The honorary degree recognizes what Zelenskyy has done “to motivate the collective courage of [Ukraine’s] citizens and the broader world in defense of freedom and democracy.”
Lenoir-Rhyne University plans to award an honorary degree this spring to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The presentation is part of a national initiative begun by Alfred University in Alfred, New York, to honor Zelenskyy’s leadership and show support for the people of Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February.
Approximately 20 private, independent colleges and universities who are a part of the Council for Independent Colleges, including Bard College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Adrian College, have signed on, and more schools are joining the effort every day.
“As soon as I heard about this initiative, I thought it would be important for Lenoir-Rhyne to participate and submitted the proposal to our Board of Trustees Honors and Award Committee, which recommends the awarding of honorary degrees,” said Dr. Fred Whitt, president of Lenoir-Rhyne. “They were unanimous in strongly supporting this initiative and will make the recommendation to the full board of trustees for approval.”
The honorary degree recognizes what Zelenskyy has done “to motivate the collective courage of [Ukraine’s] citizens and the broader world in defense of freedom and democracy.” In addition, it acknowledges the significance of the threats to civil liberties and the well-being of individuals due to the Russian aggression to the citizens of the Ukraine, Russia, and the broader world and the critical responsibility that our colleges/universities bear in promoting tenets of a liberal society.
“This really is an effort not only to acknowledge President Zelenskyy’s leadership, but also the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people,” said Whitt. “They truly are inspiring.”
Once officially voted on by the board this month, the honorary doctorate will be presented in absentia to Zelenskyy at the Hickory campus commencement at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6. The ceremony will be held at LP Frans Stadium in Hickory.