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When Bob Hope's academic degrees are mentioned, he was the first to remind everyone that they are honorary doctorates.

But those honorary doctorates - 58 to date - are symbolic of the esteem in which Hope was held as a humanitarian and a "diplomat of comedy whose credo was the lifting of the human spirit."


While Bob was honored in the traditional way, he also received some not-so-usual distinctions: He was made an "honorary student" and presented a degree in "comedy" with a minor in "one-liners" from the student body of UCLA; provided an honorary parking space for one day a year at USC and was named "honorary mascot" of fraternities and sororities at several institutions of higher learning.

On four occasions he received honorary degrees with wife, Dolores, and matched mortarboards and quips with Jack Benny at Jacksonville University in 1972. At Quincy College, in June 1958, Senator "Jack" Kennedy and Hope both received honorary degrees. He was made a Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, for, according to Hope, "not singing," and was the commencement speaker at all four of his children's graduation exercises, "in spite of which," quipped Bob, "they still let the kids graduate." In June 1990, Hope received an honorary diploma from Palm Springs High School following his commencement address to the graduating seniors.

Doctor Hope did not take the task as commencement speaker lightly. Many hours were spent in preparation of a speech which was always topical and "on-target" with a blend of inspirational commentary and one-liners. As one graduate was heard to comment, "Hope not only leaves them laughing but leaves them thinking."

A Bob Hope commencement speech was always relevant - i.e.

"A good education is still the most valuable commodity a young person can strive for... no matter what Bart Simpson says,"
and reminiscent:

"My favorite subject was ancient history. Of course, when I went to school there wasn't much of it,"
and reflective for graduating seniors:

"There's never been a time in our history where young men and women like you were better prepared to lead us into the 21st Century. We're proud of you because you're going to start carrying the torch of freedom and knowledge. And, someday, you'll have to pass that torch on to others. When you do, it should be burning stronger and brighter. That's the job that's ahead of all of you.Good luck and God bless your efforts."

View a List of Degrees

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