For traditional students, receiving a degree and accepting a diploma on graduation day is the culmination of years of hard work, studying, and countless sacrifices. But for others, namely celebrities and figureheads, a degree can be obtained without even stepping foot inside of a classroom. What?! How?!
Don’t worry, grads -- honorary degrees are really just for show and aren’t a functional degree. Colleges and institutions often give out honorary degrees to individuals who have made an impact on the world as a way to recognize their positive accomplishments. Honorary degrees can come in all levels and came with a lot of criticism in the beginning, mostly from students who actually earned their degrees. The argument was that the “honorary” tag that came with it made it seem to be a higher esteemed accomplishment, though many were given to monetary donors of universities. Critics said honorary degrees “made a complete and utter mockery of higher education.”
Oxford University in England was the first to offer an honorary degree dating back to 1478, awarding it to Lionel Woodville, the head of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter who was both wealthy and well-connected to the local community. Harvard University was the first institution in North America to award an honorary degree back in 1692. They chose Increase Mather, an influential Puritan minister, and gave him a “Doctor of Sacred Theology” degree. The award came with swift criticism, as the degree was typically one students were awarded after a minimum of 5 years of dedication at the college.
Honorary degrees are widely popular at colleges and institutions, particularly in the United States. Later, we’ll take a look at some famous recipients!
As a reminder, our team continues to operate with a modified business solution, complete with remote and isolated order processing locations. Our goal is to safely deliver honor and recognition gear to schools and institutions to have ready for their students once graduation dates have been reworked. We understand the importance of graduation regalia and what it means to students and faculty and want graduates to mark their accomplishments in a way in which they deserve. No matter what your commencement ceremony looks like this year, our honor and recognition gear means the same and looks just as great!
We love seeing all of the commencement photos rolling in from around the country! If you’d like to share any images with our team for a chance to be featured, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org