Thirty-Three Blacks Receive Honorary Degrees at This Spring’s Commencement Ceremonies at Our Leading Universities and Colleges

In the spring of 2008, 21 honorary degrees were awarded to blacks from the nation’s 30 highest-ranked universities and another 12 were awarded by the 30 highest-ranked liberal arts colleges. Two years ago the number of honorary degree awards to blacks was the lowest in the 14 years of JBHE’s survey. Last year these universities gave out 44 honorary degrees, the most in the history of our survey. This year’s total has returned to a more average level.

Among the high-ranking universities, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and the University of Notre Dame each gave honorary degrees to two blacks.

Among the leading liberal arts colleges, only Oberlin College awarded honorary degrees to two blacks.

This year music producer Quincy Jones was the only African American who received honorary degrees from more than one high-ranking educational institution.