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Le Moyne one of many colleges to confer honorary degree to Ukrainian president during commencement

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JECO photo
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Several colleges and universities across upstate New York will be conferring an honorary degree to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during commencement ceremonies this spring.

“We feel compelled to act to send a compelling message to students, that this is unacceptable, in the case of Russian aggression,” said Le Moyne College President Linda LeMura. “And on the other side, look at this magnanimous leader doing everything he can to help his people through this.

Le Moyne is one of the upstate colleges that will present an honorary degree to Zelenskyy.

"Honoring him this time of the year makes sense because at commencement it’s a time of reflection, and we think of individuals we want students to emulate as they move on to their careers and life’s work," LeMura said.

And Zelenskyy, who’s led his country’s fight against a Russian invasion, fits the bill. More than 20 institutions have agreed to present the honorary degrees to Zelenskyy. LeMura said the initiative started with Alfred University and quickly percolated through several other schools, including Hobart and William Smith, Rochester Institute of Technology, Canisius College, and Niagara University.

"The community of higher education presidents rapidly concluded with 100% consensus that this is a terribly unjust war, and President Zelenskyy is handling such a complex situation with tremendous courage."

At LeMoyne’s commencement ceremony later this month, a Ukrainian student will read the honorary degree, and the school is inviting a high-ranking bishop to attend, as well as members of the local Ukrainian Community. And LeMura hopes a copy of the degree can make its way to Zelenskyy by way of the Ukrainian Embassy.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.