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53 Celebrities with Honorary Degrees from Harvard

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This list contains information about celebrities who have received honorary degrees from Harvard University, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Harvard University was established in 1636 and is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. Several famous actors, musicians, authors, and politicians have been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, which are awarded annually.

Who is the most famous person with an honorary degree from Harvard? Oprah Winfrey tops this list. The talk show queen received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2013. She also delivered a commencement speech to the graduating class.

J. K. Rowling received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2008. She delivered the commencement address at the ceremony as well. Al Gore received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 1994. The former U.S. Vice President previously graduated cum laude from the prestigious university. Many former U.S. Presidents have received honorary Harvard degrees as well.

What do you think are the qualifications for earning an honorary degree? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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  • J. K. Rowling received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2008. She delivered the commencement address at the ceremony.
    • Born: 1965-07-31
    • Age: 55
    • Birthplace: Yate, United Kingdom

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  • Aretha Franklin
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Aretha Franklin received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2014. The Queen of Soul also performed "The Star Spangled Banner" at the commencement ceremony.
    • Born: 1942-03-25
    • Age: 78
    • Birthplace: Tennessee, USA, Memphis

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  • George H. W. Bush
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    George H. W. Bush was awarded an honorary doctorate of law from Harvard University in 2014. The former U.S. President is a graduate of Yale University.
    • Born: 1924-06-12
    • Age: 96
    • Birthplace: Eastern United States, Milton, New England, Norfolk County, United States of America

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  • Bill Gates
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Bill Gates received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2007. He previously dropped out of the university to focus on his company, Microsoft.
    • Born: 1955-10-28
    • Age: 64
    • Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States of America

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