Honorary Doctorates

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by david_au, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. david_au

    david_au New Member

    Our community organisation would like to reward a high achiever for the award of a honorary degree. Would anyone have any recommendations on what would the best institution be for this sort of thing? How would we apply to a university?, how much would it cost?, what institution would be the easiest to get a honorary degree for our nominee?

    I look forward to peoples replies.
  2. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    You've pretty much got a "Groucho Marx" situation here, David -- in that any school that would be willing to do it is probably not a school that your high achiever would be proud to be associated with.

    The "Honorary Doctorates" chapter of Bears' Guide does have the best wisdom I could learn, about how to (try to) go about this, assuming that your would-be candidate is neither a celebrity or a potential major donor (the two most likely categories).

    Probably the only relevant advice there is that the only hope may be having direct access to a power-possessing person at a school. There are vastly more honorary degree wanters than ones available from legitimate schools, so there is a major triage situation going on at those schools even willing to consider outside requests or inquiries.

    And yet, in a world where Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, Charlie McCarthy, Kermit the Frog, Soupy Sales, and Don King have gotten honoraries from regionally accredited schools, clearly anything is possible, and it can do no harm to ask -- but ideally on a face-to-face basis where one of the faces belongs to a key official of a school.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Unlike the others you list, John, Kermit the Frog deserved the honorary doctorate. ;)
  4. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Russell: "Unlike the others you list, John, Kermit the Frog deserved the honorary doctorate"

    That one (Kermit got a Doctor of Amphibious Letters from Southampton College) produced a fine retort. A marine biology major named Samantha Chie said, "After five years of hard work, now we have a sock talking at our commencement. It's kind of upsetting."
  5. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    If an organization wants to give an honourary doctorate, just print one. Saves the hassle of finding a "real" one and it has the same value.

    Legally, perhaps it helps if your organization is church related and the degree is a religious degree.
  6. PCap

    PCap New Member

    I attempted to obtain an honorary doctorate twice. The first time I listed my undergraduate institution as a beneficiary on an accident insurance policy. The policy is still in effect and they are still on it. I never heard a word of thanks from them. The second time I donated 15 years worth of fairly valuable journals to the library of a nice, small, liberal arts college in the northeast. I brokered the gift through a close personal friend who is a full professor there. They said thanks.

    I'm trying again! I have years worth of properly prepared specimens of insects, amphibians etc., all with excellent data and notes as well as tons of field equipment used to collect these things. Possibly a small college could use them as a teaching or research collection. It is odd, but major museums do not seem interested in this stuff although it is great material. Thus I'm trying to find a place which might be willing to swap an honorary sheepskin for the stuff.

    If it doesn't happen, no big deal. It is for me an interesting game really, trying to connect with people at various little known institutions etc. Anybody want some bugs?????: :p
  7. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Dear Mr. Cap

    Many years ago, someone ran an ad in the New Republic magazine, offering to make a donation in exchange for an honorary doctorate. When I made contact with the ad-placer some months later, he claimed that yes, he had had some action, and did, in fact, now have an honorary degree, but declined to tell me from where.

    I wonder what a discreet ad in an entomology journal or even in the Chronicle of Higher Education would produce?
  8. PCap

    PCap New Member

    Thank you Dr. Bear.

    Any ideas on how an ad in the Chronicle might be composed so as to not seem desperate, verbose, ostentatious or any other big words? Placing an ad would be a first for me so I'm uncertain how it might be phrased.

    Also, why do you suppose the recipient of the honorary degree you mention in your post refused to divulge the name of the school that conferred it?


  9. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Honorary Degree for Major Donation?

    It may be considered a bit outrageous to mention publicly what is traditionally done behind closed doors. Nonetheless, I am prepared to make an unusual, interesting, and valuable donation to a college or university museum or department of entomology or zoology in return for serious consideration for an honorary degree.

    I have years worth of properly prepared specimens of insects, amphibians etc., all with excellent data and notes as well as a huge amount of field equipment used to collect these things.

    Please reply in strictest confidence to . . .

    I have no idea of the Chronicle (www.chronicle.com) would accept such an ad. Alternatives might be either the classified sections of appropriate magazines (Harpers? Atlantic? Utne Reader?), or comparable letters to actual people at small colleges with relevant departments and/or museums.

    My consulting fee: feedback. If you actually try this, let us know what happens. If you send 50 letters, you'll probably get something like 40 no-answers, and 8 to 10, "Sorry, no" -- but you only need one . . .
  10. PCap

    PCap New Member


    Thank you for the modest consultation fee Dr. Bear. I will try and kep you informed as to the outcome. This is fun.......

  11. I'm curious as to why the original poster's organization wanted to get an honorary degree to honor their high achiever.

    You can find an engraver or maker of trophies and plaques (look online if you can't find someone local) who will make a darn nice plaque, to say whatever you want, in almost any material you want.

    With a quick Google search I found this special -- http://www.plaquemaker.com/Laser-Clock-Sample.html -- which would have some actual utility instead of being just another piece of paper.
  12. Monkey

    Monkey New Member

    A friend faxed me a newspaper featuring a Chinese businessman who was awarded a honorary doctorate degree by Southern California University for Professional Studies.

    What is this school????
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    SCUPS is a CA state approved school located in Santa Ana.
  14. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    An investigative magazine (Spy) pulled a sting operation 5 or 6 years ago, in which they had a lawyer ostensibly representing a person desperately in need of a doctorate, money no object, approach various schools, to see if "something" could be arranged. Spy reported that SCUPS, among others, was willing to award a doctorate in exchange for a fee of (as I recall) about $10,000.

    Same ownership (unless something has recently changed) as the candidate-for-regional-accreditation Northcentral University.
  15. triggersoft

    triggersoft New Member

    where would the sense of spending $ 10 k for a CAL approved but not RA degree whatsoever be???


  16. PCap

    PCap New Member

    Whether for 10K or a bunch of natural history specimens, an RA honorary doctorate is really just a wall decoration. But yes, why solicit one, for 10K or specimens, from any non RA school.Weird!

    I'll not offer my specimens to any non RA institution!

    PCap :D

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