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RIT to confer four honorary degrees, one of them to the Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Rochester Institute of Technology
/
rit.edu
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

More than two dozen colleges and universities are getting ready to note the accomplishments of the Ukrainian president with honorary degrees this spring.

Those schools include RIT, which said this week it will confer honorary degrees to four outstanding individuals at its commencement ceremony on May 6.

The university said that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be among them. He will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters “for his bravery, leadership, and compelling communications to motivate his citizens and the broader world in defense of freedom and democracy.”

Zelenskyy will not be attending the ceremony, but earlier this month, Alfred University president Mark Zupan, who helped organize these institutions of higher learning in the effort to award honorary degrees to the Ukrainian president, told WXXI News that he was hopeful that if Zelenskyy learns more about this effort, he might do some sort of video that could be distributed to accept these honors.

On Friday, Zupan said that 26 colleges and universities so far agreed to confer honorary degrees to Zelenskyy.

Meanwhile, local efforts to raise money and other support for people in Ukraine suffering due to the Russian invasion continues. The Ukrainian Federal Credit Union in Rochester has announced that it will donate $50,000 dollars to the Ukrainian American Community Foundation, which supports a variety of community, cultural and humanitarian initiatives.

Other notable individuals that RIT said will receive honorary degrees on May 6 include:

Kimberly Bryant, founder of the nonprofit organization Black Girls CODE, will earn an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for her dedication to social change in technology fields. Bryant will also deliver the keynote address for RIT’s Academic Convocation ceremony starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 6, in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center.

Josephine King Olsen, former director of the Peace Corps, will earn an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for her lifelong commitment to volunteer service.

Peter Jemison, a member of the Heron clan of the Seneca Nation of Indians and a leader in the community, will earn an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his dedication to enhancing opportunities for Native American populations.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.