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Lehigh University Revokes An Honorary Degree Awarded To Trump

Donald Trump

Lehigh University today (Jan. 8) took back an honorary degree it had awarded to Donald Trump in 1988.

The school, from which Trump’s late brother Frederick Trump Jr. graduated, took the action two days after a violent riot by Trump supporters erupted at the Capitol over the president’s false claims that widespread voter fraud caused his defeat.

Lehigh made the announcement in a brief written statement. “In a special session Thursday of the Executive Committee of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees, the members voted to rescind and revoke the honorary degree granted to Donald J. Trump in 1988. The full Board of Trustees affirmed the decision today.”


The school offered no explanation as to why the action was taken. It was therefore not clear if the Board of Trustees revoked his degree because of his unsuccessful efforts to overturn an election or because he incited an attempted insurrection at the Capitol that resulted in the death of five people, including a Capitol police officer who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher by a rioter.

Trump, who has an undergraduate business degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, received the honorary  doctor of laws degree after giving the commencement address to Lehigh’s Class of 1988.


It was not the first time that the school considered revoking the degree. Three years ago, in October of 2017, Lehigh’s trustees rejected an effort by Trump’s critics to have the university withdraw the degree. At that time, the university said in a statement:

“In considering a petition regarding the honorary degree given 29 years ago to President Donald Trump, the Board of Trustees engaged in lengthy, full and robust discussions. The Board has concluded that no action will be taken.”

Today’s decision by Lehigh is the second time in recent years that Lehigh has taken back an honorary degree. In 2015 it rescinded a degree awarded to comedian Bill Cosby years amid multiple charges of sexual assault.