June 25, 2009 § Leave a comment
I got into a bit of a heated discussion last night. The subject was honorary degrees and my argument, that they sound like the biggest crock ever. For those of you are not familiar with the term, an honorary degree, according to Wikipedia is “an academic degree for which a university…has waived the usual requirements (such as matriculation, residence, study and the passing of examinations)”. I like to think of the honorary degree as a certificate of participation or a “good job” sticker on your work. Despite this, recipients can, if they wish, be henceforth referred to as “Doctor”. Many famous people have received honorary degrees as a sign of acknowledgement for the good work they’re doing, one of the most surprising among them, of course, is Kermit the Frog.
Kermit the Frog received his Honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters from Long Island University in 1996. The reason given by the college for the muppet’s award was Kermit’s great work for the environment. Said the university: “His theme song, ‘It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green,’ has become a rallying cry of the environmental movement. Kermit has used his celebrity to spread positive messages in public service announcements for the National Wildlife Federation, National Parks Service, the Better World Society, and others.” I guess you can’t argue with that.
I just wish Kermit had adopted Doctor as his official title. Doctor Kermit the Frog. It does have a certain ring to it. I think the university would have been better off acknowledging Jim Henson as the genius behind Kermit, but who am I to judge?
Moral of the story? Do great things and they’ll hand you degrees on silver platters. Alternatively, do seven years of intensive work to become a “Doctor” the old fashioned way. Oh, and steer clear of puppets, they’ll steal your glory. Heh.