Some universities and colleges have been accused of granting honorary degrees in exchange for large donations. Honorary degree recipients, particularly those who have no prior academic qualifications, have sometimes been criticized if they insist on being called “Doctor” as a result of their award, as the honorific may mislead the general public about their qualifications.
The awarding of an honorary degree to political figures almost always prompts protests from faculty or students. In 2001, George W. Bush received an honorary degree from Yale University where he had earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1968. Some students and faculty chose to boycott the university’s 300th commencement. Andy Card, who served as Bush’s Chief of Staff from 2001–2006, ultimately chose not to speak when the University of Massachusetts-Amherst awarded him an honorary degree in 2007 in response to protests from students and faculty at the commencement ceremonies.
In 1985, as a deliberate snub, the University of Oxford voted to refuse Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree in protest against her cuts in funding for higher education. This award had previously been given to all Prime Ministers who had been educated at Oxford.
Few Current honorary doctorates at Ethiopia:
Addis Abeba University (AAU) awarded honorary doctorate degrees to four individuals, one Ethiopian and three foreign nationals, during the graduation ceremony held for the first time inside the Millennium Hall on Saturday, July 24, 2010.
Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa; Cathrin Hamlin, founder of Addis Abeba Fistula Hospital; Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman professor of government at Colombia University in New York; and Haile Gebresellassie received their respective honours.
Renowned Oromigna/Afaan Oromoo singer Ali Birra received an honorary doctorate of performing arts degree from Jimma Universty.The honorary degree represents the highest award from Jimma University. Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Dr. Tewdros Adhanom presented the degree to the singer at commencement ceremony on Saturday June 12, 2010. Jimma Universty also conferred an honorary degree to the village chairman of Awara Amba, Zumra.Awra Amba is a village near Bahr Dar founded in 1985 by chief Zumra and other 20 people to demonstrate to its members and to other Ethiopians that the best escape route from poverty and hunger is not religion or prayer but education and plain hard work.
It is very unnecessary to reward some celebrities for their carrier. What should be taken in to notice is that, an individual should be excellent enough that nobody would question about his extra-ordinary performance for the honorary degree. Fore instance many are still wondering why Ali Birra is a recipient of the honorary degree. Are we going to continue for other musicians(Teddy afro, Gossaye, Madingo) ?????