM PhD, May 31, 2013.

  1. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

  2. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Am I the only one who never really embraced why this would have ANY meaning at all? Seriously? Why would someone cry or even feel privileged to receive an honorary degree. I don't get it?
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Because they made a donation so big it hurt? :Eyecrazy:
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Because it's an honor.
  5. nmesproject

    nmesproject New Member

    Well put Randell. Hon. doctorates need to be banned. I am ok if it is given to somebody who has 'earned' a doctorate before.
  6. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Banned? Seriously? How about if you think they're a silly idea you just disregard them without telling others what they can and cannot do?
  8. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    Agreed. If you don't like it, ignore it.
  9. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Indeed, perhaps the best approach would be to eliminate them. In this way, the abuse (using the title "Dr" as though the honorary certificate was an earned doctorate. Not all recipients do this of course, but many do.) would decrease. However, since eliminating the honorary doctorate probably isn't going to happen, I do exactly what Steve/Robb have stated. I don't like it, so I ignore/disregard it.

    Perhaps a bit of clarification would be in order. It isn't so much the concept of an honorary credential that I dislike; rather, it is the usage of the title "Dr" based on the honorary credential alone. If recipients would list the honorary credential on a CV/resume under "honors" or "awards" or even "things I've obtained via money," it may not be so bad. But to list an honorary credential under "education" or "academic background," or to use the title "Dr" based solely on the honorary credential is, imho, stretching the ethics of the award.

    That said, if a person has only an honorary doctorate (i.e., they do not also hold an earned legitimately accredited doctorate), I never reference them as "Dr" John/Jane Doe.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I don't think Oprah needs to stretch anything on her resume.
  11. Boethius

    Boethius Member

    Oprah is a philanthropist. She has given tons of money to charities, especially “to organizations that support the education and empowerment of women, children and families in the United States and around the world.”

    So she gave money to Havard. Do you think it was her intention to buy an honorary doctorate? I don’t think so. I understand this is her second honorary doctorate. A university in South Africa awarded her one too. She could have more.

    Fault Harvard for granting her the honorary doc, not Oprah. I think the name “Oprah Winfrey” evokes more admiration and respect for her work around the world than the title “doctor.”
  12. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    My comments aren't directed at Oprah, but toward honorary doctorates in general.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    There was a big kerfuffle here in Canada some years back - while pre-Lewinsky Bill Clinton was still in the White House, IIRC. A Canadian University was granting "Slick Willie" an honorary doctorate. A lot of people, including alumni, didn't like it one bit. "Whoring," some of 'em called it - the degree-granting for money, that is. :smile:

    My take - then and now. If it makes the school major money, it's OK. I don't see that granting honorary sheepskins dilutes the value of "real" degrees one bit - because these "honorary" things...just aren't "real." It's apples and oranges! If a university does this sort of thing and gets tons and tons of money for honorary degrees -- well that's GOOD - as long as the money (or greater proportion thereof) is spent to benefit present and future students. Hopefully, they will enjoy better education & facilities at a little less than they would have had to pay without the school having this source of revenue.

    Go ahead and ignore these "doctorates" - nobody should regard them as "real," anyway! The money that changes hands just might do some good --who knows?

    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2013
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That's fine, but inaccurate. Holders of honorary doctorates are "doctors." It is in good taste that the vast majority of them do not use the title. But it would not be incorrect to refer to such a person as "doctor."

    Personally, I could do without them. But they don't bug me and I think it's kinda cool to see some folks honored. We don't have many ways for that to happen to Americans.
  15. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Persons who warrant honor should certainly be honored, and it is probably true that the majority of honorary doctorate recipients do not tout the title. I disagree that recipients of honorary doctorates are "doctors" in any utilitarian sense.
  16. LGFlood

    LGFlood New Member

    I agree. Persons who warrant honor have already been honored by having the degree bestowed upon them. But to refer to them as "Dr." without earning a doctorate, nah that's a different ballgame IMO.
  17. novadar

    novadar Member

    The honor bestows a degree which the institution has the authority to grant. The recipient is authorized to use that title as they see fit. End of discussion. My next door neighbor is an MD, but I don't call him "Dr BlahBlah", he's just Dave. You can call people whatever you want but if they introduce themselves as "Dr" based on an honorary degree you can either 1) Take a stand and refuse because of your principles or 2) Go along with it. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Frankly I don't intend to stress out over someone's Honorary Doctorate.
  18. novadar

    novadar Member

    Oh, and Oprah's other "Doctorate" is from the University of the Free State.
  19. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Robert Hickey, author of the book, Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles & Forms of Address, writes that an honorary doctorate is "a great honor, but it is an honor, not a degree." He further writes that "Everyone is entitled to have their name be what they want it to be, but recipients of honorary doctorates are not entitled to be addressed as Dr."
  20. Just one more example of an institution plagued by grade (or, in this case, degree) inflation.

    Do people still watch Oprah? I mean, of course, other than single mothers on welfare.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2013

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