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Why did it take KU so long to provide Chester Nez an honorary degree? Why couldn't they help him finish his degree back in the 1950s or 1960s when he could have actually benefited from an earned degree? This whole event is only to make the white guys in ivory tower feel good, but does nothing for making Mr. Nez's life any better after waiting 4-5 decades to help him get a degree.
The answer to your first question is that until very recently KU awarded no honorary degrees.
Enlightenment, one thing to note is that no one — not even his own family, according to his son Michael — knew that Chester Nez was a Code Talker until 1968. The operation was kept classified until then. And Michael also said Chester did not go out of his way to publicize his role as one of the Code Talkers, so KU likely did not realize what exactly had happened until some time later.
And to address the commenters below: Yes, this was a real degree, not an honorary one. Nez is now a KU graduate.
perhaps if he were a KU athelete; they would of...
If your not, you should of bin.
I believe that this was a regular degree, not an honorary one.
Congrats G.I and """Aheehee """
Thanks, Matt for a great story. It was wonderful to witness the honoring ceremony at the LIed Center yesterday. Mr. Nez is such an inspiration to so many people. I would also like to note that the Navajo language has always been a vibrant and much spoken langage. I believe the story states that it was a "rarely spoken native Navajo language." We are blessed to have Navajo language immersion programs and classes in our schools (many colleges, as well), that help stengthen the language. As a matter of fact, it's not uncommon to hear Dine' (Navajo) students around town speaking Navajo. :)
Thank You! God Bless You.
I'm confused. The headline says "Navajo Code Talker receives degree 60 years after leaving KU to serve in Marines." But the article says that he left KU because his GI Bill funds (from having served in the Marines from 1942-1945) had run out. Did he go back into the Marines after he left KU, or is the headline a typo?
Thanks, KansasPerson — yes, there was a mix-up with the headline. It's fixed now. Nez left for New Mexico when he withdrew from KU, not for the Marines.
Congratulations on your degree, sir, and thank you for your service.
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