Should celebrities receive honorary degrees?
via AP

Should celebrities receive honorary degrees?

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Chance The Rapper and Jamie Foxx recently received honorary doctorate degrees from universities, but some are questioning if rich celebrities should receive degrees that students pay thousands for. Universities have been giving out honorary degrees for over 500 years as a way to build relationships. But students struggle and pile up debt just to receive a degree celebrities receive free of charge. Should universities stop giving famous folks honorary degrees? 

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A piece written for The Sun Journal argues universities should strongly reconsider giving out honorary degrees.  

Too often, the doctorates are catnip for celebrities who give commencement speeches, perhaps with the hope that they’ll join the donor rolls. They’re at best a publicity stunt — glowing news stories about such actual degree recipients as Orlando Bloom, Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Bon Jovi always follow the presentations — and at worst a transparent plea for cash.
If all it takes to receive a doctorate is achieving fame and amassing wealth, what makes these degrees different from vanity awards such as “who’s who” lists and fake honor societies that induct anyone who pays for the privilege?

But on the other hand, celebrities who are awarded honorary degrees become the keynote speakers at graduation. Chance The Rapper recently received his honorary diploma from Dillard University and left the class with an amazing message. Complex's Omar Burgess writes:

“Beyoncé had Mike,” Chance added. “Mike didn’t have Mike. Mike had James Brown. James Brown had Cab Calloway, and so on, and so on. Right now, the greatest performer who ever lived might very well be in this audience. And that person has something Beyoncé never had. They got Beyoncé. And so you have the greatest performance of all time—to watch, to study, to learn from it, but not to replicate it. To surpass it.”
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