The University of Alberta is actually a pretty good school but continues to bestow honorary degrees. Despite Ron MacLean being a “good guy”, in my estimation he should not be awarded a “degree” from my Alma Mater if he has not earned it. Nor should have David Suzuki or any other recipient be awarded an “Honorary Degree”.
You see, the process of earning a degree requires work and sacrifice. One undertakes course work as an adult in pursuit of career knowledge. Course work may also entail studies of the humanities as supplemental to ones’ core discipline. In fact, at the end of a bachelor’s program, one is positioned to advance a discipline through post graduate studies and research. Those who make it through a Bachelor’s program have sacrificed finance in achieving a “parchment”, likely have undertaken debt, and have consequently have made a personal investment in their profession. Awarding “honorary degrees” to individuals for accomplishments outside the realm of academic endeavour having not completed prescribed curriculum simply debases the degree and frankly offends those who sacrificed in actualizing the requirements set forth from day one. I speak for myself and obviously others but not all.
Do specific citizens deserve recognition aside from that obtained from community, family, and career compensation? Yes. I do not object to governments, charities, communities, and sports and arts associations from awarding its contributors. However; university honorary degrees are simply wrong.
The U of A will once again call me this year looking for a “donation”. Unfortunately, the first year student volunteering his / her time to make the call will be confronted with my indignant response. This individual in his / her youth and inexperience to much monetary and absolute in opinion will be perplexed that such a defined position will be taken.