Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, tells POLITICO that the school is reconsidering its widely ridiculed plans not to give President Barack Obama an honorary degree when he speaks at commencement on May 13 and will “honor him in every way possible.”
“There was no intended slight,” Crow said by telephone from his office in Tempe. “We had not yet talked about what honors we might give him as our commencement speaker, and we still have a month to work all that out. We don’t want anyone to think we do not recognize what he has achieved and what he means in America.”
University spokeswoman Sharon Keeler was quoted as saying that the University awards honorary degrees to recognize individuals for their work and accomplishments spanning their lifetime. “Because President Obama’s body of work is yet to come, it’s inappropriate to recognize him at this time.”
Crow said the resulting brouhaha “kind of wounded my heart.”
In this news release announcing a new scholarship honoring President Obama, ASU President Michael Crow appears to be eating a bit of it himself:
“I apologize for the confusion surrounding our invitation to President Obama to address ASU students at commencement,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “The entire ASU community has been electrified with excitement since we learned of his participation in our commencement ceremony. We hope that the recent discussion of honorary degrees will not detract from the honor and thrill that ASU – and indeed all of Arizona – is experiencing in anticipation of his visit. I am honored, as are our faculty, staff and students, that President Obama will give his first commencement speech as president of the United States at ASU.”
Confusion? Electrified? Thrilled? Calm down, Mr. Crow and eat your plateful.