Forgive my shade, but it seems these days as if Universities are handing out Doctorates like the Grammy’s are handing out golden statues. Most recently rapper Kanye West got his PhD from the Art Institute of Chicago, while rapper Common received his from Winston-Salem University. I don’t hate these rappers; in fact I think they are two of the most ingenious talents in music, and their efforts should duly be applauded. And they have, with Common winning the Oscar for best song in a motion picture for the movie Selma. But entertainers they are, and entertainment awards are what they should receive.
As a college graduate, I can attest the years of late night studying, cramming, thumb lacerations from exacto-knives (and you thought art school was fun!), and writing 40 page papers on a weekly basis – for ONE class. No doubt, these artists made many sacrifices to their craft, and they have been rewarded for their efforts with all kinds of awards. Must they also take degrees too?
For these artists to receive a degree, simply for who they are, is a slap in the face to all the students who have spent upwards of 12 years hitting the books, and maintaining grades and scholarships. They did the time, and they earned that stamped piece of parchment. Why can’t entertainers be required to do even a single class before being given yet another award to add to their collection?
Schools can and should court attention to their campuses by attracting individuals whose ideals fall in line with that of the school’s. And if they want to, they can even give a commendation to their chosen entertainer. But after that, if they have not set foot in a classroom, they they should not receive anything resembling time spent at a University. Reward those who worked for it, and leave the ego stroking for benefit galas.