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Did You Know?


Oldest recipient: Leila Daughtry Denmark, a pediatrician who was then 102 years old and would continue practicing for another year.

Degree offered twice: Robert Woodruff declined an honorary doctorate when the trustees first offered it, but he finally agreed to accept it 30 years later, on December 6, 1979—his 90th birthday.

Must be a living person: at some institutions, the Kermit the Frogs of this world have earned honorary degrees. At Emory, it’s people only.

First honorary degree awarded at Emory: It went to Rev. William H. Ellison, a Methodist minister and leader in establishing higher education in Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia.

First award to a woman: It came in 1930 and was awarded to Tommie Dora Barker, the founding dean of the university’s library school.

Now you must be here in person: however, when travel was more difficult, awards required only a vote of the trustees. Yun Chi-Ho, the first international student to graduate from Emory and a national leader in his native Korea, could not travel to Emory to pick up his LLD degree in 1908.

Color them honored: The velvet trim on the honorary degree hood reflects the type of the degree: e.g., yellow is for Doctor of Science, red for Doctor of Theology, purple for Doctor of Laws, white for Doctor of Humane Letters, pink for Doctor of Music, brown for Doctor of Fine Arts, and blue for Doctor of Education.