Watch CBSN Live

Harvard U. To Give Ted Kennedy Honorary Degree

This story was written by Lauren D. Kiel, Harvard Crimson

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy 54-56 will receive an honorary degree from Harvard University at a convocation ceremony held in his honor on Dec. 1.

Kennedy was originally scheduled to receive the degree at commencement last spring, along with 10 other honorees. But Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor two weeks before commencement, which prevented him from being able to receive the degree at that time.

The ceremony will be held in Sanders Theatre at 4:30 p.m. According to an invitation obtained by The Crimson, tickets not claimed by those invited by 4:15 p.m. that afternoon will be distributed to students.

Senator Kennedy has been one of the most tireless advocates for education and specifically higher education and we are very much looking forward to the opportunity to present him with an honorary degree, said university spokesman John D. Longbrake, who declined to comment on the details of the event.

The youngest member of the famous Massachusetts political family, Kennedy spent his undergraduate years living in Wigglesworth Hall and Winthrop House and playing football for the college.

After graduating from Harvard, he attended law school at the University of Virginia.

Kennedy was involved in the creation of the Institute of Politics, which commemorates his brother John F. Kennedy 40, and is a member of the institute's Senior Advisory Committee.

He has served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts since 1963, where he has gained a reputation for supporting social reforms. He is currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

According to Adam Clymer 58, who wrote a biography of Kennedy, the senator has been the most effective legislator of his time.

President Faust explained it pretty well at commencement: Hes been a leader on all kinds of issues, specifically on higher education, which is particularly important to Harvard, said Clymer, who is a former Crimson president.

Nelson Mandela was the last person to be similarly honored with such a ceremony outside of commencement. The South African leader was honored in Sept. 1998.

Only two others have received degrees in ceremonies reserved just for them: Winston Churchill and George Washington.

That puts him in pretty good company, Clymer said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue