Keuka College Joins Unprecedented Initiative to Honor Ukraine’s President

The College is among more than 20 colleges and universities across the nation that will confer honorary degrees in absentia on Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

Friday, April 8, 2022

Keuka College has joined higher-education partners from throughout the country in an unprecedented show of support for the people of Ukraine and their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The participants – which include Alfred University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and out-of-state institutions from Connecticut to California – have coordinated to confer upon President Zelenskyy honorary degrees in absentia.

“Keuka College’s mission is ‘to create exemplary citizens and leaders to serve the nation and the world’ and I can think of no greater example of a leader serving his nation and the world than Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” said Keuka College President Amy Storey. “The Ukrainian president’s courage and resolve in defending not only his country but the universal ideals of freedom and democracy is an example of true leadership.”

The decision to jointly commemorate a world leader by conferring multiple honorary degrees is unprecedented among higher education institutions in the United States. It reflects the responsibility colleges and universities share in promoting the tenets of a free and democratic society, including the right of individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, President Storey said.

The idea was initiated by Alfred President Mark Zupan.

“It has been beyond heartening to see how readily and positively colleagues at other higher education institutions have responded to the idea,” he said. “It speaks to how all of us have been galvanized by President Zelenskyy and the citizens of Ukraine to do whatever we can to help their cause.” 

A resolution conferring an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on President Zelenskyy has been approved by the executive committee of Keuka College’s Board of Trustees and will be formally announced during the College’s May 21 Commencement ceremonies.