The past few mornings the cable news shows have been buzzing with talk about the President giving commencement speeches at Notre Dame, and ASU. The controversy over Notre Dame of course comes from the viewpoint expressed by some Catholics that Obama should not be invited to speak at a Catholic institution of higher learning because they believe his public policy on abortion is contrary to that of the Church's teachings. Of course so was President Bush's public policy on the Death Penalty and Pope John Paul had adamantly opposed the war in Iraq as well, but that didn't keep President Bush from being invited.
The ASU controversy is a little different and actually quite amusing if you consider the past history of the University. Notre Dame is conferring an honorary degree upon President Obama. Not an unusual exercise for a prominent speaker a University commencement. But ASA earlier in the week said their would be no honorary degree for the President. Sharon Keeler, a spokesperson for the University put it this way, "Because President Obama’s body of work is yet to come, it’s inappropriate to recognize him at this time." Following this news the chatter and editorial writers have taken on the ASU's position.
The East Valley Tribune from the Phoenix, Arizona area calls the oversight "an odd gap that besmirches the image of an excellent institution." And MSNBC's Contessa Brewer pointed out that in 1986, Kermit the Frog received an honorary degree from Long Island Southampton College and further expressed her disapproval of ASU's decision.
A list here provides some interesting names of past recipients from ASU. They include Barry Goldwater in 1961, three years before he received the Republican nomination for president and only eight years into his U.S. Senate career. There is George Romney in in 1962. He of course lost the GOP nomination for President. Sandra Day O'Connor (first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court) in 1984, just three years into her 25 years on the Court. Rita Dove in 1995 - A Poet U.S. Laureate.
Anyway, I'm thinking we haven't heard the last of this.