Honorary Degrees

What do you think of people who are awarded honorary degrees and then feel entitled to be addressed with the "Doctor" prefix? A few years ago I created this mock newspaper article to poke a little fun at the folks who do such things.

I have to admit that it does irk me when religious people do it.. one of the local religious leaders does it.. and he got his "PHD" before his bachelors.

Ever run into one of them?


  1. I don't think I've ever met anyone personally who has done that, but I've certainly seen them in the media and on the internet. I can't imagine doing such a thing.

  2. I have to say, I think they deserve those honorary degrees, particularly in light of all each of them have done. Robert Shuller has a Master of Divinity and a considerable amount of business knowledge. I have never referred to Billy Graham as "Dr." but as Reverend and the same with Jerry Fallwell. Both of those two have undergrad degrees. I think the accomplishments they had could easily be translated to "credit for life experiences, don't you?

  3. @Mike - It is hard to imagine a person not being uncomfortable being called doctor when all they had was an honorary piece of paper.

    @Reba - If life experiences were all that were necessary to be called doctor then many folks over 50 would be called doctor. :)

    I do not object to the honorary award but only to folks being called "doctor" who have not earned the title. What would you think about a person being awarded an honorary 5 star general title. Wouldn't seem fair to those generals who worked all of their lives to earn the stars to have to salute someone who did not earn the stars.

  4. A Pastor in my mother's church years ago, was given an honorary doctors, and after that he told his congregation they must address him as Dr. _______", not Pastor _______!

    It didn't go over well. They had a new Pastor within months.

    That is my only "personal" experience, but I agree with you Dr. Bob!

  5. I have three degrees myself...B.A. (Born Again), M.A. (Mightily Altered), and D.D. (Divinely Destined).

  6. Honorary degrees are supposed to be given in recognition of a lifetime significant contribution to a certain subject or discipline. Unfortunately it has been cheapened and are now awarded to people who have not made much academic or significant contribution but are politically connected, rich contributor or are famous enough for the institution to want to be associated with them.

    In my experience, it is those in the later category who wants to wear the prefix Dr before their name. I am especially wary of religious people who does that.


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