No Free Lunch, Even for Royalty

L. Gordon Crovitz writes in today’s Wall Street Journal about the dispute at the University of Chicago over whether to name its new institute after Milton Friedman. In making the point that the U. of C. strives to be resolutely apolitical, even in the awarding of honors, Crovitz includes this delicious anecdote:

The mayor of Chicago once asked the president of the university to give the visiting Queen of England an honorary degree. “We’re happy to consider it,” was the reputed reply. “Please send copies of her scholarly work.”

M Todd

Give the woman a degree and maybe she could get a job. The fascination with royals in this country. I just don't get it.

Oliver Townshend

So July 4th is just a holiday then?


Ah, my beloved alma mater. Too pretentious for even the Queen of England.


I'm entering my 3rd year at uchicago, and the only reason I know about this building is because of this blog. we even got a detailed email about a week ago from zim about the different building projects the university is tackling and it still wasn't mentioned. i guess it's still too early to be formally announcing it, but the undergrads are always the last to know.

or maybe the mayor is.


It was announced in May to the entire University community through a campus-wide email from Zimmer, it held a prominent spot on the University's home page for several weeks, has been reported across the country including in the Times, the WSJ, the Chicago Tribune, and the campus newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, among many others. It's actually been quite in the open, Katy.


Considering the recent controversies about Mugabe's honorary degrees, this is probably a pretty good policy - if you insist that you will only give out honorary degrees for serious academic achievement, you won't have to worry about courting controversy when you give out degrees to politicians who turn out to be hacks or (in Mugabe's case) brutal dictators. It is not the place of the university to reward individuals for non-academic work.


Yes, since if anything deserves the attention of the police force, its the failure of a college to award a queen a degree, Mike.


@Phil K. No kidding.

Phil K.

Yes, since if anything deserves the attention of the police force, its the failure of a college to award a queen a degree, Mike.

I think Mike was alluding to Chicago's reputation as a city where Hizzoner gets what Hizzoner wants. They don't call it the City That Works for nothin'.


That's pretty funny until the mayor stops all services and send the ward captains after you.