Saturday, April 11, 2009

Degree Or Not Degree, Is That The Question?

Degree Or Not Degree, Is That The Question?
by Ron Powell

Arizona State University spokeswoman, Sharon Keeler, said that the University awards honorary degrees to recognize individuals for their work and accomplishments spanning their lifetime: “Because President Obama’s body of work is yet to come, it’s inappropriate to recognize him at this time,” she said. She went on to say that, “It’s someone who’s really outstanding, who has made outstanding contributions in their field,…Previous recipients of honorary degrees from ASU had long-established careers in their fields of work, and they aren’t necessarily affiliated with ASU.”

An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa (Latin: 'for the sake of the honor') is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived the usual requirements (such as matriculation, residence, study and the passing of examinations). The degree itself is typically a doctorate or, less commonly, a master's degree and may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the institution in question. Usually the degree is conferred as a way of honoring a distinguished visitor's contributions to a specific field, or to society in general. The university often derives a greater benefit by association with the person so honored, than the honoree derives by receiving the award.

It is with this insight and revelation in mind, and tongue planted firmly in cheek, that I offer the following:

The degree to which the degree factory at Arizona State University has gone to defend the decision not to be honored by awarding an honorary degree to President Obama is, to a certain degree, a manifestation of the hypocrisy that is involved in the awarding of such degrees as a means of bestowing honors, benefits, and privileges on, often not so honorable, privileged fat-cats and big-wigs, who, to one degree or another, have no greater qualification for the accolades, ceremoniously uttered during a perfunctory presentation, than the ability to pick up a pen and write a check, thus displaying a proficiency in the skill of penmanship, the learned talent in which, by varying degrees, those who have become so intellectually advanced and so academically accomplished, that they have greatly benefited society by leaving the 3rd grade.

By the way, Sharon Keeler, for your outstanding body of working in performing slavishly on behalf of your masters at ASU, to defend, rationalize, excuse, and justify a decision which is in no way what so ever affiliated with anything that makes sense, and the outstanding contribution you have made to your field for doing this with a straight face, The Uncles at Thomas Cabin University have your honorary Simon Degree ready. You may pick it up at the drive-through window.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Bringing the masses
    together this election accomplished what? In
    Sharon Keeler opinion nought.

  2. The latest reports on this matter say that ASU is considering the alternative or option of "honoring" President Obama by initiating a scholarship in his name.

    At this juncture anything other that an honorary degree is nothing but a cop out and/or a dodge. In reading my post, you can see that the statement made by the ASU spokeswoman is clearly a defense of a 'final' decision made by the university, not an expression of being in a quandary, at a crossroads, or stuck on the horns of a dilemma.

    If ASU spokeswoman, Sharon Keeler, couldn't tell the difference between an ongoing process, which should not have been disclosed, and a final decision which, required publication of a press release, she should to be summarily dismissed. The University President's attempt to sidestep the issue is demeaning and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has ever attended a commencement exercise.

    I have been a University Professor, and I can assure you that there is at least one person who is on both the commencement address speakeris comittee and the honorary degree committee who had the responsibility to ensure that the actions of the two committees would have been coordinated in such a way as to not cause embarrassment or confusion.
    Finally, none of this could have been made public before the top administrators, the University President in particular, reviewed and signed-off on the decision. Another reason to fire Keeler, if this was not the case. Keep in mind that the institution bestowing the honorary degree often derives a greater benefit than the person derives in receiving the degree. As most definitely would be the case in this instance.

  3. Is it ok to put a post in a comment? Keeler has not backbone. Obama probaly could care less.