KU names first recipients of honorary degrees

? The first honorary degree recipients to be named by Kansas University are former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole, Ford Motor Co. chief executive officer Alan Mulally, former chairwoman of the FDIC Sheila Bair, and Kirke Mechem, a noted choral composer.

“These four individuals are truly worthy of being the inaugural recipients of this honor,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the degrees on Wednesday. The doctorates will be presented at KU’s commencement on May 13.

More than 100 people were considered by a committee chaired by KU psychology professor Susan Kemper. “We had a strong pool of more than 100 nominees, but these four stood out for their contributions and achievements,” Kemper said.

In 2010, the Board of Regents changed its policy to allow conferring honorary degrees.

KU awards its honorary degrees based on nominees’ outstanding scholarship, research, creative activity, service to humanity, or other achievements.