Concordia University has released its list of honorary doctorates for this year. As usual, it includes some genuinely noteworthy members of the community who should be recognized for their work: Howard Alper, research chemist; Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, archbishop; Grant Munro, filmmaker.
But, sadly, the list also contains people who are on there mainly because of their financial contributions: André Desmarais of Power Corp, who has given quite a bit to the university; and Donald McNaughton, who was a major fundraiser for over two decades.
It’s not that I think people who give their time and money to Concordia shouldn’t be honoured for it. Despite what some conspiracy-theorists may think, this is still mainly a selfless, altruistic act. But shouldn’t we be separating those who have done important things in this world from those who have so much money to spread around that they can buy an honorary degree?
I think it’s time to come up with some other method of honouring those who contribute financially to universities.