Trustees approve Michelle Obama for honorary degree

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The GW Board of Trustees approved first lady Michelle Obama eligible to receive an honor degree from the University last Friday-and a senior official says he expects the first lady to receive a degree.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said he thinks its likely GW will grant Obama an honorary degree if she delivers the commencement address as expected. Obama challenged GW in September to perform 100,000 hours of community service, promising to speak if the University can complete the task.

University President Steven Knapp has the final say in who receives an honorary degree, Lehman said.

“I can’t speak for the President [Steven Knapp] but I would expect him to give her an honorary degree,” Lehman said. “The probabilities are high.”

Honorary degrees are given out annually at universities’ commencement ceremonies and are meant to honor individuals for their body of work in specific fields, represented by ten honorary doctorate degrees available.

Other individuals who were approved by the Board of Trustees on Friday are jazz musician Dave Brubeck, former GW Trustee and CEO of Clark Enterprises, Inc. A James ‘Jim’ Clark, former Secretary of Transportation William Coleman, co-founder of Intel Corp. Andrew Grove and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus.

Last year honorary degrees were given to commencement speaker and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the Director of Project Kaleidoscope Jeanne Narum, sculptor John Safer and President of South Korea Myung-bak Lee.

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